This article was originally published in Home Sweet Home.
In the last few days, I’ve had a few intense standoffs with some of my students where I chose to back down and let it go. When we “give in” to a child, it’s often viewed as weak or even irresponsible…
But by me letting go of my need for them to do what I was asking or admit their mistake, it brought their defences down enough that I was able to get to the heart of what was going on. It wasn’t really about what it was about. It almost never is.
Sometimes we need to let things go with kids especially when we find ourselves in power struggles. We resist this because we see it as letting them get away with it or winning the battle. We think this sets a precedent for the future, and if all we do is let it go without trying to understand more, then that may indeed be true.
But letting go of the surface issue often opens the door for us to go deeper. The battle is nothing more than a distraction designed to protect ourselves from emotions or beliefs that we and/or the child subconsciously wants to avoid.
When we get caught up in the details of what we think it’s about, everyone loses, because we never get the opportunity to uncover what’s really going on below the surface.
This is not easy because some of these battles feel very important and often our boundaries are being crossed. But if we can resolve what going on within us and within them, we may not have to work so hard in the future to defend our boundaries.
And in that sense, although we may have lost the battle, we’ve won the war!