Dr Sreevidya S, Chief Consultant and Head of Department – Pediatrics and Neonatology Altius Hospital, HBR Layout, Bengaluru
Communication is an integral part of overall development in children. As parents, we want our kids to think independently, stand on their own and to be able to “respectfully” communicate what they think. In the process of learning above, children tend to argue and disrespect. Toddlers esp. want their ideas to be everyone else’s ideas. They feel the need for power to make their own rules like how most adults do. Children largely learn by observation. They tend to learn from how elders or parents behave and tries to mimic them.
Children who seek power will refuse to do what you ask and resist authority, most commonly leading to an argument. Most parents in situation as above will emphasize counter control which doesn’t work. Here are a few tips for caretakers –
• Do not argue with your child. An argument can only occur if you let one occur.
• Encourage and teach your child to ask for permission. This will prevent many arguments.
• Many arguments can be avoided when you give the child an option. For example: You can either clean up the toys or help water the plants.
• Treat your child and yourself with respect. Be objective when you speak and try to use fewer words.
• Sit down with your child and let the child know the negative consequences that they will receive if they argue with a parent. Set the consequence ahead of time and stick to the consequence. It’s appropriate to let children know that you do not want an argument as a warning before providing the consequence.
• You may provide incentives. However, do not overuse this strategy or you will be teaching the child that rewards come after each request.
• When they cooperate without argument, appreciate it. This is positive reinforcement.
Children who have chronic or ongoing behavioral problems and arguments that lead to anger, violence or other fear-inducing tactics may need to be assessed by a trained professional.