You’re the parent; you make the rules, and your children should obey them. Any parent knows this doesn’t always happen as often as we’d like.

Children are tiny humans growing each day to have a mind of their own. They develop their own tastes, opinions, and thoughts and sometimes, get a little ahead of themselves.

Sometimes, parents find themselves fighting with their kids over the rules, often asking, “Why am I fighting with a four-year-old?”

As frustrating as it can be, there are steps parents can take to remove the power struggles completely from their daily lives which can make day-to-day living easier on everyone – even your kids!

Aside from the obvious clothes, food, and a roof over their head, all kids really require is love, someone to listen, and rules. Stick to the rules you set and you will be avoiding those power struggles in no time.

Talk to Your Kids

Yes, we expect our children to follow our rules but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their own feelings and ideas. They are naturally curious creatures who ask a lot of questions. Always be honest with them and explain to them as much as possible in a way appropriate for their age so they understand why they are being asked to do tasks and/or follow a certain rule.

Speak Your Child’s Love Language

Of course you love your child, but sometimes they feel like you don’t and act out in disobedience. Are you speaking his or hers love language? That’s right, you may just not be speaking the love language that connects with them. Figure out which one your child craves – gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, or physical touch and make sure you are speaking a language that they understand to feel complete, loved, and safe.

Create Clear Boundaries

This is the hardest one for parents to stick to. Parents have a tendency to be inconsistent with rules due to the chaos of our everyday lives. One time you may have been firm in your demand that your son doesn’t take the snack into his room, while another time you may have let it slip due to sheer exhaustion. It confuses your child and makes your rules appear to be bendable or breakable because you’ve allowed them to be! As parents we run out of patience so we let our little ones get away with things because we don’t want to deal with their behavior – but we are making the situation worse. Just stick to your guns no matter how tired or out of energy you are and eventually they will know they can’t get away with breaking your rules any longer.

Don’t Have Too Many Rules

As important as it is to have rules and boundaries – don’t overdo it with arbitrary rules. If it isn’t important, who cares which way they are hanging their clothes on the hanger or how they tie their shoes as long as it’s getting done!

Make Sure Your Kids Understand Your Expectations

Parents have to remember that adults have a language and understanding that far exceeds their kids’. In your mind, you may set an expectation, assume your child understands, then come back later to realize it wasn’t done either completely or at all because they didn’t understand the instructions. Now everyone is frustrated and it could have been avoided by making sure they understood what was being asked of them from the beginning.

Flip over to Page 2 to see how to handle the time when you likely have the biggest power struggle with your kids!