How to Avoid Arguments with a Child
Every parent and every child is unique. You can expect that the way you choose to raise your child is going to be as unique as you and your child are. The “blueprint” is going to look the same, you want your child to grow up to be a healthy, productive member of society, but how each one of us goes about helping our children to attain that goal is going to be unique to each one of us.
Parents typically embrace dreams about their children graduating from kindergarten and how the whole day should play out, of special occasions and the happiness and joy they will bring. I don't think any parent dreams of the day they have an argument with their child.
To realize those dreams of kindergarten graduation and special occasions having all the happiness and joy you want, instead of nightmares about arguments, you need to start at square one.
If your parenting model was poor or you don't appreciate the way your parents raised you there are hundreds of websites that can help you learn all the skills you will need.
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If you don't want to end up arguing with your child about every decision you make then start when they are young. Be consistent and let your child have a clear view of their boundaries. When lil Sally toddles towards the busy street, the correction must be swift and clear. You have several choices here:
- You can choose to catch up to her and distract her with a toy to come back.
- Tickle her until she runs back.
- Or maybe you take her by the hand and with a sharp word “no” bring her back.
Any one of these interventions work, yet if you look closely at each scenario, which one will convey to lil Sally that it is not acceptable to toddle in the direction of the road?
Is she going to know her boundary if she is distracted away from the road? No, she won’t have any idea there was a problem and she will toddle that way again as soon as you’re not distracting her anymore.
Will she have any idea that the road makes mommy and daddy upset if you tickle her until she runs back. No, she is going to make a game out of it and run towards the road to get you playing the tickle game. There are no boundaries marked in any way and she doesn't have any sense of a danger signal from mommy or daddy. On the contrary, you’re playing and have fun with her!
Taking her by the hand, you have literally “grabbed” her attention, turning her away from the road in the direction you desire with a sharp word tells her, “that made mommy/daddy upset”. You are sending her clear signals even if she doesn't understand language yet. She does see that her actions made you upset. This is as clear as you can get with a toddler.
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The scenario with lil Sally was an example for you to gauge where you are in parenting with your child(ren). The way you parent your young child is, most likely, the way you're going to parent your children through-out their lives. Are you the parent that continually has to jump up to stop lil Sally from running towards the road? Are you the parent continually interrupted by your child calling to you, giggling and then tearing off for the road? Or are you the parent that stops lil Sally from running to the road, swats her butt in front of everyone only to have to swat her butt fifteen minutes later because she did it again? You're the ideal parent if you see lil Sally heading for the road, you can call out to her “No, no, you come back here Sally. That’s not your area”, and she returns to her play area and you return to your conversation never needing to get up or worry about her going that direction again. That is definitly easier said than done, but with consistency you will have better results.
Why, because here is where it ALL starts. From the first time you have to correct your child the relationship for discipline between you and your child is being set. Whether you will be the type that argues with your child or whether what you say is what you mean, and what you mean is what you say, you're setting the stage at square one. All the years growing up you teach your child how to interact with you. And all those years your child studies and learns you .She learns how far she can push you before you really mean no. She learns from you how much she can argue with you when she doesn't like your decisions.
If you studied the behavior of just one person, every day, all day, do you believe you would have a good idea of this person? Would you have a good idea of how they behave after thirteen years of study? Of course you would. You would know what makes them happy, what makes them sad and what their triggers are. You would know so much about them that you could make them happy in a minute or start a fight straight away. You would also know what to say or do to stop the argument, what would appease that person. Your child studies you; it may not be a conscious behavior, but they learn you like you learn them. If you don’t want to argue with your child, especially when they hit those teen years, then don’t be a parent that argues with your child from the start.
When you make a decision stand by it wholeheartedly. The first time you tell lil Sally not to pull Jack’s hair. When you tell her not to throw food, if you're wishy-washy about it, she’ll see that. If you're firm and clear, she will see that also. You decide how you’ll go about it.
Spanking is such a controversial subject that I loathe to address it, yet it needs to be addressed. If you do find yourself facing a moment that only a spanking will get the severity of your point across please, try remember these:
- Never, never, never administer a spanking when you are angry.
- Never spank your child in front of others. Its a humiliating experience and not necessary to get your point across.
- Exposing their bare flesh for a spanking is NOT necessary to get your point across.
- Using instruments, other than your bare hand is reprehensible.
- If you find you're spanking your child several times a day, please reconsider your parenting strategy. A spanking should be reserved for emergencies if ever invoked at all.
I can’t stress the importance of the first point strong enough. Never spank when you are angry. If you're angry, then YOU are out of control and are in no state of mind to administer a punishment to anyone. Go for a walk, take a bath, whatever will calm you down. Then come back to the problem and deal with it. You'll be much happier with the outcome.