One of the most consistent drains on our energy and our enthusiasm is to live in a world where kids are constantly arguing. They argue about bedtime. They argue about eating their vegetables. They argue about homework. They argue about which show to watch. They argue about who owns what toy. They argue about whether it is going to rain or not. They argue about whether it is too cold for gloves.
Sometimes, as children get older, many of us might be inclined to see these arguments as signs of good negotiators or attorneys. Don’t be fooled!
Such Arguing Children Do Not Become Good Negotiators or Attorneys.
Children who are constantly negotiating and arguing over every daily responsibility or necessity learn to waste much of their life energy and ability on useless arguments. You see their time is wasted arguing sometimes for hours over a task that would take them ten minutes.
They become ‘conditioned’ to invest themselves in these worthless arguments, and over time, you see their energy and attention evaporate from those tasks that are more important. If not careful, some of these same children learn to argue with teachers, peers, and coaches in the same manner.
These Children Argue in Ways That Empower False Thinking.
This is what is really dangerous. When children grow up arguing over every little thing, they come to believe that their faulty arguments are worthy of attention and validation.
When kids are arguing over bedtime, it is as if they believe that they know what is best for them — when it comes to bedtime. This is not true. Parents know better.
When children argue about whether or not they should do their homework, they think they know best about homework. They do not. Parents know best.
When kids argue over whether they should eat their vegetables or not, the argument empowers the belief that they should not eat vegetables. Kids do not know best about which food is good for them. Parents do.
If not careful, you will find them arguing as if they know best about absolutely everything. As they move into middle school or adolescent years, you will see that the negotiator has now decided that they truly know more about everything! And…they are willing to tell you about it!
Over and over again, most of the arguments that are driving you crazy have no basis in a valid or meaningful position. While the argument itself is enough to drive you crazy, it is important to realize that these arguments present more risk to your child’s future than it appears. They are not learning to become good attorneys; they are learning to believe arguments that will only waste their life and time.
Stop It Now…While You Can. You have the power to turn off these arguments in your home.
The Secret to Ending All Worthless Arguments and Negotiations
I have always found this to be true: Children never argue with parents who don’t argue with them. It’s that simple.
Your children will only argue if you are willing to stay in the ring with them. So step out of the argument. Not after trying to have the last word, but as soon as the argument begins. Just step out of it. Don’t explain it. Don’t try to get them to understand or agree. Just don’t argue.
When your children say, I don’t want to do my homework…don’t argue. When they say they don’t want to go to bed, or eat their veggies, or take out the trash…don’t argue. When you say no, and they want to argue…just don’t do it.
Hold your ground with your decision, but DO NOT argue about it. (Remember: you never win anyway…and it usually just ends ugly!) So stop it now…while you can.
When you do so, the wise choice to NOT argue will require you to learn how to manage your children’s behavior using your action—not your words. I encourage you to invest in gaining the parenting tools that support your strength as a parent, rather than continuing in these worthless arguments wasting your time and theirs.