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389 Comments

  1. Robert Jennings says:

    I was eager to hear your thoughts on an arguing child. However, I quickly lost that urge to learn about your opinion when you made the comment about “worrying he wouldn’t be able to submit to god” … all I can say is that I hope he continues to be contrary and argumentative at least in regards to the god stuff. You expect your children to be honest and kind and comply to your requirements etc.. Yet you happily deceive them with Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and god … that’s called hypocrisy

    1. Yes, there are things more powerful than all of us…and if kids don’t realize that, they are in for a world of hurt.

    2. Santa Claus?
      Did you hurt yourself reaching that far?

  2. We are experiencing this. Our son is 9. If he doesn’t win an argument, he starts crying and has a meltdown!! How do we help control this emotion?

    1. I would suggest that you patiently redirect him, teach (show, model to) him the right way to respond, (role playing and practice can help!) and then giving consequences if he does not heed your correction. Find stories that show kids not winning but having winning attitudes. Teach character! 🙂 You’ve got this!! Don’t give up.

  3. Hi! Thanks for the read!
    I have a very very argumentative, strong willed 4 year old Taurean son. Believe me he is definitely the bull!
    He knows what he wants and likes to voice his opinions constantly. He will literally argue everything. He even thinks he knows stuff he doesn’t as if he is a teenager already.
    It is exhausting and frustrating and some days I really do feel like pulling my hair out or hiding away in the cupboard.
    Thanks for the tips! We will try anything to teach him respect but I just feel like he doesn’t understand yet what it actually means to just listen and obey your parents.
    It’s definitely tough!

  4. Stephanie giraldi says:

    Hello, I have a very smart strong-willed 5 year old boy. His dad and I are at our whits end with not listening being mean to his brother and when we try to discipline him, he spirals out of control and calls us bullies and he can’t calm himself down. This will sometimes last 2 hours. There has got to be a easier way. Help one (now grey haired momma)

    1. aww, I am so sorry, Stephanie. I wish there was one, easy answer for you, but there are so many factors that might be playing a role here. Have you read my book, Boy Mom, yet? That’s where I would start. 🙂 If so, let me know and I will try to offer some more suggestions! Praying for you now!

    2. Connection is key. More love, patience and grace to affirm connection may be helpful. Correction is obviously needed but is definitely more effective if lots of connection and love is present. Not in anyway implying it isn’t present. I am a mom of five and whenever bad behavior spikes I take a moment to evaluate if maybe their love tank is running low and that’s why they are acting up and not responding well to correction. Kids with the most need for love ask for it in the most unloving ways sometimes. Best of luck! <3

  5. I have a 10 year old niece. She doesn’t have her father or mother living with her, she stays with my parents. She has been diagnosed with bi polar and ADHD. She does go to counseling. I have tried talking softly and rationally to her as yelling only makes her shut down and yell back. Though talking doesn’t help either, she completely ignores everything that is being said with this rather irritating “whatever” attitude. She barks orders to my mom, and literally fights her on doing anything, something as small as putting something back in the fridge. I discipline by taking things from her like iPad/ iPhone etc, but it never sticks. The fighting is consistent. I don’t live with them, and she does behave better when I’m there, I just don’t feel my parents have the energy for her type of behavior problems (both are in their early 70s) and she knows this. Takes advantage. Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Hi! My adopted daughter sounds very similar to your niece. We found that a skilled attachment therapist is fabulous for helping her deal with the loss of her biological parents and dealing with the reality that she’s not being raised by them. It’s helped even out the behavior issues a TON.

  6. Hi Monica, great post! I clicked the link to your VLOG to check out the consequences video and got a broken link. Could you check this? I’d really love to check it out 🙂 TY!!

    1. Hi Lee, Thank you so much. I’m sorry about that — I’ll look into it. Wondering if in one of my “Clean-ups” i might have removed the Vlog. 😬 I’ll get back to you if I can find it and put it back up there! blessings and thanks. xo

  7. Michelle Ahmann says:

    Hi there! My question is…how do you respond (my son is 8) when they argue? Specifically your first/immediate response? He argues…do you say “oh honey, we don’t speak that way” or do you even respond to it at all and go straight to “go to your room”, “ no screens for the entire day”?

