Many children and teens love to argue and negotiate. Many will argue about anything and everything, from what they should eat to when they should go to bed, as well as whether or not they should do their homework. Some will argue about things they know nothing about, including what mom or dad should do about their job or whether or not it’s time for an oil change.
The negotiating can be equally relentless, as this usually involves children wanting to find the most desirable path to what they want. They are never negotiating to do more work, or to start earlier on their homework or to go to bed earlier. They are never asking you to take away their video games so that aren’t distracted; instead, it’s the arguing and negotiating over limits you have put in place.
Problem 1: Believing that “At least they will be a great attorney.”
We might be fooled to think that these arguments are a good indication of their ability to become attorneys or good negotiators, but this is not the case. Arguing or negotiating all the time does not make the children good negotiators or attorneys.
Why? Most are fighting for an easier life, or the life they want without limits. They are arguing to get things their way, with no appreciation for why mom or dad have put limits in place, or perhaps said ‘no’ when your teen intensely wants a ‘yes.’ There is a significant amount of time wasted when the children get engaged in arguments and negotiations over many routine daily activities, and most often the tasks they argue about for hours can be done in within a few minutes.
Problem 2: Major in minor things
Over time, children get preoccupied with these worthless and time-consuming arguments, and thus much of their energy is wasted on things that are trivial. There are also the practical problems that emerge, as such children tend to become teens who also argue with teachers. The child knows the best way to do things, regardless of their experience. This tends not to go well.
Problem 3: Gateway to Narcissistic Thinking.
When children get into the habit of excessive arguing, and parents participate in such insane, time-consuming moments, these become teaching moments for children. Kids grow to believe that every idea and thought that arises should be fought over. They learn to expect others to consider each thought, even though many are not worth consideration.
If we are not cautious you will find some children arguing all the time over many absurd aspects of life, as if they have the solution to everything. This is dangerous since they grow up believing that they are always right and everybody else should listen to them. With such tendencies, you can sense how false confidence in their own thinking emerges, and thus how the seeds of narcissism emerge.
You might be wondering, why wouldn’t I want my son or daughter to be confident in their thoughts? Great question! Here’s the simple answer: These thoughts have no value in life. They are fighting and negotiating for an easier life. They are not fighting for their own strength, their own betterment, or their own growth.
When the arguments arise to the point of driving you crazy, the thought process being practiced by your child or teen is not going to serve them. It simply them fighting for ease over growth, and in the process….learning to believe that their thoughts should be valued by anyone willing to listen. This can lead to quite a lonely, miserable existence.
How To End These Worthless, Frustrating Arguments and Negotiations
Let’s make this simple. It might be a bit painful, but the following is ultimately true:
- Children argue and negotiate ONLY with parents who argue and negotiate.
Pause a moment to take that in, particularly if you have one of those children who love to negotiate and argue. The only reason they continue is that you continue. If you can see that, and appreciate the truth of it, then you have a pointer to freedom and ease.
Parent-child arguments will only happen if you are willing to argue or respond to their arguments. Rather than thinking children should listen to you, let’s assume they should not. (At least, Not until you teach them to listen.)
So, for now, the only way to stop these arguments (in the next couple of weeks) is to actively and intentionally to stop arguing. Stop negotiating. Stop getting hooked.
By the way, if you are thinking your words should have more value, this again is not true. The reason is that actions teach better actions. More words just teach your children to use more words. This is the bottom line.
So, will you have a tough week or two ahead, if you just stop arguing and negotiating, Of course, you will! Your children will not stop right away. They will hound you like never before. But this doesn’t mean you relent. You remain detached, and non-reactive…refusing to engage any temptations to argue or negotiate.
I hope it goes without saying, but you hold the line on all limits, regardless of what your children say. Again, make your actions matter. And become unconcerned with the relentless words that will flow.