8 Reasons Why Your Child Argues With You (And How to Respond)
Why Your Child Argues with you… and how to respond. Some tricks, tips and ideas to help your sanity and parent-child relationship.
Having a strong-willed child isn’t always easy. It’s sometimes a personal conflict. You want to raise confident adults that stand up for themselves but in the meantime to listen to you and not have everything a power struggle or argument. Sometimes I feel like my son would be a great lawyer when he grows up. Not only does he argue about everything and with the opposite point-of-view, but if I tell him no he has to know why and argue my reason. Some days just getting through the day, and to bed time, is my only goal. But long term, I know teaching him how to accept a ‘no’ and how to sometimes bite his tongue is also okay. Not every day is great, even if we make strides in the right direction. Sometimes there are days where EVERY. Single. Conversation. turns into an argument. Of course my son having ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) doesn’t help. Believe me, I often feel like I’m an island on my own in this and other parents, even my friends, do not relate. Conflict is his middle name. He even gets in the middle of disagreements I have with my daughter and takes sides, arguing with the other. It isn’t always a quiet household. But I have to remember I am the parent. I am in charge. I can not always change their behavior but I can change how I react to it.
Why Your Child Argues
To begin with, it is important to know why your child is arguing with you. In their mind they might think they are justified.
1- They see things in black and white and think they are right. Sometimes, with explaining, they might understand your POV, but not always. You have a few decades of wisdom ahead of them.
2- They are doing it for attention. They might not be aware of they are doing it either.
3- They are ADHD and also have ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). Puts a whole new spin on WHY they are arguing with everyone. Check out The Defiant Child book for some ways to take back parental control. A counselor told me about this and recommended it.
4- You might actually be wrong. Believe it or not, kids can be right sometimes. However, arguing is not the way to discuss it.
5- They don’t agree with you. They might have done something, like hit their sibling or got a bad grade at school but are going to argue about their punishment because they don’t want to lose privileges.
6- It is a habit. You have gotten into a rut of arguing with them about everything and it is now a routine (that needs to be broken).
7-Children like to control the situation and have a need for power. There are ways to defuse this without grounding them for a year.
8- You give into the arguing and argue back, yelling back and forth. This is always a lose-lose situation.
Some Tips To Avoid The Arguments
1- Have set consequences for behavior and do not give in to changing them.
2- Do not argue back. Starting a yelling fight means you lost your temper.
3- Read up on it. Check out the book How to Behave So Your Child Will Too. It has great strategies for both parent and child.
4- Take a deep breath and walk away. Some situations do not need an immediate reply. Regroup yourself so that you plan what to say and are calm.
5- Sit down and talk to your child about it. You might be surprised to learn they might be hurt, angry, unloved or misunderstood.
6- Talk to a counselor or therapist. You might want a few sessions or seek long-term appointments. If you find one you do not like or is not on the same parenting page with you than switch. Having someone as a mediator that understands people can really help break down the problems to help create healthier ways to communicate.
7- Be willing to admit when you are wrong. Sometimes parents jump to conclusions or assume, based on past behavior.
8- Keep Perspective. If you have a child that is prone to arguing, remind yourself that there are positives to this personality trait. You want a child that grows up to stand up for themselves and others and does not cower or get walked over.
9- Reward positive behavior. Do not forget this. If things start going smoothly you might be used to it and not expect a sudden flair up in behavior. This happens especially bad when my son is sick and not feeling well. Take the time to compliment your child. Let them know you have noticed the changes in their behavior and how they have been working on arguing less and that you appreciate it.
10- Don’t take the bait. If your child starts arguing with you stand your ground without arguing back.
11-If you have multiple children or a busy schedule make sure you take time out of your day or week for some one-on-one time. A walk around the neighborhood, trip to the ice cream store. For younger kids you can make a sticker chart as a positive reward system with set prizes they can earn.
12- If you are co-parenting (in the same house or as divorced parents) make sure you both are on the same page. Co-parenting classes can help with this if two of you often take opposite sides. Showing your kids you have a united front is important. When I went through my divorce the class was court-ordered. If you can’t find one, than research books on co-parenting.
13- Consider what you are arguing about. Is it everything under the sky or is it about the same thing, consistently, that is never unsolved?
14- Remind yourself this will pass and choose your battles. Sometimes small ones are better left ignored.
15- Don’t resort to violence. Spanking, hitting (aren’t they really the same thing?) or anything else is you just reacting out of anger. It has never been shown to improve a child’s behavior.
16- Remember you are a team! Do things together. Here is a picture of me, with my kids, looking at the recent eclipse. Make sure you spend quality time together and create good memories.
Comment below with tips and tricks you have to avoid arguments with your children.