    Thank you!

    Michelle

    1. Oh wow, great question Michelle. I wish there was one easy answer, but i think this will depend a lot on their tone, your relationship, and what the arguing is about…I’ll give an example from just today with my now 11 year old son. He asked to open some special bread (Naan bread, which is so yummy) to just snack on, which I had told him I am saving for our dinner tonight. I said “no, I told you yesterday that we are saving it for tonight” and before I had finished he busted in loudly saying “But it’s just ONE PIECE and they won’t go stale before dinner by opening…” and — to be honest — this kind of argument has often worn me out so that I just say “OK, have one.” (ugh!) but today I put up my hand and said “Stop arguing right now or when we all eat them tonight, YOU WILL be the only one NOT TO GET ONE. And I mean it!” Then with a cheerful tone I added, “But there are granola bars in the pantry that I’m sure will be a great option.” He did not go on any longer.
      A moment later I pulled him aside and said “I really want you to know that the point about the bread was not whether or not you had a good argument, it was that you continued to challenge me after I said no.” He nodded and said “I understand,. Sorry mom.” THIS was not a typical response to be honest, but we are really working on this with him, so it has come up a lot and he has had some very practical consequences so he knows I mean business.
      I hope something in there helps. Staying calm. Giving practical consequences. Talking about the problem when you are not IN the middle of the problem…these are all helpful to me! 🙂 xo

    2. Michelle Ahmann says:

      Thank you 🙏 I am going to use the quick hand raise and “STOP right there”. That’s a great plan. Then offer another option. Will let you know how things transpire!

      1. I hope that is helpful and of course my example was very random (just the most recent thing I had dealt with the day I read your comment 😉) but I do think if you can stop the arguing in the moment. Give your child a moment to calm down and think through their argument (decide if it is really necessary) and show you respect in the meantime, you will be creating a much healthier pattern. We are honestly a work in progress here, and some of this is definitely personality type. We can hope that they will benefit from their strength later! 😉

  8. Hannah Yoder says:

    This is such a timely article Monica! I have a 10 year old, an almost 6 year old, and a 14 month old…all boys. I’m pretty sure I have a bunch of “first” borns because of their age gaps 😆 🤪🤯

    My 10 year old is our negotiator. I’m in the process of helping him to see just how much he argues back. And I’ve not done my best job at correcting this enough. #momguilt #nomore

    I’ve been seeking the Lord deeply in this issues, so I can better server my smaller two in this also.

    We live in the south so “Yes ma’am”
    is an important phrase for us. I’ve recently given my boys “Yes ma’am marks.” They get to put a mark on the dry erase board when they give me a polite “yes ma’am” instead of arguing. These marks count as one minute each towards their electronic time on Friday’s. For instance, my oldest get 30 minutes a day to play Minecraft. If he got 10 “yes ma’am” marks that week, on Friday, he gets to add those 10 minutes to his thirty , so he gets 40 minutes total of Minecraft playing time.

    It’s not a perfect system, but it is helping them to be more motivated to just says “yes ma’am” instead of arguing back.

    Thank you SO much for this article. It helps to motivate me and to also show me that I’m not doing as terrible of a job at this mom thing as I think I am sometimes.

    P.S. Your recent podcast with Liz Busby was pure GOLD! It helped my husband I and I be confident that we are ok with our oldest playing Minecraft, for a small amount of time each day, and supervised. I can be on your same thought process “No video games!” But this was a good decision for our family to let him play. Little brother likes to watch and this mama even created her own Minecraft world which is extremely comical for all of us 😆

    Thanks Monica. Truly.

    1. This is all so good!! Thank you so much, Hannah. 🙂

  9. Sorry about the typos, folks.

  10. Omg, Monica. You nailed it w the arguing. I researching all sorts of opposition/defiance disorder stuff and none of that applies. Mine is simply the Olymlic Gold Medalist of turning everything into an argument, debate, challenge. It is bad. The worst I have ever seen, with more calculated strategy and skill than you can ever imagine. Can we chat sometime?

  11. Will definitely try these suggestions as I’m feel like it’s making me sad now. No means no and that is the main issue I have with my 16yr old son right now. Plus his whole attitude and the way he talks to his older sister and me.

