Giggling my way out of a power struggle with my 2 year old grandson.

I was hanging out with my two and a half year old grandson one Saturday at my home, playing with him as usual.  He spied some rocks that I’ve picked up in my travels at various places around the world.  He  picked them up and started to throw them.  I said to him, “No flying rocks in the house.”  He thought that was hilarious.  I guess I shouldn’t have called them ‘flying rocks’.  He wanted to throw them again.  I grabbed the rocks before he could get them and would not give them to him.  Well,  he went into a rage!  The classic 2 year old rage!  I thought, “Oh oh.  I’m in a power struggle.”  To my surprise, I started to giggle.  He was a little surprise, but kept on with his tantrum.  Still giggling, I got up and ran into my bedroom and rolled across the bed.  He came running after me.  The chase was on!  As I rolled across the bed,  I hid the rocks under the pillows.  Then I rolled off the other side of the bed and ran out of the room. By now he was laughing and giggling too.  I’m sure watching Nana roll across the bed was hoot.  The rocks were forgotten and our fun afternoon continued.

A week later we’re hanging out again.  He saw the rocks sitting on the night table beside my bed.  I thought, “I should have hidden them.”  He tried to stack them up and was having difficulty doing it.  I helped him stack them.  Once stacked, he lost interested in them and went on to something else.  He showed no interest in throwing them.

I remember this type interaction happening with my sons when they were little.  But giggling to shift out of a power struggle was not something I could have done back then.  It certainly never occurred to me to do so.  I was not as secure in myself then. Also, I was a much more serious person than I am now.

I also realize that being a grandmother is very different than being a parent. I hangout with my grandson a few hours a week – it’s not the 24/7 parents deal with.  Even so, I wished I had been able to handle power struggles with more lightness when I’d been a young mother.

There are many ways to get out of power struggles with others.  Try giggling your way out of power struggles with your children or grandchildren – maybe even adults.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea

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