When you find yourself arguing with your child, do you have to always be right? What if being right hurts your relationship with your child?
Winning arguments with your child is not going to resolve conflict because arguing is often two people simply spouting their viewpoints and not really listening to the other. Arguing with your child does not guide them or discipline them.
Arguments with kids are usually pointless. They are like hamster wheel conversations, with two people going over and over the same things with no resolution.
To use another pet analogy, some arguments resemble rabbits chasing every hole they come to. Often when arguing, two people get so far off track, they can’t even remember what started the disagreement in the first place because they are tracing rabbit trails in their conversation.
Simply put, problems don’t get solved when two people are venting to each other. Neither one is really listening to the other or seeking to understand. Those kinds of conversations will not be productive.
Unfortunately, parents often think that they have to be the one who is always right. They are in charge. They are older and wiser, and although that may be the case, it’s not necessary for you to always win the argument or to be right all the time. Your job is to discipline and guide, not win arguments. Discipline teaches what is right. That’s different than having to “be right.”
That’s not to say you are not in the right. In fact, you very well may be right in your thinking, but how you communicate and act toward your child can be completely wrong. The old adage has some validity to it: it’s not what you say, but how you say it.
When it comes to preserving your relationship with your child versus winning an argument with your child, remember this:
Children are not the enemy. You are not in a war with your child. In fact, you are on the same side, the side of loving them and wanting the best for them, the side of wanting to see them grow into strong adults.
You can be right, win the argument, and defeat the child. But what have you accomplished? The child is wounded, crushed, hurt and angry. This leads to bitterness in your child, as well as feelings of rejection. Your relationship with your child will be damaged.
Speak the truth in LOVE. Yes, parents must speak truth, but it can be done in love. In order to be right, you don’t have to prove your child wrong and win an argument with them. Instead, you should be teaching them truth, loving them unconditionally, and often waiting for them to understand what’s right. Remember that instant victories for parents can lead to future hurt and brokenness.
The next time you feel the need to steamroll over your child’s feelings, take a step back. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Also, remember that the next words you say to your child will either speak life or death.
There’s something more important than being right as a parent. It’s being in a loving, forgiving, and lasting relationship with your child.
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