How To End The Debate: Argumentative Children

My future lawyer (aka my five-year old son) has become quite good at arguing.  I know he is about to start a great debate when I hear….How To End the Debate 3


Wait a minute…..

Let me tell you what I think……

Mom, that’s crazy…… (my least favorite one)

Lately, I do not have to hear any of those statements first to know he is starting an argument, because everything is an argument.  Getting ready for school, what to eat, where to play, going to the bathroom, which SpongeBob episode is my favorite, and on and on.

How can I stop the arguing, but not stifle his need to question?  I like that about him.  I like the fact that he questions things.  He does not just want to go along with the crowd.  He wants to know where the hell the crowd is going!

But lately his arguing is a little bit more than that.  It has to do with control.  He is a little boy in a big world and he realizes that he has little control of things. I can understand how that must make him feel and I think that is the first step in decreasing the amount of arguing he wants to do.


The more we yell, the more they yell back.  We have to show, by example, a behavior we want them to do.  When we kick patience to the curb our words and actions come from frustration and agitation.  I cannot talk to my son like that, because pretty soon he’ll be talking to me like that.  So we need to calm down and come from a place of understanding.

Why Do Children Argue?

Understanding why your child does something is a great way of preventing you from “pulling a Homer Simpson”! Also, if you canHow to End the Debate understand the source of the issue you can figure out a way to correct it!

– Power or control

-Learned behavior (they see us arguing or we let them get away with it)

-Testing their limits

-They are upset about something

-Personality (My son has a strong personality.  He questions things.  My personality is different.  I do not debate.  I like to smooth things over and compromise.  This is important to know because I can look at how I deal with his arguing from that perspective.  You cannot always compromise with your children, a hard lesson for me.)

What Can You Do?

1. Try “We’ll talk about this tomorrow, but in the mean time…..”  This lets children know that you are willing to discuss with them, but you need to do it on your terms and not their terms.  If you start discussing right away then your child gets out of doing whatever you asked him to do.

2. Give them control of things.  Let them decide what they want to wear.  Give them choices for meals.  Let them decide which homework assignment they want to do first.

3.  Consistent rules are very important to avoid arguing.  Mean what you say and say what you mean!  Your child will know what to expect and will know that arguing will not give them the results they want.  If you give in one time expect a fight the next time.

4. Personalize everything you say.  Do not scream down the hallway, “Put your clothes away!”  Go down to your child’s room and say,”I need you to put your clothes away.”  You are not just some voice making them roll their eyes.  They see you, hear you, and you are talking in a calm voice.

5. Do not make suggestions!!  Have you ever said to a toddler, “Do you want to go potty?”  What is the answer every time?  “NO”  Say it with confidence, “It is time to go potty”.  Or perhaps you have said, “I would really like it if you cleaned your room.”  Ha!  They hear the weakness in your voice and know they can push it back 10, 20, 30 minutes, until you forget or give up.  Say it and mean it!

6. Actions speak louder than words.  Set a good example.  Show them through words and actions how they should act and what kind of person they should strive to be.

How To End the Debate 2

As a teacher this was easy, but as a mother this becomes much more complicated. My children are my kryptonite.  This has been a huge challenge for me almost every day.  And, yes, I have not been consistent.  My son’s personality is fierce and sometimes I take the easy way out and give in, which ends up being much worse than sticking it out.

If you falter, just start over!  I think as parents we probably start over a few times a day sometimes!  I know I do!  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Also, if anyone has advice or suggestions please share!!

Categories: Family

Tags: , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Hang in there, Mom! Here’s my advice:, but I think you’re doing that already. We all stumble – that’s what wine is for 😉

  2. I think your suggestions are right on. I’ve been in the parenting trenches for close to 20 years and have made plenty of mistakes along the way. But you’re right – start over. We always need to cognizant of the fact that we’re raising men and women of the future. Sounds like you are definitely on the right path!

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