Monday, July 11, 2011

What to Do: Arguing Child

I recently got this question:

What do you do with a strong willed child that insists in arguing when she does not get her way?
I have two of those. How did you know they're both girls? ;) This is what I do:

Sally: Can we have popsicles after dinner?
Mom: No, not tonight. We just had dessert last night.
Sally: But I really want popsicles!
Mom: (modeling what child should have said) Yes, ma'am. (said in a happy voice)

Note: The happy voice is important. You want to model exactly what the child should have said and how they should say it. This begins when the child is able to talk and protests with words or with whining.

If Sally continues to argue, I would repeat my last phrase. If she still argues, I would pull her aside and talk to her about her attitude.

Mom: Sally, I know you love popsicles and it would be great to have them every night, but it's not ok for you to argue with me. Remember what the Bible says about arguing? (If they're like my children w/ this propensity, they have this verse down pat.)
Sally: "Do all things without complaining or arguing, that you may be blameless and innocent"
Mom: Right! (big smile) It's my job to help you obey God's Word and it's your job to obey mom and daddy. Now, let's try this again. Sally, is there something you want?
Sally: I want a popsicle.
Mom: Not tonight, honey. We just had dessert last night.
Sally: Ok, mommy.
Mom: {big hug} That was awesome, Sally! You didn't argue or complain! I'm so proud of you! Come here, let's play a game together.

Note: Distraction is key. Once the child obeys, you don't want to dwell on it. You want them to move on. If you can distract them and reward them at the same time-- all the better.

The #1 factor that determines your success is your consistency. If you require the right response 5 times in a row, and then you get lazy and just say: "Sally, you're arguing again. Now stop it!" you're back to square one. Trust me on this. ;)

3 comments:

MamaMahnken said...

Well, when you say it like that it looks really simple. But I think I got lost at consistency, rats!

N-Sanity said...

Ginger said:

The #1 factor that determines your success is your consistency. If you require the right response 5 times in a row, and then you get lazy and just say: "Sally, you're arguing again. Now stop it!" you're back to square one. Trust me on this. ;)>>>>>>

Amen! Don't ask me how I know lol. :)

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

Ginger, thanks for answering my question. :)

I don't know where I read about supplying the child his/ her correct script. I think it might have been right here in your blog. I have begun to implement it in my house, and it is working wonders!!!

With my almost 4 year old is working like a charm. With my 8 y.o. who likes to argue is going a bit more slowly, but catching up quickly. Tonight it went like this:

Me: B., I want to let you know that I put your Dora's sheets on G.'s bed because I haven't been able to finish washing her dirty ones.

B.: "Aaaaah, but those are my favorite sheets! Why does she have to.... "

Me: "Mom, I am really glad that I have some extra sheets that she can use while hers are dirty. " (me giving her the script.)

B." But, Mom.... - she then stopped and turned to me and said: "what is it that you want me to say?"

so I repeated my answer to her and she repeated it back to me and then turned and went back to what she was doing.

I complimented her for sharing her sheets and inside did a little happy dance. :D

Praise the Lord. This parenting thing is a lot of work but it is paying off and it will pay off big time in my children's lives when they carry God's Glory everywhere they go.

Thank you so much, Ginger for sharing your wisdom. :)