How to Stop Our Ego from Powertripping, and Reduce the Parent/Child Battle of Wills

Turn Inwards to Reduce the Battle of Wills with Your Child

Green monster. Devil on your shoulder. Overpowering urge. Ego.

Call it what you want, the ego is on a powertrip, and we aren't even aware of it half the time.

Recall the last time your children struggled to agree to your request. "Pick up your socks." "It is time to go brush your teeth." "What's the magic word?" "Excuse me..."

Our childrens' world is full of requests and demands, and while part of them wants to please us, and is thankful for the routine and structure (at least they always know what is expected of them!), another part of them is pushing and growing towards independence, demanding your attention. This is their ego.

At the same time, our ego wants power and independence too, and our child's attention.

"I've asked you once already. Please go brush your teeth." "I've said 'no' and I mean it!" "What did I just tell you?"  And the little voice in our head says, "I can't back down now. I'll lose control." "Why isn't my child listening to me? I'm his mother!" "Does nobody care what I say anymore?" "Don't I have a voice?"

And before we know it, our ego is wrestling our child's ego for control. "That's it. I've asked you four times now. No TV for the rest of the week! And hopefully now you will listen better." And our children, their egos battered a bit, slump their shoulders as they feel their own loss of power and drag their feet up the stairs to do our bidding.

Our ego has a job.

It lights the fire under us, pushes us to try harder, to excel, to be confident and stand up for what we believe in. Unfortunately, it doesn't know when it has powered us through too much of a good thing. It keeps pushing, excelling, and demanding more independence beyond our need for it. And when it is done with our own will, it pushes past us to our children, our spouse, our employees or our own parents.

This battle is draining. It does not raise our vibration, help us to feel lighter, bring a smile (in fact, ego thrives in fear), or help us to dance through our lives. And isn't that what we really, truly, deeply want in our life?

It is up to us to listen to our ego, give it its due ("thank you for being there, ego") and gently let it go, so that our spirit, our soul, can be the creative loving force in the world that it was intended to be.

How do we separate the two?

How do we even know the two voices inside us, without developing a psychosis of split personalities?

Eckart Tolle's book, A New Earth, and his earlier one, The Power of Now, does a great job of explaining this split. However, the easiest way to start is to listen to our internal voice (that little voice in our head, sometimes called the devil on our shoulder). The one that is narrating our words and actions. The one that is judging.

"He can't do it." "She needs my help." "They don't listen."

This internal voice speaks of others, or speaks of how you believe others feel about you. "She doesn't trust me." "I've never been any good at this." "He won't listen to me if I lose control."

Gently send them on their way.

Listen to those words... acknowledge the power they have in your life, and gently send them on their way. Life is too short for judgement, including judging our own ego. Ego must be put in its place, though not through an arm wrestle, but by giving it its due and choosing to do different (or say different).

"Ashley, I know you haven't really heard me when I asked you to go upstairs to brush your teeth. That TV can be really distracting. I'm turning it off now, and I will go upstairs with you to brush your teeth. What song do we hum to brush our teeth? Happy Birthday to you? I'll hum it with you while I brush my teeth."

Let that ego voice chatter away, but do not let it take control. Respond instead to your child's soul. "I love you, and I know a good night's sleep will help to create a happier day for you tomorrow. Let's go to bed." Be with them. Give them your full attention, and they (and their ego) will respond in kind.

After all, their ego is simply looking for a bit of your attention. Give them the attention they crave and their soul will flourish.

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