Both my kids need a lot of control and it’s tricky to balance fulfilling the need but also avoiding power struggles.With Girl there’s the desire to always be the first to choose which colour or make choices for her little brother. ‘I’ll have the Blue and Boy can have the green’. Added to that Girl is also highly obsessive about always being the one who has Blue. It also means that Boy has little of his own choice when Girl is around, she can be bossy and demanding and controls every aspect of their play. If Boy has been given a choice of something during the day while Girl is at school she will come home and immediately and unfairly usurp his choice. Sometimes I get involved and tell her she is being unfair sometimes I don’t because for the most time Boy is not that bothered by these things and it’s just another battle that doesn’t need starting but I really don’t like that she is always exerting her authority over her little brother.
This morning we have had power struggles over choice of chairs, position of chairs and toys. Boy has got quite upset as it was mostly instigated by Girl. To the untrained eye it can look like spitefulness on Girl’s part but really I know it’s a massive power battle and it’s hard to deal with. We try to explain but she seems either not to care or she really doesn’t understand. She thinks that fetching some alternatives for Boy but fiercely holding onto the toy that she has snatched away from his grasp is enough because to Girl she is being kind by fetching him some other toys.
This article I found interesting and summarises an adoptees need for control:
It mentions allowing your children age-appropriate choices, I do wish it was as simple as that though. My kids get plenty of choices but it’s never enough. My mission for the weekend is to try and use play to model behaviour and explore feelings. I think Girl will enjoy the play but I’m not entirely convinced that it will change the behaviour. Her school report mentions how kind she is and willing to share, it’s a shame that she feels she needs so much control at home.