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Stop Kids' Arguing

4 Ways to Curb Your Child's Endless Arguing

Arguing happens anywhere, anytime, and at any age. A child asks for something, mom or sibling says NO, and the child begins to argue. Mom or sibling gets mad, hoping it will stop the arguing. The child just speaks faster and louder, trying to explain. Mom or sibling reaches the end of their rope and yells, "Stop it!" but the arguing and negotiating continues. A power struggle is in full swing.

That scene raises the question, "Why doesn't arguing and negotiating stop when a parent yells, 'Stop it?'" Here are three reasons why.

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  1. Children think parents always make the correct choice. Since adults insist, negotiate, and argue, kids think that insisting, negotiating, and arguing be the right way to get what you want. They decide this because they're young, and use immature reasoning.
  2. Children see that their parent is trying to stop them from arguing by arguing and yelling at them. Once the child fully understands this contradiction, the parent loses some credibility, and the child doesn't listen to "Stop it."
  3. How many times have you said or heard a parent say, "If you'd just listen to me, I'd stop yelling?" Most parents believe that a child should change their behavior before the parent stops yelling. The better way to stop arguing is do the exact opposite. (The way to do that is #4, below.)

(Note that these tips will not stop your child from ever arguing again. She will argue, again and again. The arguing comes back because of development. Each time a child finishes a developmental cycle she has a new outlook on life. She argues and negotiates to see if the old rules still apply. And you have no idea who your child is yet to become. She may need to be a skilled negotiator as an adult!)

4 Steps For Ending the Arguing

  1. The first thing parents need to do is look at situations from a child's immature point of view, not an adult's logical point of view. See what your child sees. You need to see that the insisting, negotiating, and yelling teaches her that these are the ways adults get what they want. Why wouldn't she think she should do that too?
  2. You need to ask yourself what kind of relationship do you want to have with your older child? What you do now will absolutely impact the later years. If you continue to argue with your child now, she'll play it back to you "big time" when she's a tween or a teen. Realizing what your future holds is a great motivator to change!
  3. Children learn 200 percent more from what you do than from what you say. You have to show your child that it's possible to do what you're asking her to do. If you want her to control herself, you have to control yourself, first.
  4. Parents have to change their behavior before their child does. How? When you find yourself marching down the reaction path, go silent for 10-60 seconds instead of arguing. Make a conscious decision to just stop arguing. I won't lie; it's one of the hardest things you'll ever do. You might be thinking, "Doesn't that mean I'm letting her get away with disrespectful behavior?" Not at all; going silent is far firmer than punishment!

Parental silence captures her attention and causes her to think, "Uh oh, Mom isn't arguing, I'm in big trouble." Silence also says, "I'm no longer willing to argue with you, and I'm going to help you learn how to control yourself."

Explain the Change in Advance

At a calm moment explain that you'll no longer be talking when she's arguing. If you don't explain, she'll think you're ignoring her, and that may make things worse!

I hope you're inspired by the four ways to change arguing. Give it a try, and talk to me in the comments. Let me know if it's working and let me know what other topics you want me to address!

