Power struggles are a common occurrence during the preschool years. Although they can be difficult to deal with, be aware that young children who attempt to engage in power struggles are actually developing at an age-appropriate level: they are learning that they have their own thoughts, feelings, and desires and that those are sometimes different than adults. This is an important cognitive leap with behavioral changes that will soon become apparent to a preschool parent. Although kids should learn to be assertive, they should understand and follow your rules. While their behavior may be frustrating to you, keep in mind that young children are constantly exploring their world in order to learn and develop. Testing your limits is one way that they explore their environment. So make sure that you establish firm limits for them as early as possible, and stick to those limits. The earlier that children learn that you are not going to give in, the fewer power struggles you will encounter, not only during the preschool years, but throughout childhood and adolescence. The best way to deal with power struggles is to avoid them by managing your child’s schedule and environment, as well as establishing a positive, caring relationship with your child in which your authority is taken seriously. To do both effectively, it's important to have clear, simple rules, and to be consistent in following them. Here are some ideas for avoiding power struggles and for dealing with them if they do occur: