Although we hate arguing with our children, most of us spend a lot of time doing it. This blog post will show five steps to help you and your child make any argument a learning opportunity.
Let’s take a look at how they are illustrated in a typical argument between parents and children:
David, a 6 th grader, returned from school and immediately turned on his computer. He then started Minecraft. Although this would typically annoy his mom Maureen, it upsets her. She just received an email from David’s teacher stating that he had missed several assignments.
MOM: Instead of playing on your computer, would it not be better to start doing your homework? Ms. Sutton just emailed me that you have two English assignments missing.
DAVID: Let’s get started.
(Ten minutes later, he’s still there).
MOM: Did you hear me? I told you to get off the computer and go to work.
DAVID: It’s under control.
MOM: I would not hear from you if your child had it under control. Start your homework now!
(He ignores her and continues playing his game.
MOM: This is serious. MOM: This is serious.
DAVID: Ms. Sutton is stupid. Her assignments are useless. I can read poetry without having to read poetry to get a job.
Imagine how this fight could end. Maureen could threaten David or try to stop him from playing. David could start screaming, storm off or stay on his computer, defying all authority.
What can Maureen do? What can you do with your child to end the cycle of argumentation? These are my five steps:
Step 1 – Stop trying to make your point.
It is an instinct to keep arguing, especially with children. It is crucial because the stakes can be high, and we fear that we are not good parents if our child doesn’t accept our view. Letting go of our points cannot be easy, but it is the best way for our child to hear our opinions. Our children will continue to push for our energy, but it only makes them more focused and less interested in us.
Let’s look at Maureen and David. They are not listening to each other and pushing their views. Maureen is determined to get David to do his homework. David is focused on getting his mom to stop nagging. David and Maureen are not interested in learning where the other is coming from.