    1. Luciana– I am so sorry. It’s hard at 16 b/c they are feeling so grown up though they really aren’t…SO parenting them looks different now than when they were young. I hope you can check out my Character Training Course while it is on sale (doors close on Monday, June 7) If you aren’t familiar with it– check out the course page: monicaswanson.com/character-course. I wish you the best and I know it’s hard. (The course will help!) XO

  12. Oh. My. Gosh!! This is my 5 yr old daughter! Something to say about EVERYTHING! Something has got to change soon because it is tiring! I would love to hear more ideas. Getting ready to put a plan in place.

  13. I just want to say thank you Monica! I will attempt some of these tricks. The consequences usually doesn’t work. I have a 10 yr old daughter. Her arguing and negative attitude has gotten unbearable and she is so literal. She has been arguing since she was in 1st grade. I am thinking of counseling as her father, who was only in and out of her life for her first year but hasn’t been since, was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and ADHD, so I worry she might be as well. She is so smart and gets good grades and doesn’t behave badly at school so there isn’t a problem there. But just today she had an angry meltdown with my mom while I was at work because she hates our apartment and our living situation. I’m a single mom, my daughter and I share a bedroom. I mean shoot, I don’t like it either, but I can’t afford to change the situation. I really hope your techniques work.

    1. If you dismiss her meltdown over her living situation then she will dismiss you, too.

      At least show that you are trying and affirm her feelings first. She’s only 10 and needs to have some hope things can eventually get better.

  14. I have a boy that sounds exactly like the one you mention. No good tricks yet. Punishment and reward has worked some.

  15. Thanks for the perspective of the parent in this situation. I’m the kid in this scenario.

    1. Glad you’re here. I hope you have good communication with your folks! Thank you for commenting!

  16. OH my goodness! Its like you wrote about my son!! I needed this and from a Christian’s perspective is even better! Thank you! I will be checking out your referenced posts and looking at more! So thankful I found this!

  17. What do you say to a 5 year old who says “Jesus makes the rules” in attempts to not listen. How would you go about explaining that one. Its stumped me but I usually just say “and jesus wants you to obey your mommy and daddy”.

    1. Say “Ok, well let’s look at the rules Jesus made for us.” Then go over the 10 commandments, obey your parents scripture, spare the rod scripture, and the 2 greatest commandments. Then teach them the beatitudes, the lord’s prayer, and the fruits of the spirit. Then set up guidelines in your home with scripture as the base.

  18. A quick background. I had And raised 3 boys. They went through a lot in the early years, my husband was not a nice person. They went through a divorce with me and then a remarriage. I always let them choice their opinions but I only had one and he was cursed with the “middle child syndrome “. After they were grown I ended up raising my granddaughter. That didn’t turn out so well. Both parents mostly abandoned her and she never stopped trying to (as she saw it) make them love her. Now I’m raising her daughter (let’s just say my granddaughter is ill and cannot raise the child). My great granddaughter is now 7 years old and loves to argue about everything. I’ve had her since she was a year old except for a few months when her parents called a truse And she lived with then when she was about 5 years old, but that didn’t work out. She loves both her parents but she doesn’t like the things they do, one of which is argue and yell a Lot. You would think that would make her Not argue, but that’s not the case. She didn’t argue with us until she spent time with her parents. As for what we do when she argues with us, we use the same ideas as you mentioned with one addition. That addition is me. My husband has a hard time not arguing back with her and sometimes yelling. I seldom raise my voice but when she gets argumentative I “change” my voice. Raising 3 boys made me realize you have to have 2 voices, a nice voice to exchange things on a normal level and a Stern voice when you have to make a point as to who is th parent and who is the child and who will talk (not argue and who will listen and do what they are told. It works. She knows when I use my stern voice that I mean business and she stops talking and do what she was told. I never had my boys disrespect me, nor my granddaughter and I won’t start now with my great granddaughter. I’m really very easy on her. She has a lot on her shoulders for a child, but I want her to grow up to be a happy, well balanced, motivated adult and have manners, a since of self worth but not arrogance, and respect for others and I intend to see that she does. I’ve had several compliments on how well behaved, and sweet she is and I expect that to continue. BTW, I’m 72 years old and I believe in a lot of the old ways. 😊 You don’t need a paddle, you need the right mind set and determination. Have a beautiful life and raise the children to do the same.

