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The Best Solution to Arguing With Your Children

The Scream

The Best Solution to Arguing With Your Children

Children, as a group, are argumentative. Its one of their universal traits and it is inspired by many different forces in their lives. There are times when the only control a child has is the ability to carry on an argument. There are times when a child uses arguing as a weapon against their parents or siblings. There are times when a child simply cannot seem to help arguing—even if they do not want to.

As a parent you will encounter these and many other motivations for your child’s tendency to argue. Unfortunately for your child, none of them will change the fact that they are the child and you are the parent. Though it may seem hard to both of you, the authority is yours and you cannot allow their argumentative behavior to change that fact.

Handling Arguments

There are a number of tried and true methods that will allow you to handle arguments with your child without ceding your authority. The first skill you need to have is the simple ability not to be drawn into anything emotionally. Do not allow your child’s anger to affect you or deter you from your purpose. Instead, you should refuse to be drawn into the argument at all, if you can. This is best done by either heading off the argument in the first place or ending the discussion entirely. For example, arguments with children who seek to have some sort of control over their choices can be avoided by offering them the choice they desire, whereas children who argue to irritate their parents are best left unengaged.

If your child raises legitimate points, listen to them and consider them. Of course, only do so if your child presents them in a calm, rational way. If your child wants to know the reasoning behind your decision, take the time to explain it to them instead of giving them a vague answer like “Because I said so” or “You'll understand someday”. If you actually take the time to explain your logic, you may find that your argumentative child becomes agreeable and understanding. In addition, you may be able to teach them an additional lesson.

For example, if you tell a young child that they cannot play outdoors at a given moment and they ask why, explain your reasoning instead of simply getting upset or being dismissive. Perhaps it is too dark outside; in that case, explain the dangers of playing outdoors in the dark to your child. By giving them a rational explanation, you'll defend your point and teach them something new without compromising your authority.

No matter what choice you make, however, the most important part of the process is reassuring the child that though you may not love their behavior, you still love them. Your child needs to know that your love for them is completely unconditional whether they argue or not.

Is There Ever a Reason to Indulge Arguing?

The answer to this question depends on the kind of arguing that you and your child are doing. A healthy form of argumentation allows you and your child a chance to connect and communicate, even over a disagreement. This is a valuable skill to have in your toolbox, because it encourages your child to be open and honest with you. It may also help you teach them to construct a proper argument, one they can hope to win.

There are ways to argue and discuss family issues reasonably and respectfully. You can do this by holding on to your own temper and keeping the tenor of the discussion to the issue at hand, rather than allowing it to wander to dangerous territories. Techniques like active listening can help with this type of discussion, proving that though you are opposing their viewpoint, you still hear and respect their complaint. This may even allow you and your child to come to a compromise, depending on the issue. On the other hand, if your child cannot control their emotions well enough to engage in this kind of rational discussion, you may need to simply refuse to continue and declare the matter closed.

If you've indulged in your child's debating and listened fairly to their perspective, you have the right to make a firm and final decision on the matter. If that decision stays true to your original position, make it clear that you will not entertain any further debate. If your child continues to push you even after you've listened and made your position firm, that is the time to consider further scolding or punishment. You need to be clear with your child that there is a limit to how much debate you're willing to tolerate on a given issue.

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