When does a parent have to win the battle?
As a parent, winning is not always the goal. To teach respect, one has to show it to others. If you win, but disrespect the child, there will be a problem with the child trusting you after that confrontation. But for some battles, it is critical for the parent to win for the child to win in the long run. If the child/teen is trying to do something that is dangerous, for example, skateboarding on a busy street, giving out personal info to strangers, or using drugs, the parent must interfere. This could also mean getting help for a child with depression who doesn’t want it, or denying a grandparent certain privileges if they have shown they are unreliable or won’t respect the parent’s wishes. It could also mean getting an anxious child back at school or out doing activities when they are hesitant due to reasons not related to bullying.
One way to accomplish this is to make a deal with the child or teen. For example, I know you don’t want to get off the video games, but you haven’t been out to play for several days. You can have 2 hours of uninterrupted play AFTER you spend an hour outside with your friends. (This may require confiscating the coaxial cable or video game or even the TV) Or, I will take you to DQ AFTER we go to see a counselor (or get your nails done after 4 sessions).
There are many times a young person may not want to do what they need to- it is scary, hard, or boring, or keeps them from doing what they want- which (like video games) left unchecked could cause them harm. Even though they can usually argue like a lawyer, they do not have the experience or maturity to make adult decisions or always make the best choice. While allowing a child to participate in the big decisions about their life is important, these situations that could cause long term harm are critical and the parent must have the final say. Therefore, a parent should use every tool at his or her disposal to guide their teen or child to a safe, reasonable solution. This means at times the parent will be unpopular with their offspring. But the child will recognize they were well cared for in the future, and the parent will rest easy knowing they are safe.