Who's the Real Opponent?

The parent, the spouse, the child, or the issue?


“Children who argue have good character qualities like persistence, perseverance, determination, creativity, and an ability to communicate ideas. The problem with arguing is that your child views you as an obstacle.” Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller go on to suggest to make the issue the opponent and the parent and child partners in solving it.

We’re on the Same Team

It’s Rugby World Cup time. I hope my kids see me as a big team mate that tackles our shared obstacle. Let’s take an everyday example. The children come home from school and want a snack (called goûter in France). When I offered fruit, bread and cheese, the kids demanded a “real” goûter with cookies, cakes, and chocolate spread.

The easiest way to start an argument is to tell the children how wrong they are. “You’re so unhealthy. You don’t care that I want the best for you….” The second easiest way is to let the kids tell you how wrong you are! “You always make us suffer and you never let us eat anything good….”

Creative Tool Kit

It takes a little more creativity to identify the real opponents like parent fatigue, peer pressure, and advertising. With your child (or spouse or even colleague) try some of these interpersonal tools:

1. Use humor: “You saw those snacks on TV didn’t you? Did they show the trip to the dentist afterwards too?”

2. Take the frustration out on paperDownload the boxing girl image.  She can handle your punches!

3. Get more facts: Differences can become emotionally charged. Facts provide objective input which helps cool down heated exchanges.

4. Share Paradigms: “I understand the issue this way. What’s it mean to you?” Discover tips to Listen with Open Minds

5. Discuss it later, one-on-one: This technique has changed our family rapport. Read My Best Behavioral Habit

According to Miller and Turansky the subjects we argue about are often not important. That holds true in our home. It’s the relationships that matter.

Image by LetMeColor.com Coloring Pages

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