“Dad can I go to Dan’s house tonight?” “No, you know we’re going to your sister’s concert tonight.” “Oh come on dad. You know I hate those things. All my friends are going to Dan’s house. Let me go, too?” “No, we think you should show support for your sister. The whole family is going. And we already decided this. You can go to Dan’s house anytime!” “This is not fair! All my friends are going to Dan’s house and you are making me go to this stupid concert. Can’t I go to Dan’s instead?” “No, I said.” “You stink! You are the worst dad. You are the only one not letting me go. You never let me do what I want. You are so unfair.” “I let you go with your friends all the time but this concert is important to your sister.” “Well, it isn’t important to me. I want to go to Dan’s house!” “Now you are sounding spoiled.” “I’m not spoiled and I wouldn’t sound this way if you let me go this once.” “This once – you are always over at Dan’s house.” “I haven’t been there in three days. Besides, you are the only parent who isn’t allowing their son to go. All my friends will be there. Don’t be so unfair.” “No, you can’t go. I am not being unfair. I give you a lot. I just think you are too spoiled.” “I’m not spoiled. I just think you are the worst dad. You stink! I hate you.” . . ..
How do arguments degenerate into name-calling? How can we, parents, learn to get out of arguments quickly? How can we win?
- Be sure of your decision. Before getting into an argument with your child make sure you are willing to make your “NO” answer stand. Children argue with us when we are saying “no” to something they want. The time for discussion is before your decision. But once you say “no” it must stand. Get all the input and information you need before you make your decision.
- In order to end an argument with your child, you must recognize that you, the parent must end it. Your child will never stop the argument. They will go on forever and throw any name or any fault of yours into it. You must plan on ending the argument. They will not.
- It is important to stay focused on the first subject of the argument. (In this case, whether he can go to a friend’s house.) Kids will confuse you by changing the subject. Your child will have you arguing whether you are fair or not, whether you stink or not, or whether you ever let them do anything or not! If you keep replying to each new accusation you will be arguing forever. Just keep repeating your first answer “NO”.
- Don’t correct their rudeness or name-calling during your argument. It only perpetuates the argument. “Don’t call me names.” “Well, I wouldn’t be calling names if you let me go to a friends house.”
- Don’t correct bad behavior during an argument or immediately after or else you will get the same response as above. “I wouldn’t go stomping around slamming doors if you let me go to a friends house.”
- If they want to mope around after an argument, let them mope. If you try to fix their mood, you will pay for it. Let their mood fizzle away over time. By following these rules you will be called names and hear slamming doors and see moods fizzle. But most importantly you will see arguments ending with you on the winning side. You can do it! Here’s to victorious parents now and in the future.