Routines not Reaction

Having a set routine of events may lessen a child’s controlling actions during a certain time frame. Much like we all have rituals and routines to make life easier for us (think about the way you go through the grocery store or the way you get ready for work in the morning) so too will a child feel less controlling if there are a series of events that lead one to the other regardless of behavior. So instead of a tussle with sibling meaning the tv goes off and it's time for bed, the tussle with sibling just means the toy goes away and child needs to apologize. The order of events (snack-teeth-snuggle-books) stays roughly the same and if there are tussles in between, they get dealt with separately from the routine. This way it can help a parent stay focused on the purpose of the behavior (likely expressing an emotion or seeking control) outside of the necessary routines of the evening. This should lessen the struggle to do the necessary tasks because they happen in a general order every night regardless of anything else. This routine lowers the overall uncertainty that a child seeks to control in his/her life. While it will still be that they will have to negotiate certain changes to the routine, if the general order of events stays predictable and extricated from behavior, it will allow both parent and child to have more energy to manage the changes because the routine is managing the usual stuff.