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In: home > Raising Children / Behavioral Problems / Argumentative Children

Argumentative Children

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Every time a child or his parent wants something from the other, chances are an argument will break out. For tips on dealing with arguments, and your child’s tendency to argue about everything, read on.

Why can’t you ever understand me! You never listen to me! You’re ruining my life! I hate you!

If you’re a parent, you have definitely had your ears ringing with dramatic exclamations like the above at some point or the other. And you’ve definitely uttered the following kinds of warning phrases yourself:

Don’t you dare argue with me! Because I said so! Not a word more! NO!

Arguing children and frustrated parents are the norm in most households. Arguments between parents and children can be healthy provided they are not blown out of control. The best way to approach an argument is to listen to the side of child. Giving value to the opinions and suggestions of the child will prevent arguments from getting out of control.

The Tussle for Authority

Authority becomes a major issue between parents and children. We were all children once and have all gone through phases when we've accused our parents of being unreasonable, autocratic, dictatorial, lacking in basic understanding, even being the enemy whose main aim in life is to thwart our happiness. We've all sworn at some point that when we become parents, things will be different. But somehow, they rarely are. The minute people become parents it's like a switch is clicked on in their brains and they go into a 'we're older so we know best' routine which becomes the cause for unending struggles for authority between parents and children.

35-year-old Sudhir Sharma recalls, "My parents were of the old school. There was no question of arguing with them. Their word was law. I think the first time I voiced any dissent was when I went to college and I desperately needed a raise in my pocket money."

Different Disciplinary Approaches

Parents of the old school believed that it was their duty to guide their children and protect them from the pitfalls of life. Children were expected to do what they were told and arguments were frowned upon. Unfortunately, this leads to defiance, deceit and the breakdown of communication between parents and children. 

At the other extreme, you have the parents of the egalitarian school of thought who believe that children have every right to express their desires and opinions and that this gives a boost to bridging the generation gap. However, parents who subscribe to the idea that 'children know what’s best for themselves' may find that it backfires. Even though children may question your authority and play 'know-it-alls', that does not mean that they do not need parental wisdom and guidance. Leaving them to their own devices will confuse them and cause anxiety. They need to know that you will always be there like a safety net.

Parents need to adopt a middle-of-the-road approach that is neither dictatorial nor too easygoing. It is essential that children learn that they must respect their parents. At the same time, they must be made to feel that their parents respect their thoughts and opinions in return. 

Some Useful Tips to deal with Argumentative Children

  • Argumentative children can really try your patience. However, try not to lash out and avoid scolding them and punishing them. This will only worsen things.

  • Using phrases like "don't ask questions," "just do as I say," "because I said so," will put you and your children in an adversarial position. These are negative statements that will only serve to put their backs up and reinforce their belief that they are misunderstood and that they are being victimized.

  • Try to make them see things from your angle. Ask them how they would feel if you spoke to them rudely and disrespectfully, the way they speak to you. Try to open their eyes to the fact that it takes two to make an argument.

  • Admonish them if they are disrespectful, but try to do it in a constructive manner. Tell them that you are willing to listen to their point of view, but only if they lower their voices and speak calmly and in a polite manner. 

  • If the argument has developed into a full-fledged battle and tempers are running high, it is advisable to take some time out and for both sides to calm down. Tell your children that nothing is going to be achieved while you are both in this frame of mind and that you will discuss the issue when your tempers have cooled.

  • Make your children feel that you care about their opinions. Teach them to negotiate their demands without getting aggressive and argumentative. 

  • Take the trouble to explain your disciplinary stand to your children.

  • Don't be inflexible and rigid. Bend the rules on certain occasions if your children state their case convincingly and without becoming hostile and aggressive.

For what does your child argue the most? How do you deal with your child’s arguing? Do you agree that arguments can be healthy for both parents and kids? Discuss here.

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vishesh shrivstava.2 years ago
Much needed article for any parent. Planning on dicussing these tips at our parent teacher interactions in my daughter's school - Orchids International. This would help every parent in dealing with their children when they tend to be argumentative.
Lidia.3 years ago
Argumentative children turn violent at times to prove their point..which is not good
Every child is unique and is born with inborn capabilities !

Usually, our life course is influenced by our parents, teachers, peers, media and surrounding environment. Lack of awareness of our actual strengths and weaknesses leads us to spend our lives in mediocrity. This goes on generation by generation. Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test (DMIT) is a tool to identify our potentials. It works as GPS System in our life. It helps us to know our position and map our direction in life. To get a DMIT test done for your child visit us at
Uma.4 years ago
My daughter is 4.5years and she wants explanation for everything i ask her to do. So usually i will ask her to do what i said first, and then she can have the explanation. Her fav. line is Why i have to do so ? But an explanation usaully gets the thing done so i dont really mind. Think she is just buying time to make herself ready to do the task
neeharika.5 years ago
child imitates wht is shown 2 him, though sumtimes dey act unsocially bt den tht is d difference betn a child n grown-up...ven v argue wth dem v show dem d ways 2 do it wth us....v ve 2 control r emotions n go down up 2 their level rather den asking dem 2 cum up 2 r mind-set..i strongly believe tht proper care within d early 3-4 years decide d nature n behaviour of d child.
Rekha.6 years ago
children, speacially when they step in their teens argue a lot.
milan.6 years ago
education should help children how to respect parents and people arround but it does not happen in thier life.
milan.6 years ago
children are just children, they're innocent
mohamed belfedhal.6 years ago
gibran khalil said once:"your children are not your children. they are presents from god."
quilter501953.6 years ago
i have two teenage boys who are extremely arguementive can't get them to stop i've tried everything. i know that they are adhd, but this is not part of it. any ideas?
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