You can't win 'em all, but a recent Twitter thread outlined a number of fights which are worth picking with your children when it comes to getting them to do what they're told. Dr Mary O'Kane, Lecturer in Psychology and Education with the Open University and author of Perfectly Imperfect Parenting - Connection Not Perfection joined the Drivetime show on RTÉ Radio 1 to discuss this. (This piece includes excerpts from the conversation which have been edited for length and clarity - you can hear the discussion in full above).

O'Kane believes one of the problems with this way of thinking is the language. "Children aren't our enemies and childhood isn't a battle ground. Parenting is challenging enough without thinking 'let's make everything a battle'. I think we could lead by example. Could we inspire them to read? Could we motivate them?

"If you have a child who really isn't into reading, you're giving them the wrong books. I've had parents say to me before about young boys, 'oh, he just won't read. My daughter will sit and let me read, he won't.' Get him comics, get him something about any topic he's interested in. It's about motivating them, inspiring them."

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From RTÉ Radio 1's Drivetime, Dr. Mary O'Kane on the possible benefits of limiting screen time

There are many different parenting types and O'Kane feels that the Twitter thread is an example of authoritarian parenting. "It's very much 'I'm imposing my will. I really value obedience. You will do what I say, young lady,' that sort of approach. We kind of think that works and I know it can make children obedient, but it's not good for self esteem long term."

Instead about having fights over what kids should or should not be doing, O'Kane says they should be encouraged sometimes to do absolutely nothing. "Instead of constantly running around thinking 'I have to fill their time, I have to fill their time', leave them be. Let them use their imagination themselves

"Get away from the whole idea of the battleground. Instead of just demanding that they do this, you explain why you want to connect. Lead by example in going outside. Find a fun activity, get them out and about. The benefits of all these things - the reading, the getting together, enjoying outdoors - would be ruined if we just say we're doing it by coercion.

We need to let go of trying to be the perfect parent and having the perfect child

"A lot of the research on that sort of parenting shows that long term, they might have a really obedient kid, but it's not good for them. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have any rules, but firm and more responsive parenting, long term, is better for them. You're not making life a battleground."

Does O'Kane have any advice for dealing with daily squabbles over brushing teeth or having meals with the family or watching too much TV? "When we get into that, it becomes a cycle sometimes with our kids and life does become that little battleground. Do you know what my most important piece of advice is? Think about ourselves. Look back at yourself and think 'hold on, I am the adult here. They need me to sort of self-regulate.' Our children can't self-regulate. They need to co-regulate, they need us to be the adult in the room.

O'Kane says the time has come for parents to chill out a bit. "We need to let go of trying to be the perfect parent and having the perfect child. We are all flawed. We're all imperfect. We are doing our best, but we're connecting with them. For me, connection is everything. Much more important than sort of forcing my will on them."