Kids are going to argue. It is their way of learning how to solve problems. While it is a major pain in the neck, it is much better than having them learn such lessons out in the world at large. That will come soon enough. For now, having kids that argue is a necessary evil to teach the lessons that we need them to learn. That said, how do we manage such arguments. More importantly, how do we stop kids from arguing once they start, while still allowing them to learn?
Here are some creative solutions for kids and their arguments:
Let them argue…to a point
Some merit is there for allowing children to has out problems. The key is to only allow “respectful” arguing. In other words, no hitting, touching, screaming or name calling. This type of argument resolution is where you step in and explain the difference between arguing and problem resolving.
Never take sides unless you witness clear over the line behavior
Taking sides tends to have bad effects for one side or the other emotionally. We need to instead facilitate a better way of dealing with things and finding a way to get along. If you witness a bad choice like one child hitting another, you should absolutely address it but it is better to do in private. This way you are making it abundantly clear that the behavior is not okay.
Separate them when you can’t calm them down
There is no rule that says they have to stay together throughout the fight. Putting them in different places and talking to them one on one can be powerful when necessary. Try to work with them together and if you are not having success for any reason, separate them. This is a powerful tool when you are dealing with one kid that is calm and one that is not. This allows you to tailor your parental approach to fit the situation.
Keep your head
When kids are upset and screaming at one another, you joining in the yelling is only going to reinforce the behaviors. They will scream the next time too. Keeping an even and calm tone will also soothe them and allow them to calm down much faster. They want to be like you, so show them the right way to communicate your wants and needs. This brings us to….
Make sure you do what you say they should do
If you think you are getting away with arguing in private, you are wrong. They hear everything and they take it to mean that they will be allowed to do the same when they get old enough. You should always show the same behaviors that you are asking of your kids. This is not easy. In fact, it is on of the toughest things you will ever do. But it is necessary. Your relationships will blossom, you will feel good about yourself and your kid will grow up with a wonderful role model. I would say it is worth it. How about you?