Red Flag #2: Arguing Too Much

Its time for a second installment in this semi-regular-series about red flags: Arguing.  Does your child argue too much?  Do you find yourself frustrated as a parent with how often it seems like you just can’t have a normal conversation with your kid, or just have them do what you asked them to do?  If so, there is a red flag waving that is begging for your attention. Similar to the last entry about kids who need to have the last word, children who argue often do so because they have adults in their life that continue to fuel that need to argue.  Here’s a simple parent-check to try: how hard is it for me to ignore my child’s words?  Wise parents figure out how to turn their ears and their mouths off.  In short, are you able to zip your mouth? Children who struggle with being argumentative often have a parent who engages in arguments.  Not with a spouse, but with your child.  When I have families that come in to my office seeking help for an argumentative child or teen, I know that part of my job is to teach that parent where to find the “off button” for their ears and their mouth.  That paradox that I mentioned last entry?  It exists here too!  When I am able cease arguing with my child, my child will no longer need to argue.  I’ll have starved my child of the fuel they need to keep on arguing. Learning how to keep your mouth shut as a parent and allow your child the pleasure of their own thoughts is one of the most beneficial skills you’ll ever learn as a parent.  And in doing so, you’ll have blessed your family and your child’s future spouse with a treasured gift: a person who no longer needs to argue!