  19. I have 5 children, four of which are boys, and the middle two boys have been a struggle. I just wanted to ask if anyone has considered their children’s diet. My 10yo loves sugar, and when he gets too much in one day, or somehow gets artificial colorings from something he ate, he goes crazy. I’m talking, mean, agitated, anxious, picks fights, etc. I have picked up on this and made sure he stays away from most sugar and never has artificial colorings, and he has changed greatly for the better. He has become more patient, loving, respectful, and relaxed. Also, any multivitamin with high levels of B vitamins cause the same problems. I have experienced this myself also while trying to take extra B-complex vitamins to boost metabolism…made me agitated, easily angered, and very uncomfortable!

    Another thing I’ve found that has helped is helping them see things through the eyes of others and of course prayer. 🙂

    1. I need to ask, did you talk to your child’s pediatrician and a psychologist, if the diet of your 10 year old is actually causing that much problem for you and him then there is something wrong and a trained professional who can actually sit down and talk to you and him should be consulted right away.

  20. Oh my goodness. Speaking of my 11 year old. And yes, that shows we didn’t nip it in the bud years ago. Seems to not help that it is very much an inherited trait, from the other side of the family. 😉 As hard as we’ve tried, he always seems to win and just get too many extra words out. I’ve been reading Boy Mom and love the two immediate consequence ideas. Since video gaming is rare in our house, having a set of unwanted extra chores on hand is perfect. I’ve already been compiling my list! I also LOVED the character building idea you used with your teenager and will be snagging that idea for the same child who if he isn’t arguing he isn’t talking! 🙂

  21. Mollie Feldhausen says:

    As a retired teacher and the grandmother of a dyslexic granddaughter, this is a description of a child who has some learning differences. I would strongly suggest he is evaluated by a dyslexia professional. So many dyslexic children are not identified and continually struggle to get through a school day. They can be exhausted and discouraged and angry. You can get lots of information on line. Barton reading site might be a good place to start. This child needs some help.

  22. Actually, I got your book, Boy Mom, for my daughter and started reading it before I sent it to her. I am really enjoying it and am learning a lot. Is there a section that I could read that applies to this problem? Thanks for answering my first text. I have suggested that my grandson might need to see a counselor, but she did not take to that suggestion. Anyway your book is great!

  23. My 10 year old grandson argues about everything. He has decided he hates school and some mornings refuses to go to school. He won’t do his homework, even if the teacher gives them time in class. He got 2F’ and the rest F’s. He has been told he will be held back but he says he doesn’t care. If he has something taken away for not going to school, he cries then starts destroying his room. My daughter does not know what to do. I am going for Christmas and thought I could help if I had advice from you. Hope have time to reply. Thanks

    1. Hi Kathy– wow, that sounds pretty extreme for a 10 year old…I’m so sorry for all of you. This might be good to sit down with a professional about. But meanwhile, have you/your daughter read my book, Boy Mom? The principles in there should be helpful, but again, this is pretty extreme case it sounds like, so don’t hesitate to seek help! 🙂 Blessings and I pray you’re holiday goes well.

      1. I know I am late answering these 2 post, but I just want to share something. When my granddaughter was in 2nd grade her teacher said she wasn’t attentive in class and stared out the window a lot. She made terrible grades and said she hated school and was quitting as soon as she was old though. Her teacher thought she had ADHD. We took her to a health clinic and started her in therapy. Over the years things only got worse. She saw several doctors, was in 2 in patient facilities for treatment and when she was home she would do what the lady said her son does. She would not just argue but when she was let go to her room after one of her arguing and yelling spells, she would destroy it. She especially seemed to break things we had given her. Over the years she has been diagnosed as bi-polar, borderline personality order and other disorders, and the last I heard was diagnosed with skitso (spelled wrong I’m sure) borderline personality disorder. She is also a Narcissist. She is 32 now and a total mess. We’ve never been able to get a handle on her true needs, therefore I worry about her constantly. If your child is showing these tendencies, please get a professional therapist to see him. Maybe you will have better luck than we did. Maybe you can keep your child (and you) from living a life of constant grief and tears. May you be blessed.

