Children feel secure knowing that parents are in charge

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Children feel secure knowing that parents are in charge

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What does it mean to be the calm captain of the ship in one´s family and why is that important? It´s everything to parenting. This is how I illustrate it. This hand will represent the parent and this is the child. And you´ll notice that the parent hand is on top. It´s a hierarchy. This is how it´s supposed to go and when it´s like this, then you have smooth sailing most of the time. Then it deteriorates and we´ve got this, which I call the two lawyers. You´ll notice that nobody is in charge and this is where you are duking it out. This is where you have power struggles. Everybody is trying to make their own case for why their point of view is the one that should prevail. And, then it can go even further downhill, which is where the parent is down here, the child is here calling the shots, running the show. And the way you know you are down here is your bribing or your threatening. You are feeling desperate. Children need to know that somebody is at the helm of the ship. It makes everything calmer. It gives them the reassurance and security that they need and it makes the family just have smooth sailing.

See Susan Stiffelman, MFT's video on Children feel secure knowing that parents are in charge...

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Susan Stiffelman, MFT

Author & Therapist

Susan Stiffelman is the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and the weekly parenting advice columnist at the Huffington Post. You can sign up for Susan's free parenting newsletter. 

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