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How to win an argument with a Teenager without Arguing

Updated on June 24, 2011

Struck by lightning!

Overall odds of winning an argument with a teenager are at best a long shot. Your actual odds of winning an argument with a teenager depend on when you argue and where you argue, but a single argument with a teen has odds of about 18 million in one. Arguing with two or more teens at the same times increases your odds dramatically and you have as little chance of winning as 125 million to one.

Since there are about 25 million teens in America, each one of them would have to enter into 5 arguments before one of them lost one. Incredible odds in their favor. That means that virtually at no time is there danger of losing the argument. This simple fact strengthens the teen's resolve to argue. And adults accommodate this resolve day in and day out.

I you have ever thought about how to put a teenager in his/her place, you are not alone. About 2 in 3 people in the United States believe that winning an argument with a teenager is the only way to put them in their place in their lifetime. This is an amazing statistic given the scary odds.

Reflect

Think back. Take a long hard look at your outcomes in arguing with teenagers. Can you ever remember winning. Oh sure, there are times that you have won on some points. You've gotten 2 or 3 of 6 points. I even had a neighbor once who got 5 points and had their teenage son up against the wall. But let's consider the chances of winning all 6 points compared to the other unlikely events in your life.

What are your chances of being struck by lightning? Since there are about 300 million people in the US, and there are about 100 deaths per year, the chances of being struck by lightning and being killed are about 3 million to one. You are 6 to 40 times more likely to die from a lightning strike that to win an argument with a teenager.

Now given the dramatic odds, you would believe that people would figure out that there must be a better way to interact with teenagers than to argue with them. But still facing the odds and pursuing that win is one of the great American pastimes. Every week in the US, there is a person who has won an argument with a teenager. Many adults look to this accomplishment with great reverence and maybe even some envy.


It's a Lottery

Most people believe that they should have an argument every Wednesday and every Saturday because someone is going to win. What they may not be taking into consideration is that most of the winners are teenagers.

Did you know that arguing with someone who is not interested in your point of view dramatically increases the odds? So, just for arguments sake, let's say that 1 in 1,000 teenagers are arguing with you because they have a keen interest in your point of view and want to find out what you are thinking. Those arguments are still won at the 18 million to one odds. But consider the other 999 teens. These people are arguing for the simple purpose of making you lose. The odds in winning an argument in that situation are astronomical. Add two or more teens and the odds are staggering.


Do Not Argue With a Teenager

Still, most people continue to argue with their teenagers, believing that somewhere someone is going to win. So when, you ask, is it a good strategy to enter into an argument with a teenager?

There are various times when arguing with a teen is advisable:

  1. You want to lose.

  2. You want to prove to yourself that you cannot win an argument with a teen.

  3. You want to increase the probability that you will be struck by lightning.

  4. You just bought a lottery ticket and you want to try something that has a lower chance of winning.

Hopefully this discussion has convinced you to reconsider your goal of winning an argument with a teen. To review, teenagers are ruthless. They are not interested in your point of view. They do not care what you think. They want you to lose your cool. They want to win.

Your overall odds of winning are very low.

You might consider trying something else. Like listening. You might find out what kind of person is hiding behind that argument.

Last piece of advice: Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!Do not argue with a teenager!

You cannot win!


Note: I just made up the statistics. There are no statistics for who wants to argue.

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    • profile image

      mikeq107 6 years ago

      Love it ..100% true LOL

      One of my many but my favourite jobs over the Years was an On call School bus driver...I was taught at a very early age that a s soon as you enter an argument you have already lost and I grew up in Ireland the Land of Saints and Scholars and Drunk debaters:)))

      Anyway In all my years of SB driving I never got into an agrument with a teenager, heck I knew better, I was once one myself and I knew everything..I know hard to believe :0)

      All I ever did was ask qusetions, Listen, listen some more then Listen again, did I say Listen!!! Intresting problem solving word that ;0)

      then when they felt heard..I would simply say "Ok what do you want to do about it"

      i dont think I have to write any more at this juncture..you get it!!

      great hub!!!

      Mike :0)

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Yes, that is a form or winning! LOL I should have thought of that one, take the phone, cancel the service, or dip it in a bucket of water.

    • deepthinker76 profile image

      deepthinker76 6 years ago from South Carolina

      lol.. this was great! I have two teenagers myself and your right...I have never won an argument with either of them. Unless winning is screaming just shut your mouth right now before I take your phone! lol

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      @Lisa HW LOL, the point is, you can't win! No matter how you win. There is no winning. You have to wait until they are 25.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      One thing, though, that may not be figured into those numbers offered, is that even if you win an argument it isn't likely the teenager will let you know you did - at least not for several years.

      The way to win an argument with a teenager is to take the "It's-not-over-until-I-say-it's-over" approach - and then don't say "it's over" until they're no longer teens and more willing to admit you were right. :) THEN, it's over - you win! :)

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      CarolineChicago, Really if you know the rules, it ain't so bad. LOL Good luck with that, hope you find your way easily.