  24. Monica, thanks for taking the time to write this article. We have been down this road for many years with our youngest. He is an amazing kid that makes me proud every day but, oh my goodness! The arguing! These are all strategies we have implemented in different ways through the stages of his life but I swear, sometimes there is a lul, due to proper implementation, and then I relax, get sloppy, and bam it’s back with a vengeance. My brain was so fried after the week we’ve had I couldn’t put a coherent thought together, so Thank You! for the “best pratices” reminder. Wishing you and your dear ones much love and, the holy grail, peace. : )

  25. My strategy to my one strong willed son was to tell him we we’re done done talking (and we talked later). Later in years, I found out that he said he “hated” it when I did this. This was mostly for my own sanity and if he kept talking, I ignored him. —This also took the challenge/control of the ‘fight’ away from him.

  26. Joann Hutchinson says:

    My grandson it’s out of control he is 11 years old and talks back to us all the time I’m afraid that we can lose sound true society I don’t want to see my grandson in the in jail or getting killed please we need help seriously God bless you concerned grandmother

    1. So sorry Joann! I hope you can seek out help with your grandson. It sounds like he needs some serious boundaries and discipline, but there could be other factors as well (hard for me to know from a distance. ;)) So please seek some help through a school counselor, pediatrician, or even a Pastor at church. Praying your love and concern can make a difference in his life! (I believe it can!) Aloha

  27. Phil Clutts says:

    We have a 9 year-old grandson who fits this description. We suspect part of his problem is jealousy towards his little sister, who people are drawn to because she has so much going for her, and – at two years his junior – is even cuter. He has a love/hate relationship with her. Do you think it would be potentially helpful or harmful for his parents – in the course of implementing your suggestions – to tell him that they know there are many, many children who feel and act like he does? He may wonder himself, since the consequences of his behavior never work out well for him. Also, should his disagreeable behavior toward his sister be left out of any discussions of his argumentative behavior?

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is a great post! And I loved reading alot of the comments. Nice to know we are not alone! At this point we have tried everything. Our son is very ADHD….i am myself and was also a VERY argumentative child. But I too had to learn. And the lessons were not easy.
    I dont necessarily agree with alot of the disorder labels people “have”. The world has rotated and functioned for years without them. People still have to get up and function in Society in order to feed themselves….i have told my son it is not an excuse. Vikings would literally “get rid” of clan members that could not contribute like everyone else. We have tried everything and our sons arguing has gotten to the point where it was destroying our family. He is top of his class, excels in surfing, skating and basketball… and not to mention the most GORGEOUS boy ever…the world is his oyster .. and how could we all not be happy….we live in hawaii for crying out loud. But alas he finds something wrong with everything unless it is directly something he wants to do.
    We were taking video games and phone and dessert away as punishment.
    We took you tube away completely. Unfortunetly Video games actually seem to be very healthy in small doses for his intellgent mind but if he is on too long he turns into an awful person. If he doesnt have something to fidget with like his phone he is bouncing off the walls and talking nonstop. He will be getting on meds like I had to but that will not affect his arguing. We had annual passes to disneyland and he ruined every single time we went. He loves his dad so so much and or course my husbands first day off from work every week without fail our son argues everything. If everyone is hot he is cold, if he didnt come up with the activity he is bored. He is also one of those individuals (i think they call them idiot savants) who is very scary smart but has literally zero common sense. I mean to the point where he does dangerous things that have affected his baby sister. But then he will argue with us when he is corrected with a disgusting tone like we are the idiots! He is so lazy when it cones to helping around the house but if it involves something he likes he will do it with utmost perfection. He will run around the house with all his energy but if he is asked to help us he will drag his feet and complain. He has no problems with authority elsewhere. Other than just being a hyper kid he is relatively well behaved outside of our home. The difference between my childhood and his is I had twice the responsibility at half his age and I got slapped if i was disrespectful to my parents. I mean it does say “spare the rod spoil the child”.
    We have always taken the “lets talk it out” approach. But he doesnt believe my husbands threats.
    Finally my husband stood his ground and lost it (vocally not physically) on him. It set him straight for about a month….now he is back to his old ways….the day after we took him to dinner and bought him v bucks for fortnite to thank him for working so hard to be a wonderful part of this family! The next day!
    after you say the sky is blue he will literally say…actually only part of it is blue thats closest to our atmosphere….no thanks! Id rather have papercuts in my eyeballs that hear the rest of that sentence.
    We both commute for work and the second one of us is home he turns on the arguing. We are done. We have looked into giving him a better educational opportunity here at school because it is a boarding school. He would be home only on weekends. It would be amazing for his big smart brain and would give us a break because we quite frankly cant stand it. His punishments now are just being sent outside to sit on a chair everytime he argues because we literally cant deal with it anymore. Regardless of being a kid…..everyone has the right to be happy. And everyone is still responsible for their own behavior 10 or 100 years old. We have a 2 year old daughter who is easier and her well being and childhood is just as important. Its not fair that our son has not been able to utilize the tools he has been given in counseling or by us or school or sports to make himself a better person. I refuse to give up our whole families happiness for one persons flaws. It is not teaching anyone anything to let their negative behavior rule a household….that is why people end up divorced. We dont take drugs to cope and we will no longer coddle him because he has ADHD. There are peiple with many forms of disabilities that hold jobs and function to pay their bills and but food…it is wrong to trach anyone they can behave less because they “are less”.
    While I look forward to seeing how his strong personality could very much earn him an incredible job….probably a lawyer hahah 🤣….In the real world if he cant get it together and learn how to function he will end up alone. That is my biggest fear. Praying for you all! You are all wonderful strong mamas. Keep on keepin on and thank you for letting me rant!

