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Your 6-year-old now
Getting snared in a power struggle with a 6-year-old can be tough to avoid. He wants control, and he'll fight for it valiantly. Engaging in these tussles with your child is a losing proposition, though. He'll continue to defy, dawdle, ignore, argue – whatever it takes to grab back some control. The more you insist and get upset, the more power he feels. He now knows just what to do to get a rise out of you.
The trick is to give your child power without surrendering yours. That means choosing your battles. Let him make choices over things appropriate for his age – what to wear, what friend to have over. Give him options whenever you can. "Would you like turkey or ham for dinner?"
And when he truly has no choice, be firm and in control. "You must wear your helmet." Don't debate, and give swift, appropriate consequences if he disobeys or argues with you. "You wear it, or you won't ride your bike the rest of the day."
Your life now
As your child grows more confident about bike riding, be sure you've gone over basic safety rules with him. Wearing a helmet each and every ride is foremost. Make clear that he should stick to the sidewalks, not the street, and stop at each corner to look both ways before crossing. Point out that piles of wet leaves or sand, dirt, and pebbles can be hazards that lead to wipeouts, so he should keep an eye on the terrain as he rides. And never mind that "Look Ma, no hands!" business; teach him to keep both hands on the handlebars.
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