8 thoughts on “How To Stop An Argument With Your Child

  • August 1, 2011 at 10:44 am

    “He is baiting you, hoping he can persist and outlast your patience.”

    I think maybe it’s not a great strategy to approach one’s children as if they’re diaboligcal opponents, who are just making things up in order to “defy” you. It seems like, in this situation, he might really think it’s unfair, and refusing to listen to anything he says or acknowledge his feelings probably makes it seem more unfair instead of less.

    So, I agree that this strategy will stop an argument, but it’s also kind of disrespectful.

    Reply
    • August 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      Katherine –

      Hi, thanks for responding. I’m sorry you took this as being a disrespectful approach, and I could have worded it a little differently to avoid that type of misinterpretation.

      However, I will say that when kids find that things work, like getting you into an argument that they often win, that is something they will repeat. A child that is particularly argumentative may not be able to specifically describe what they are doing like an adult (or an older child) might.

      When it comes to talking about it later, “later” could be as soon as a couple minutes later when both of you are ready to have more of a conversation about the issue than a request/permission situation. If you sense there is something more to describe, you could alter your response by saying something like “Meet me in your room in a couple of minutes and we can talk about it a little more.” You can both get a little space, get emotionally settled, and adjust your mindset from conflict to conversation.

      There will be times when keeping it straightforward and simple is better. Too much conversation with a child who tends to argue will keep the problem hanging around. Arguing is about winning, and that’s different than having a conversation to work out a conflict or create understanding. And it’s different from understanding that sometimes you still have to do what needs to be done, even if you don’t like doing it.

      I don’t suggest that you see your children as “diabolical opponents” that make things up just to win. But it’s important to understand how to derail and argument when you see it coming. As with any parenting recommendations, you’ll need to take this approach and modify it to each situation you face.

      Thanks for writing in and I’m glad to have the chance to explain my thoughts more on this subject.

      Erika

      Reply
  • August 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    ““He is baiting you, hoping he can persist and outlast your patience.”

    I think maybe it’s not a great strategy to approach one’s children as if they’re diaboligcal opponents, who are just making things up in order to “defy” you. It seems like, in this situation, he might really think it’s unfair, and refusing to listen to anything he says or acknowledge his feelings probably makes it seem more unfair instead of less.

    So, I agree that this strategy will stop an argument, but it’s also kind of disrespectful.” I think KM has it right. Erika I think you’re going from one extreme the other, from being defeate by a child to cuttting out the explanation stage completely. Its respectful to the childs feelings and reasoning power to give an explanation, maybe repeat twice, but not much more, and then firmly put the foot down and insist. Otherwise you cut off communication and reasoning. This is what I have advocated by the ‘suprernanny’ type approach I’ve seen advocated on TV. You want a child that knows discipline, but not a child who’s individuality has been over-ruled, 2 different things, as adults, it doesnt take rocket science to be sensitive to both.

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  • August 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Hi, I just want to agree with this! Absolutely! I love the article – it is what I try and do, and it’s great to read this is an advised technique! It really really works for me – and I find keeping the rules simple, and pre-worked out to go in hand with it too. So don’t spring new rules on them – just the basic ones can’t be argued with. like bedtime, eating yr dinner, brushing teeth, homework, going to school… 🙂 Any unusual thing I will reason and/or explain, and negotiate if necessary. I think it’s a fine balance as any human relationship is – but this technique definitely helps and works for me with the big issues. 🙂 thanks!

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  • August 10, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    100% agree – I am a contracts attorney who handles negotiations with skilled opposing counsel every day. When “the other side” (does not matter who it is…) engages you in a non-productive manner that distracts you from *your* goal (no matter how heartfult their feelings of unfairness may be…), they have succeeded in changing the terms of the conversation. And you have lost – at least a little bit. The most successful way around this is acknowledge and pivot: “I hear you, but we’re not getting into that right now: right now, I need you to [task required].” DONE!

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    • August 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      I see that we have some varying opinions here on this post, and I’m glad others feel they can share. I hadn’t meant for this to be something divisive or disrespectful. Honestly.

      Just wanted to say, Sue, that I like your summary of the approach as “acknowledge and pivot”. I think that may more accurately reflect my original intent. Thanks and I’ll keep that simple description in mind.

      Reply
  • December 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I don’t get the ‘disrespectful’ part of this from readers. Children do not automatically ‘get’ respect, they need to earn it as everyone else does, and talking back like that is NOT respectful to the parents. I am the mother of 4, grandmother to 1, and I learned this the hard way. You do not need to be harsh, criticizing tone, or anything else…just repeat the request as stated and then if no compliance then list consequences. I tried to be ‘respectful’ and give reasons on my first two children, and all I did was raise EXCELLENT arguers!! They figured out an argument for everything. And I fell for it, exhaustively, over and over, until finally one day I figured this out. People, respect is not something that is an automatic to anyone…it is something that you earn, or may have earned (even if just by living a longer life) Do not raise your children to be self-centered twerps by teaching them that every question they ask needs to be answered, every request or whim needs to be addressed, etc. Teach them, that by being calm, clear, and persistent, that they can EARN your respect by doing what is requested of them. PLEASE. This world is FILLED with disrespectful, self centered, cynical young people. We don’t need any more, and those types will not be the successful ones, anyway.

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