    1. This is my 9 yo exactly…down to the sitting outside part. I am a single mom and admittedly have a problem with enforcement, or even remembering consequences, so part of this is on me. Still, my little, whom I love so much, is intolerable.

    2. I can relate….I read your comment and I can totally relate to your frustration. We finally took our son to have his IQ tested by a State Psychologist and he has helped us with guidance on how to deal with him. Usually kids with a high IQ, need mental stimulation, and they are not getting it through sports. They need engineering, robotics, coding, App games that are mentally stimulating like Hopscotch, Lumosity for kids. High IQ or gifted groups that have field trips in your area that they can relate to. They need to explore, learn and create. And they get bored extremely quickly. Just think of how fast his brain processes information compared to yours, by the time you finish saying something…he has already finished processing it and found a solution, yet he is still a child. We also put our son on ADHD meds with a neurologist, it helped him process multiple sources of information into one focus. Before Meds he would be all over the place and so would his body, jumping around and his mind would be working non-stop…from one thing to the next…now he can focus, and give one thing his full attention. He loves it and we are less exhausted. He listens more. He is still assertive because it’s his character, but nothing like he use to be. High IQ kids are usually destructive if they are not challenged. I hope this helps.

      1. This sounds just like my son!! What have you found that helps?

  29. Hi Monica,
    Thank you for that article, found when googling argumentative 10yr olds lol. My eldest of 4 is very disrespectful, argumentative and rude……only to his family though. I find hugs and straight talking solve a lot but I wont lie, my biggest fear is that hes learning this behaviour from his Father who shouts a lot. And even from me as we argue then because of our differing parenting ways (learned in our own families). I am petrified of the teen years to come with increasing arguments. Thank you for the tips, I will try them with both son and husband 😉

    1. Thank you Ciara, and sorry for what you’re going through> Definitely look through my other “boy” posts as well, and my new podcast just launched today (see my BLOG ROLL for first 3 episodes.) I think you’ll find lots of support and encouragement there! xo
      Aloha!

  30. Hi, Thank you for writing this blog! It sure helps me to know I’m not alone in the struggle with my almost 10 yr old son. I like most of your suggestions. Do you have any suggestions I could try to overcome my son’s general objections (to everything) that don’t require punishment? I use natural consequences and I follow the peaceful parenting method outlined by Dr. Laura Markham. Her books are: “Peaceful parents happy kids: how to stop yelling and start connecting” & “Peaceful parents happy siblings” Lotsa luv!
    Your sister in Christ,

  31. Monica,

    Thank you. My beautiful and exhausting nine year old son is no doubt headed for a top leadership position. However, your eloquently written words have given me a new perspective and much healthier prescription to a more productive way.

