Play-play the rebellion away

Some children experience parenting as a competition they rarely win. They need to bend their wills to yours. Some children are willing followers while others are stubborn and stiff-necked. If you have a stubborn child who rebels, strict discipline* is only half the answer.

The rest of the answer is tied up in games! Playing is such an integral part of children’s lives – it’s how they learn about their environment; how they grow in understanding; learn to calculate and take risks; as well as how they are able to process unpleasant realities.

By playing games where they can win, where they have the chance to give YOU instructions, and where THEIR yes and no is the law, they become empowered without usurping your parental authority.

Find games where you can switch roles so that you are sometimes, for example, the pet with an imaginative collar around your neck; or the one who is peppered with newspaper balls; or bankrupted in Monopoly. When children can be “your boss” or “beat you” within acceptable boundaries such as these, they’ll have greater capacity to accept when the tables are turned and they need to dance to your tune. Furthermore, playing together strengthens family bonds.

Give it a try! You will be surprised at how much you both enjoy it.

*Strict discipline is vital in the toddler years. However – if your tween or almost teen is rebelling it might be wise to rethink your parenting style to adapt to their developmental stage. We cover this in our parenting courses. Please reach out to us!