Arguing With Your Children

THE Relationship Blog


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Are your kids argumentative? Do your children say black when you say white? Do your kids like to suck the life out of every happy experience because they are contrary or adolescent or just can’t admit when they are wrong? Yep, ours too! Even though this is incredibly uncomfortable and frustrating, you cannot give in to temptation to crush your opponent (sorry, maybe that’s just us). There is a purpose to most of this oppositional behavior from your kids. And here they are:

1. They are asserting their independence:

Somewhere along the line, our kids figure out that we run their lives. They also notice that we seem to have all the answers. I remember my Dad would tell me this Spanish adage which meant absolutely nothing to me: ‘El Diablo sabe mas por Viejo que por sabio’ (translation: the Devil knows more from being old than being wise). Our kids won’t understand that until they are old like us. Until then, they assert their independence by arguing with our wisdom.

2. The game of Alpha does not end on the Serengeti.

We are animals with style and technology. Just because we moved out of caves into condos does not make us any better than our furry cousins. It is in our biology to mark territory, like a fence or car alarm, and we always seek out the hierarchy of any community. Establishing dominance is a game played with all animals and we are no different, however, we call it things like pissing matches or one-upmanship. When our kids question our authority we react like any tiger watching his cubs come at him, ‘Are you shitting me?’ Followed by the prompt swat to the back of the head.

Knowledge is great but ultimately, what do we do? First, it is unsafe for your child to be alpha in your family. Your job is to keep them safe and they are not equipped with that ability yet. Sure, they can probably make a sandwich or turn on a heater when it’s cold but they can’t walk into a school and verbally wipe up the floor with a teacher who is harassing them or ban them from certain friends who are a little faster track than your kid. They can’t do that because they lack the experience to know better and the blind need to protect that their parents possess.

Secondly, allowing a child to argue ad nauseum with you is giving them permission to question everything you say including such things to keep them safe (SEE PARAGRAPH ABOVE!). When a child controls the family, that child is in big trouble. I understand that you want Cinnamon Rainbow to have good self esteem, clear chakras and balanced chi but letting her/him decide what a family does, eats and generally thinks is not helping. Boundaries are vital at an early age. This is why we papoose babies when they are born! We like knowing how far we can go. We like knowing what our parameters are. We like knowing the rules. Without that, we cry uncontrollably or, if we are older than our baby counterparts, we will look for the edges with everything in our lives. This will look like a child acting out physically, emotionally and verbally. And who wants that?

So, you tell River Otter Melon that it is what it is because you say so. You tell Cloud Nirvana that you are the boss and you will not tolerate being disrespected. It is quite alright to play the Alpha and beat your chest and roar. However, don’t take it too far and banish them or something stupid like that. It is done from love and the need to protect your children not power. Unless you wield your power benevolently and only for the occasional fetching of stuff when you are watching TV. Then that’s OK.

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