Family Employee Resource Group: Avoiding Power Struggles with Your Children

Date: Thursday, March 11, 2021

Do you ever find yourself asking, “How can I get my kid to do their homework without a huge fight?!”  Maybe you’ve wondered why you can’t have just one drama-free morning, where you don’t have to bribe your kid to brush their teeth. Are you just plain sick of the battle over how much they’re on their phones?  And while we’re at it, do you find that these battles with your kids while you’re trying to parent during the chaos of a global pandemic are just wearing you down even more than normal!?

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Parents will understand what a power struggle is, and why power struggles are so difficult to parent through and why they are problematic for kids.
  2. Parents will learn to identify their own patterns of behavior that may inadvertently contribute to power struggles.
  3. Parents will learn about how coercive power can teach children to be externally motivated; rather than learn to be internally motivated, driven by their own rules and consequences.
  4. Parents will learn simple, straight-forward methods of parenting without power struggles, providing an environment that kids can learn from rather than parents feeling responsible for teaching their kids lessons themselves.

Jonathon Novello, MSU EAP counselor and parent of three occasionally frustrating kids, returns to the WorkLife Office speaker series to talk to parents about how our attempts to coerce our kids to change for the better can often result in the creation of a “power struggle.” Power struggles are frustrating for everyone involved, often resulting from parents using threats or bribes in an attempt to force behavior change, but which ends up fueling a child’s resistance, making the problem much worse.  The session will help participants learn a set of skills and concepts that allow people to parent from a place of strong, durable connection, making it easier to navigate the challenging moments of growing up – even during a pandemic.

About the Speaker


Jonathon Novello is a clinical social worker and counselor with the Michigan State University Employee Assistance Program.  He has been practicing for over 20 years and has worked extensively with teens, tweens, children, and parents, helping families find new ways to work together and improve their relationships with each other.  Jon speaks from not only his clinical experience and his knowledge of current best practices, but also with a deep understanding, empathy, and appreciation of the challenges parents face raising their kids.