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Dealing with argumentative children - you can choose the hard way
or the easy way.
By nature argumentative children are, well, argumentative.
Some kids seem to be born with a temperament that puts them into this
category; others appear to grow into it for no discernable reason.
The bottom line is that if you are their parent, you need to learn how
to deal with argumentative children.
Let's continue our discussion of this type of disrespect in
The easy way of dealing with argumentative children.
children are looking to get a reaction out of you so don't give it
Easier said than done, you say? Well, sure, but if it was easy you
would have already figured it out, right?
Changing your behavior means changing your mindset. So let's start
Dealing with argumentative kids effectively means understanding
that your job as parent is to stay in control and maintain leadership
in the family.
In practical terms, this means:
thinking ahead about what you will say when your child becomes
argumentative. Do a a little role playing with yourself. You know what
sets your child off so use that knowledge to plan some phrases that
keep you out of the argument. For example, you could say
"We've covered that topic. Done."
"You know the rules. They're posted on the wall if you need a
"I am willing to negotiate when you are in the position to earn a
privilege. You have broken the rules. No negotiation. End of
- Next thing to do...is walk away.
Need more ideas? Take a look at this practical article for parents who
yell (and we all do sometimes).
Tired of Yelling at Your Child? Stop Screaming and
Start Parenting Effectively
Let's cover this more in the next section...
How to handle argumentative children - the hard way.
Sometimes it helps to flip a thing on its head. What's the
easiest way to keep a argumentative child fussing at you?
Keep responding to him.
In an argument, every time your child has something to say,
Insist on having the last word.
Now, you may mistakenly think that having the last word means asserting
I've fallen for this trap myself in dealing with my own argumentative
children. But on careful examination of the facts, I've discovered my
own faulty logic.
The true authority in a situation is the one who maintains control.
The person who keeps his head on straight and doesn't give way to the
emotions of the moment. The person who remembers the rules and the
values of the household and sticks to them.
That's called self-control and your disrespectful child is revealing
she has none at that moment when she is arguing with you.
How to deal with argumentative children? Let's sum up...
- Make a decision ahead of time to stay in control.
- Do a bit of advance role-playing so that you are prepared with
simple statements designed to convey to your arguing child that you are
in control and the argument is finished.
- Make your statement - calmly!
- Walk away.
- Practice as necessary. (Your child will probably provide you
with opportunities for this last one. You can even thank them. I know
that always drives my kids crazy - and provides some much-needed humor,
Parents of argumentative children - or disrespectful children of
any type - sometimes bring this up and let it derail them.
"But what if my child has a legitimate question? I cannot simple walk
away when he needs instruction or correction, can I?"
Your child is hoping you are asking this question. This is EXACTLY the
tactic an argumentative child has in mind when he begins an argument.
He's hoping to play upon your sympathy. Your sense of responsibility as
a parent. And your cozy thoughts of him as younger and more innocent
than he really is.
In other words, your child is manipulating you. Yes, I said the 'M'
word. Hey, I've got four kids, I've been manipulated and watched
manipulation attempts literally more times than I can count. If
you keep falling for this trap, you give the arguments life.
In truth, and you know this in your head and heart, when your child
needs honest instruction, the conversation looks different. And
children hide when they realize they need correction. They rarely come
looking for it. That's just human nature.
The bottom line? There are other, more appropriate and more
productive times to be instructing and correcting your child than in
the middle of an argument. If you are not taking advantage of
the calm moments in your child's life to do teaching and parenting,
then that's a separate issue.
If you're having difficulty handling your arguing child and you want to
know what parenting program I can recommend, that would be The Total Transformation program, hands down.
Does Total Transformation work? In my understanding,
it has a good chance of improving many family situations IF a parent
works it diligently. Part of why this particular program has a measure
of success is because it supports parents extremely well. I simply
cannot overestimate how important I have found it is to get trusted
support while parenting!
More parenting articles for you.
How to Handle Teenager Issues
How to Stop Back Talking
Colleen Langenfeld is a mother with over 29 years of parenting experience and helps other busy moms around the globe at www.paintedgold.com.
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