    • CarolineChicago profile image

      Caroline Paulison Andrew 6 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks for the great hub. I have a newly minted teenage girl--with two boys on their way in soon. Amazing how even the rookie teens seem to have the ability to argue like a veteran! I'll be in this for another 10 years, all children considered. You will all be able to watch my hair turn grey right here on hub pages!

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      nettraveller LOL That's right, hold that argument for 7 to 17 years, then pounce.....the timing is beautiful and it guarantees that the person is no longer a teen....oops! YOU are so right, they were teens and that is when the argument started......LOL And yes, when we were teens, we were invincible and could not lose.

      I enjoyed your comments so much, thank you.

    • nettraveller profile image

      nettraveller 7 years ago from USA

      One way of winning would be to table the argument and bring it up seven (or seventeen) years later, after they have left those invulnerable years. Then you can trounce them. Of course, it's a hollow victory, but you can say you won an argument with an EX-teenager! Or claim that the argument started when they were teenagers, so officially it still would be an argument with a teenager.

      By the way, what happened to us after we left our own teenage years? Were all those winning strategies wiped from our hard disks? This might be one case where being immature has something going for it!

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      gradyp so true, so true. It is possible to win only in perception. LOL Thanks for reading.

    • gradyp profile image

      gradyp 7 years ago

      I don't have a teenager yet, but I will have one in about 5 years, so I'll have to remember this.

      Funny thing is, a lot of times, even when you think you've won, odds are, you really haven't. :D

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Teenage bob...thanks for the comments. Winning is so much more than saying "you're grounded" sometimes it requires sending the little buggers to military school. hahaha

    • profile image

      Teenager bob 7 years ago

      Lol I laughed at this because it is true for me lol but they normally just say you are grounded and that is what my parents consider winning lol

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Beth100 You have my sympathies.....lol. You are loaded with teenagers. You might have to update us in 8 years. Thanks for reading.

      tony0724 LOL you are so welcome. You better go take a nap.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

      Thanks for the tips SteveO ! They make me tired !

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

      Not only do I have one teenager, I have 3!! (and two more are approaching this time) I'll be living the teenage years for the next 8 years and I have already decided that there is no point to arguing a teenager. The world revolves around them. Period. I listen. I listen more. I wait. Then, I hold my breath. Sometimes, I laugh. Sooner or later, they learn their lesson and realize that mom was right. :)

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Now that my teens are gone, I have only my wife to argue with. Although I can hardly say that someone yelling, "Shut the F up!" is really an argument. Hahaha.

    • cbris52 profile image

      cbris52 7 years ago

      What teenager doesn't love a good argument... I myself am too old and tired to argue back... haha... enjoyed your hub!

    • cbris52 profile image

      cbris52 7 years ago

      What teenager doesn't love a good argument... I myself am too old and tired to argue back... haha... enjoyed your hub!

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Haha, Shinkicker, thanks for stopping by and giving this old hub some new life.

    • Shinkicker profile image

      Shinkicker 7 years ago from Scotland

      "There are lies, damned lies and there are teenagers" Winston Churchill

      Well! SteveoMc, if you can make up stats I can make up quotations :-)

      I'm still a teenager at heart so I would like to argue a point.

      I haven't thought of it yet so I'll get back to you.

      Great Hub, really funny mate.

      Harry Enfield summed it up for me.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLuEY6jN6gY

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Mr. Happy I thank you for reading this hub. As you can see, all of my advice on teens is tongue in cheek. Parents need to see the humor in life. That helps. I love the saying from your grandmother....a fine analysis.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I am quite interested in this topic ... bloody teenagers, I feel like pulling my hair out sometimes lol! Even when they agree that they are in the wrong I still hear the: "Well, sometimes people have to learn on their own."

      I don't get it, why make a mistake just to make a mistake? My grandmother used to say that "a wise man learns from other people's mistakes; a smart man learns from his own mistakes and a fool never learns at all" (my own translation from Romanian).

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      lorlie6 Thanks for refreshing my hub and adding a comment. Oh, I know all the secrets, can't you tell? This is just a teaser to get you to read more. LOL I appreciate your support.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Hey wait one minute, pal, the title of this hub implies you have some tried and tested ways to win these arguments despite the incredible odds.

      I want leadership, I want tips, I want...oh wait a minute, I don't even HAVE a teenager anymore. ;) My mistake, oops!

      Great Hub, SteveoMc!!

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Thanks for the comments, I really do love them.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Pretty funny stuff Steveo, spoken like a true school counselor. Maybe we need to redefine what it means to win! LOL. Or as you say, just accept the limitations!!!

    • charuash profile image

      charuash 7 years ago from oman

      so true :)

    • SteveoMc profile image
      Author

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      And a lovely teenager you are! Thanks for the comment.

    • kasparaskari profile image

      kasparaskari 7 years ago

      well written, being a teenager i found this extremely interesting and consider the statistics to be well figured as well ;)