Power struggles are a real test of wills in all relationships and in particular in one’s parenting journey. I cannot count the amount of times I would lose a struggle to a child who barely measures up to my thighs. They would dig in their heels and I would come in head strong at the situation. No one won, unless we can count ‘winning’ by the amount of tears shed, strong voices exchanged and hurtful words uttered.


Often car travels can lead to frustrations, melt-downs, tantrums and screaming. I would like to share a story that our family experienced one hectic evening. This was an evening where our family needed to cross items off our ever expanding to-do list and how using Positive Discipline Tools allowed the power struggle to stop and allowed us to work together in an encouraging and supportive environment.


Being a one car family, and less than ideal access to parts of the city using public transportation, we often group together appointments, errands, and events. This trip was no different. Our son had a medical appointment, and I needed to purchase items for an upcoming class I was to teach.


We drove across our city as a family of 4 including our daughter aged 2 (Miss K) and son aged 5 (Mr E) who were snug in their car seats. My husband and Mr. E left the car and we exchanged quick good-byes and made arrangements for picking up. However, I am not sure that anyone said goodbye to Miss K during the departure and in the following minutes she showed she was not feeling connection and belonging to our family. This is known as a mistaken belief, yet a belief that is very real for Miss K.


When I started to drive away, Miss K started to scream for her dad. She started off asking for him, and this quickly escalated to tears, and screaming. What I saw was a 2 year old who was having a tantrum for one parent who was at a medical appointment with her brother. I decided, I would try to tune her out by turning up the Jazz music that was playing.  After all the song had a calming melody and I thought she would settle to the rhythm… right? OH NO!! She reacted and screamed even louder. Between the traffic, driving at dusk, a screaming toddler, and loud music, I was reacting and about to ‘flip my lid’. I realized that I needed to calm down, and pull out a Positive Discipline tool or two. After taking deep breaths, turning down the music, I was ready to stop this power struggle before it became stronger.

Cue Scene:

Me: Turning down the music. Calling quietly and calmly – Miss K can you hear me? Mommy is here. You are safe.

Miss K: Screaming quickly quiets and stops

Me: Wow, Miss K! You are feeling really upset that dad is not here.

Miss K: Sniff… yah… I upset. Me too.

Me: You wanted to go with dad?

Miss K: Me too go with dad.

Me: And maybe you’re confused by where we are going?

K: Yes!

Me: Dad went to your brother’s appointment and you are with me to buy printer paper. When we are done then we will see dad!

K: Okay!

At this point, I was already at the box store parking lot. Miss K and I walked hand in hand to the front door while singing her favorite song, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Inside the store, we had an enjoyable shopping experience. Miss K and I found the aisle the printer paper was stocked. She helped me carry the basket to the till and even picked the line to stand in. We stopped for coffee before leaving the store hand in hand while singing another house hold favorite all the way back to our vehicle. Once the doors opened, I reminded Miss K that we are now done shopping and will be driving back to pick up her dad and Mr. E! She quickly climbed back into her car seat and we worked together to ensure she was safely bucked up.  Soon we were back to pick up her dad, who instantly said, “Hello Miss K, I missed you”. Perhaps he was prompted by a text message before we left the box store.

We were all back into the vehicle driving home. A power struggle was avoided and Miss K and I were able to experience a wonderful shopping trip.


What Positive Discipline Parenting Tools were used to reduce power struggle?

-Validation of Feelings

-When/Then Statements (As soon as statements)

-Belonging and Significance (the primary goal of humans according to Adlerian Psychology)

Fall Class schedule with FAST ACTION BONUS is NOW ON until July 25. 


Parent Consults



945am – Smiles & Giggles Newborn Coffee Time

11am – Baby Sign, Play & Explore- Purple

1pm – Baby Sign, Play & Explore – Purple

2pm – Salsa Babies

5:30pm – Salsa Tots – Pink

7-9pm – Positive Discipline: Understanding Your Child


10am – Salsa Tots – Pink

11-1 The Growing Patch – All ages playgroup

Bebe Abrigos – 2nd and 4th week of the month

Ages and Stages Screening – 1st week of the month



10am – Baby Sign, Play & Explore – Purple

11am- Salsa Babies – Blue

12pm – Baby Sign, Play & Explore – Purple

1:15pm- Wiggly Worms Tot Sensory

5:30pm – Salsa Bellies

7-9pm – Positive Discipline: Understanding Your Child



7 to 9pm – Parents Game Night


11- Salsa Bellies

Together Strong



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