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Want a better relationship with your children? Don't be afraid to argue

POSTED: March 16, 2015 12:26 p.m.
Jessie Shepherd, MA, AMCHC/

If you want a better relationship with your kids; don't be afraid to argue! This might sound backwards, but it is completely true.

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If you want a better relationship with your children, then argue.

This might sound backwards, but it is completely true. The key is doing it the right way. Keep these ideas in mind and you are on your way to a healthy argument with your children.

The main aspects you need to know when getting into an argument is making sure you keep focused on the original conflict; stay as rational as possible and determine if the timing is right. Picking the right time does not imply the “perfect time” because these moments simply do not exist. If someone is running late, or some is tired or have had a long frustrating day, wait for a calmer time to bring up the conflict. As far as staying on subject, just rationally state that you would like to stick to the original argument, and the new “distraction conflict” can be addressed at a later date. Lastly, do not let your emotions guide the argument. They can certainly be a factor in the conflict, but when you let your emotions steer, the train will derail quickly.

Now here are the reasons I want you to argue.

1. Arguing brings you together

Usually when you think of arguments you assume that the people involved are not bonding. But arguing is just as important as knowing your children's favorite movie. You are learning to compromise and communicate with one another during highly stressful situations. These dances assist in your understanding of each other. This increases the likelihood you will start having discussions instead of full-on arguments.

2. Arguing assists in tough decisions

When your kids have a hard decision to make, the best-case scenario would be if they ask for their parents' viewpoints. Having some influence on your kids when it comes to sex, drugs, college choices, car options or any other growing pain is a wonderful thing. That means that in the past you have respected their problem-solving skills and in turn they respect you and your opinion.

3. Arguing shows you care

When asked what the opposite of love is, most people answer hate. But at least with hate you are paying attention to that person. The true answer is indifference. If you are ignoring the problem, you are ignoring the person, and this is extremely hurtful. Pretending the problem is not there does not make it go away. The best way to approach a sore issue is to start with honesty and genuine caring about the other person.

4. Arguing can teach how to resolve conflict

There is no better teacher then modeling, and you are the model during an argument. You are showing them how adults have an argument respectfully, how to express your emotions and how to influence others to get what is needed. So you should act like you would like your kids to act.

So what happens when you completely lose your cool? You have just created another perfect opportunity to teach your kids how an adult takes responsibility for their actions and apologizes for their behaviors. Notice how I wrote “opportunity” and not “swallow one’s pride.” It's just another joy of being a responsible parent. Happy arguing!
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