Q: Is it normal for my child to constantly argue with me?

Sometimes I feel like I am arguing with a child. Everything is an argument and I am always wrong.

 

A: Yes, it is normal for your child to always argue with you. And you are right; it feels like arguing with a young child. You are dealing with “adolescent egocentrism,” and most adolescents go through it. It is the belief among adolescents that they should get what they want no matter what. They are focused on their end goal, and no matter what you say, you will not be able to convince them otherwise.

How do you deal with this? Don’t engage in the argument. Here are some tips to help you through:

1. State your answer and explain your reasoning one time.
2. Listen to what your child has to say.
3. Respond with empathy and restate your reasoning.
4. Don’t discuss it again.

In real life it looks something like this:

“Mom, I want to stay out until 11:30 after the dance.”
“No, the rule is that you are home by 10:30.”
“That is not fair because all of my friends get to stay out later.”
“I understand that, and I am sure it is not fun coming home earlier, but our rule is that you must be home by 10:30.”

STOP DISCUSSING

It is at this point that your children will want to engage you in an argument. There is no reason to argue because you are not changing your mind. If you do not respond, there is no one with whom they can argue.

THE PROBLEM

They are relentless. It will be hard not to re-engage in the argument. Do whatever you can so that you do not fight back. Eventually your children will learn that you won’t argue.