Sharon Silver is a parenting educator and the founder of Proactive Parenting. She's also the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Image Source: Shutterstock
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TigerJ TigerJ 2 years
I have been trying for 12 years!!! Dr's, Paedeactric, Counsellors, If my daughter doesn't want to do something including, yelling in my face etc, NO MATTER What the consequences, i.e no t.v computer friends around the list goes on and on and on.... She won't STOP. I have gone outside in the pouring rain and sat in the car... she follows me and continues the abuse. I'm exhausted. I"ve given her letters trying to get her to accept my love and help to put a STOP to this ongoing behaviour. NOTHING works. I'm told by "THE" Specialists that I"m doing everything RIGHT so any other ideas would be welcome THANK U.
MichelleNoel96773 MichelleNoel96773 2 years
This is the only thing that works for my daughter, I look her directly in the eyes and say I won't talk to you as long as you continue to argue with me. It may take a couple of minutes to sink in that I'm really not talking to her and then she gets it. At that point she doesn't have a clue what else to do so she does what I wanted her to. It's so much better that arguing with her!
LorraineMichaelZecchini LorraineMichaelZecchini 3 years
These are reasons and encouragement to stop arguing. Nothing in this article gives advice on how to stop the arguing. This wasn't very helpful at all.
PattiPino PattiPino 4 years
I believe this is a great tactic. It gives everyone time to cool down, a time out of sorts.
RaeRing RaeRing 4 years
I'm going to give this a try. I have been at war with my 13 year old daughter and I am so tired of it. I hope this along with some other changes will help us get back to the bond we once had....I will let you know how it goes! :) TY
DeborahWallace DeborahWallace 4 years
Okay, Great,stop arguing...What do you do instead?
ChasityThomas ChasityThomas 5 years
Thank you so much for posting this...I feel so stressed over arguing with my 9 year old daughter. Hopefully this works for me. I'll definetly give it a try and be consistant with it.
MEAGHANTANOAI MEAGHANTANOAI 5 years
I like this article a lot! But I am having problems concerning the same issue of arguing and being disrespectful from my preteen.. I wish I had seen this article a long time ago! What do I do now? My 12 year old argues with my husband and myself but the disrespect is always aimed at my husband whom is his real dad.. I dont understand why he can bow up to my husband and talk to him the way he does. His cleanliness and school are also a huge problem. All of these problems are drifting down to my 9 year old son. He is starting the arguing and everything just like his brother. What do I do? Please help!!!
KamiHilliard KamiHilliard 5 years
Very good article! My son and agreed last week to not argue anymore....it's been working and now I read this. I made a good decision.
GingerCrawford7330 GingerCrawford7330 5 years
ok, this is all well and good. I agree entirely, but the advice seems to stop short. I tend to use this method with my very insistent daughter, however it doesn't stop her from trying to negotiate her side ad-absurdem. Simpy refusing to argue does not mean that she will immediately do what she is asked or told to do. Rather she will enter into a lengthy debate (well organized at that) and try negotiate deals. While this in some ways is a good characteristic, it can drive both her dad and I, and her teachers a little nuts. So what's the advice here? The parent doesn't argue, the child continues to negotiate. What now?
ShardaNana ShardaNana 5 years
Thank you ,i will give a try ,i have a15yr boy and 6yrs old girl and believe me it is a war zone with them.............
AnnetteElemen AnnetteElemen 5 years
Good reminders here!!!
macyrios macyrios 5 years
this is precisely true.
CarianneLambiase CarianneLambiase 5 years
I am going to give it 100%%%!!But i'm half the battle!!Getting her father to stick to it,or even do it;well that's another issue.And a frustrating one to say the least!!
MargaretMcLaughlin71469 MargaretMcLaughlin71469 5 years
I have a head strong 7 year and there are many times while we are "arguing" that I say to him "why am I arguing with a 7 year old?" That kind of stops the argument. But I will try the approach to not let the arguing begin in the first place. Great article.
AnitaRhodes AnitaRhodes 5 years
I have 4 children under the age of 13. I am arguing with at least 1 every morning. Its hard being in this mood first thing in the morning and then going to work like that. I will certainly give this a try. Thank you.
GlendaLeCompte GlendaLeCompte 5 years
I have found myself using this method and it works. It is hard to stick with & I have gone back to reacting at times. When I find myself reacting, I simply say "I am not participating with your behavior". It allows me to reset myself into not becoming reactive & regaining control of the situation.
PrideMthethwa PrideMthethwa 5 years
Wow, thanx! This is great info, will sure try it with my 4yr old.
MaraAvery MaraAvery 5 years
I have a 6 year old boy and have used this approach and not only does it help get my sons attention I feel like a much better parent communicating with him this way. Much better all around.
MercyNkirotePN MercyNkirotePN 5 years
A must try for me.
BeverleySaul BeverleySaul 5 years
I will most definately try this with my 6 year old son. I can never win, he has me wrapped around his little finger and that scares me.
SusanKratzerPelofske SusanKratzerPelofske 5 years
Thank you for this article! This is so true. I have used this with my older son, who is now 17, this really works and gives you a better, more healthy relationship with your child. It is very hard to do, and I am having a harder time doing this with my younger son, but this is a great reminder.
DanaPullini DanaPullini 5 years
I like this article , I will give it a try and let you know! Thanks!
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