Why Do Children Argue With Parents?
Children are constantly testing their boundaries. This it a normal part of life. So are disagreements between children and parents. To understand how children and parents can stop arguing with each other, you need to first understand why children argue. According to KidsHealth from Nemours, many children (69%) said they knew their parents were proud of them, others did not feel that way. They were more likely to argue with their parents because of this. This is only one reason why children argue with their parents. Based on that same article, about 20% of younger kids and 33% of older kids said they argued with their parents a great deal. Why is this?
Arguing gives your child power as they continue to test you. If you are a child or parent reading this, I’m sure you will agree with the following:
- You are tired of fighting
- Arguments will happen no matter the age or background
- You want to reach a compromise everyone it happy with, but you don’t want to be the first to “give in”
- You feel as if you are not being understood
From the child’s perspective, they have so little control in all other aspects of their lives that they try to take control where they can. It makes sense that they act out with you as their parents since they feel comfortable with you and at home. They end up testing their limits with you first.
As a parent, you control your children’s lives out of love and to protect them. You are trying to teach them order, routine, timeliness and other necessary healthy habits they need to grow and mature. But think about it. Did you like being told when to get up, where to go, what to do, what time to go to bed, the rules went on and on. You, yourself fought against these rules growing up and now the cycle continues. How you expressed your displeasure at being restricted growing up are the same argumentative reactions you are now experiencing.
Young ones are unable to fully communicate how they feel. This also aids to the frustration they may be feeling. If their vocabulary is limited and they cannot make their wishes clear to you, they act out with irritability and disobedience. Some children have stronger personalities than others. This will also adversely affect their responses to your instructions.
At this point, we should take note that unruly behavior should be expected only to a point. This should be a phase in their lives but if it progresses or becomes seemingly worse, more drastic action will need to be taken. These may include programs or speaking to a professional. However, now that we know some reasons as to why children argue with their parents, let’s discuss how this unhealthy behavior can stop.
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Steps To Stop Arguing With Each Other
Stopping arguments from occurring is a two-fold process. Each person must cooperate. This means that there are steps both the child and parent need to take:
- Do not set out to “win” the argument because you are the adult. The argument “because I said so” never works, at least not long term. As a child, I remember my mother using that statement on me. At the time it worked simply because of her authoritative voice and gestures. However, as I grew older, I started to demand explanations. I asked more questions. When I didn’t receive a satisfactory answer, I asked again, and again, and again. (I can only imagine how annoying that must have been for my mother. Sorry mom!) Instead, parents should remain calm and take responsibility for their reactions.
- Do not shut down your children’s concerns. Determine what they are upset about, get to the root of the problem and then try to peacefully and rationally discuss and solve it.
- Leading by example can work wonders in diffusing situations. Children tend to naturally imitate you, so if you are trying to remain calm, they likely will too. After all, it’s no fun arguing with yourself! If they are getting louder and you are remaining quiet and steady, they will switch their tactics to get their point across to you. This is especially true if they are trying to negotiate more privileges such as receiving an allowance or staying up later before bedtime. A note of caution, once you promise to accept what they want, follow through with it. There are consequences of breaking promises as discussed in a previous post.
- Children need to learn by experience. You want to protect your children from everything, but the reality is, children have to make their own mistakes so that they can learn. For example, if they want to do something you know is a mistake and throw a tantrum, you can determine if you will give in. As long as their safety and health aren’t in jeopardy, allowing them to face the natural and reasonable consequences of their actions serve as a teaching tool for them.
- Attempt to put yourselves in your parent’s shoes and realize that they only want the best for you. Your parents are proud of you and want you to be happy, successful and healthy. They are on your side.
- Are you familiar with the expression, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar? Essentially it means that you can win people to your side easier by gentle persuasion instead of hostile confrontation. So if you want your parents to take you seriously and be open to accepting your requests, you need to present your case in a peaceful manner.
- The way you handle rejection now determines how your parents will treat your future demands. This is true as you grow from a child to a teenager and into adulthood. To illustrate, if you want to sleep over at a friend’s house and your parents tell you no, what should be your reaction? Think about it. If you start a screaming match with them, not only will they shut you down, but they will be less likely to let you go to a sleepover in the future. Why? They will remember your disruptive conduct when you asked the first time. However, if you were to express your disappointment in a quiet manner, ask for an explanation and accept their decision, what will happen next time? They will be more easily persuaded to seriously consider your wants.
As the above information shows, each side has a specific role to play. As parents and children, there are certain ways to respond to any situation. If both parties try their best to keep the peace in the household, it will have a higher chance of success. How can parents and children fully benefit from the tips discussed?
Putting Advice Into Practice
To really benefit from the advice to stop arguments with parents and children, everyone must put them into practice right away. In fact, you don’t need to wait until another argument to start practicing. Sit down together in advance and discuss the best ways to peaceably resolve conflicts.
As parents, if there is an argument brewing, try to state your reasons calmly one final time and walk away. Don’t fall into the emotional trap children may set for you. Sometimes it only takes a movie perfect slow-motion tear roll down their adorable chubby cheeks to get you to change your position. Or an angry shout of “I hate you” to get you to give in. Don’t! Being calm and reasonable will get you the respect and obedience you deserve as a parent. As a benefit, your child will be more motivated to give both to you. As a lasting advantage of stopping arguments effectively, you will have peace in your family.
Create A Peaceful Family Life
As a parent, your main goal should be to defuse the situation. Resolve conflicts and at the same time teach your children the correct way to resolve their issues. You want your child to learn how to understand your point of view and others as well. This can only help them in the long run.
As a child, you want to start as early as possible to learn the skills you need to successfully handle tense situations. As you get older, you will come across unreasonable people who want to argue with you instead of solving problems. Starting now will give you a major advantage in your life.
There are no enemies in this situation. You are a family who cares for and love one another. By understanding why children and parents argue, you can begin taking the necessary steps to minimize or stop future arguments.
To end, I want to leave you with a short video on How To Make Your Parents Happy in 4 Easy Steps by Barbara Lester:
Need more motivational resources? Check out the link below for for a free book by Brian Tracy titled, Book of Motivational Quotes to Live By:
What do you think? Do you agree with these tips on how to stop children from arguing with their parents? Please comment below to share any other tips you may have.
Remember, quitting isn’t always a bad thing!