How to Stop Arguing with Your Children


Sometimes I am in the middle of an argument with one of my children before I even realize what is happening! How did this happen?

How can I make sure I am having a fruitful conservation with my kids instead of an argument. I can do this by operating according to this biblical principle: Correction can take the form of discipleship instead of discipline when there is respect and teachability.

In this video I explain how to apply this principle to conversations with your children and stop the arguing! This is part 8 of the series How to Help Your Children Become Self-Motivated. 

How to Stop Arguing with Your Kids

Kathryn, age 6

Kathryn, age 6

Even after I have (often) promised myself I was going to stop, I still argue with my children. And I don’t mean a calm, reasoned discussion (a possible definition of argument). I mean a heated, frustrating quarrel!

I want to be kind and gentle, but I still find myself becoming irritated and impatient. Here are a few things I am learning about how to be calm, gentle, and loving in my interactions with my children:

1.  Don’t take it personally.

I have noticed that I most often get irritated and upset because my pride has been ruffled. I don’t like being ignored, disregarded, or disrespected. Jesus expects me to be able (and he enables me!) to love those who mistreat me. It is strange to apply that to my children, but it works. I must respond in love to those around me no matter how they treat me. Love is patient and kind.

2.  Get over your plans.

Another reason I get irritated and impatient is that things are not going like I want them to! I have a plan. I have a lot to do. Why can’t everyone just cooperate!

It helps when I get over my plans and get lined up with God’s purpose for me. Second to loving God (which really helps me stay calm), we are to love each other. My overriding agenda is to love the people I encounter, no matter what my plans are. Would the interactions I have with my children looks different if my greatest goal was to love them and help them follow Jesus?

3.  Stop being a people-pleaser.

It bothers me when people are unhappy with me or don’t approve of what I do. I have recently discovered that this applies to my children too (they are people!!). I sometimes fall into the trap of trying to appease them, argue with them, or even compromise in order to make peace. When this doe not work (and it usually doesn’t), I get sucked further into a frustrating argument.

It may be counter intuitive, but I have learned that I can be more loving and gentle when I decide that it doesn’t matter if my children are pleased with me. Since my job is to teach and train them, it is an absolute certainty that they will not be happy with me. I must patiently accept that as part of my job.

What have you learned? Will you share some helpful tips for how to interact with our children in a calm and gentle way?

The Logic of Abortion

One of my favorite class discussions in our Public Speaking class at Appalachian State is on "Building Powerful Arguments." In it we talk about logos, pathos, and ethos, and deductive and inductive reasoning. In order to demonstrate how a logical appeal (logos) can be made with a deductive argument, we use the topic of abortion. I lead the class in an attempt to create a deductive argument for a pro-choice and a pro-life position. I emphasize how important it is to be able to accurately articulate the view of the opposing argument (that is, to the satisfaction of one who hold that view). If this simple step were taken in such discussions, much misunderstanding, straw-man arguments, and talking past each other would be eliminated. Deductive reasoning argues for a claim based primarily on the logical relationships of certain premises. First, the students must establish a major premise. This is an assumed principle that both sides should agree upon. Next is the minor premise. This is where the one logically connects the major premise to his or her claim. A simplified version of a deductive argument (a syllogism) for both sides of the abortion issue may look like this:


Major Premise:            Women have a right to control their bodies and # of children. Minor Premise:            Abortion is an exercise of that right. Claim:                         Protect abortion rights

Pro-Life Major Premise:             Taking the life of another human is wrong. Minor Premise:            Abortion is taking the life of a human. Claim:                         Stop abortion

There are other ways to argue both sides, but this is a start upon which both sides generally agree. Anyone have any suggestions on how to improve this beginning point for discussion? Next time I will explain how both sides usually criticize the logic of the other.