You’re smarter and bigger and have more energy than your opponent. You can win.
I’ve heard this concept multiple times recently. It’s something that makes my jaw drop in astonishment and make me want to cry out. I really dislike this attitude, and it disturbs me a great deal.
Parenting isn’t a war. It’s not about winning. Parenting is about being there for your child to help guide him/her when needed, and develop a loving, life-long relationship. Exerting power over another person to win is bullying. That doesn’t mean that your child gets to do whatever s/he wants to. Establishing boundaries for how you want to be treated and respectfully sticking to the boundaries you need is a life skill – one which your children will learn by watching you. Acknowledging your child’s feelings, even when they are negative, is healthy, responsive, and respectful. By working together to find mutually acceptable solutions, everyone can win.
Parenting is not a war; at least it shouldn’t be and doesn’t need to be. However, if you, as a parent, choose to make it one, ultimately you won’t win. If your ultimate goal is to have a fulfilling, life-long relationship with your child, a battle filled war will only result in loss. I won’t go into the ignorance behind saying a parent is smarter than the child (this isn’t true in all cases). Face the facts. Compared with their children, parents are old. You really don’t have more energy than your children, which will become more and more apparent as they grow up. Start the war, and with each battle, you will successfully drive them further away. You may win some battles along the way, but ultimately you won’t win your war.