Parenting is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Daily challenges can leave you guessing, hoping, and sometimes fighting to hang on to the management of your home.
In the heat of some of these battles, it’s easy to slip into the mindset of win-lose parenting. This is one of the ways that many parents handle conflict with their kids.
A win-lose response to an argument is believing that the only possible solution is where one of you wins and the other one loses. And since you’re the parent, you are going to insist that you “win.” When you create this scenario in your mind, the attack is on.
I am not going to be the one to lose, you may be thinking. I’m the parent, after all! It’s my way or the highway.
With this mindset, you may pull out all the stops because the battle is on to make sure that you “win” and your child “loses.”
But is the win-lose parenting approach really the best way to handle conflict?
In business negotiations, the “win-lose” concept is defined as a style, situation or strategy that sees one side gain at the expense of others. Do you truly want your control over your kids to be at the expense of their mental health, their happiness, or your relationship with them?
Parenting should not be about winning the argument; it should be about helping your kids learn lessons that will prepare them for life. Instead of taking a I’m-the-parent-and-that’s-the-way-it-is approach, try this instead:
When conflict arises, take the time to listen to your child’s opinions and feelings. Validate their feelings and refrain from correcting their opinions. Hear them out.
After you’ve listened, tell them that it’s now your turn to talk. Share your concerns and explain the what and why of your response.
Remember that the objective of parenting your children is not to “make them behave” or to “keep them out of trouble,”; your goal should be to raise them to become strong, compassionate, and honest adults who are full of integrity. So when you are in a conflicting situation with your child, you ask yourself two questions: What does my child need to learn in this situation? What is the best way for me to help them learn it?
When you take this approach instead of thinking, what can I do to make my child do what I want?, you will change the win-lose strategy into a win-win situation. It will no longer be about you winning the argument at the expense of your child’s humiliation and frustration, it will be about your child learning an important life-lesson.
This type of parenting then becomes a win-win parenting strategy: you and your child both win as they learn life-long values and in the process the relationship with your child stays healthy and continues to strengthen.
If you struggle with any aspect of parenting, I’d love to help. I’m a parenting coach. Please schedule a free consultation here.