    All the best and I look forward to more.

    1. Oh Elissa, I love it. Sorry it’s hard but yes — keep perspective! 🙂 Big hugs to you and please keep in touch! aloha

    2. I am a stay at home mommy of 9 kids. Some are grown and some are home. I have a 5 year old and 3 year old twin boy/girl and they are so argumentative. Mostly the 5 year old and i believe the others fall in line with her. Any ideas for this age? How do I explain respect and submission on a level they get? I will be homeschooling starting this year any advice would help. Prayers welcome!!!

  32. We have 3 boys- and you have described our mid kid to the letter. It’s from sun up until sun down. “Good morning, I’m going to get breakfast ready.. which 19,000 choices of cereal would you like? Oh, you don’t like cereal all of the sudden? Even though you ate it yesterday when I offered a bagel, and bagel’s were gross? So, today you’d like a bagel… cool. We’re out of bagels. You’d rather not eat? Okay, get dressed then. I put your favorite outfit on your bed! …That’s not your favorite anymore? Since when? Oh, you only wear jeans now? Well, that changes things…”

    Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of pure greatness and he’s so sweet! He would never act this way at school, and has a very healthy respect for authority. He just has this very lawyer like quality and instinct to debate anything he can at home! Even if we’re about to do something that he loves to do! He’ll find a way to complain about anything. Ugghhh… needed this article. Always trying to figure out ways to handle this ‘stage.’ Though honestly, I feel like it’s been who is is for so long, it may just be his personality now.

  33. Oh my gosh…I am not alone after all. I’m writing this while at the baseball field with my 12 year old son who is so disagreeable, he gives the evil eye to the Umpires and questions their calls with disrespectful gestures. At home when a kiddish mistake is pointed out to him instead of apologising he argues that it isn’t that bad, or he didn’t do it or or or 🤪. Drives me cra cra. Praying for wisdom on how to deal with him, chatting doesn’t really work, so consequences are implemented and praise when he makes good decisions but it hasn’t seemed to make a difference.

  34. I really enjoyed reading the posted comments. I have two boys 14 and 17 yrs. It’s the 14yr old in our family who is the incessant arguer. Everything is so literal with him that it is hard to hold a basic conversation. It is the running joke in our family. I read in one reply…”Does it ever end?” Sadly, I can say it does not. But I do know you will begin to see great strengths develop from the arguing trait. Our 14 yr old is now on the speech and debate team of his HS and went undefeated in his first tournament! It can be put to good use and I foresee him doing great things with his future.
    Most nights, however, I am pulling my hair out as he has gotten quite insistent with a demanding tone. Because all parents are ignorant in a teens eyes our personal battle has morphed up a notch and I am trying to nip this disrespectful behavior in the bud. How to do this and honor his personality style?
    I like the “appeal” suggestion. I think that will help me keep my cool as a mom as well as he can really push my buttons.

  35. My 8 yr old son exhibits much of this behavior. I get frustrated with him since it happens daily. I hope this will help. Lbvs

  36. This is my 6 y/o Every. Single. Day!! It never stops. Morning, afternoon, after school, evening and bedtime. This sweet child of mine will never give up. I’m so exhausted with having to get on to him. I keep saying in the back of my mind, this too shall pass; but, after reading this blog, I feel like it’s going to take much longer to pass. I feel like I have tried everything in the book, to losing tv time or game time, going to bed early, etc…. Nothing works. I’m excited to try the appeal thing. So I am following this blog and hopefully I’ll see some more ideas and I will post if I come up with anything.

  37. Omg this is my son too!!! Evey single thing that is said aloud he will argue!! Even the color of the sky. I found this post when I googled “a child that argues everything” I’m trying that’s tips now and wll report back. My son is 9 Someone please tell me this stops soon.

    1. Oh yes I am super glad I read this post. My 9 year old son fights everything I ask or tell him to do. My 14 year old daughter never fought like my son. I pray it does stop one day but I do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, because I love him I will stay on my Lexapro and get through this trial to make him an awesome adult.

      1. Debbie Fleming says:

        Ha Ha Lexapro

  38. Momofthewild says:

    I love this post! I have an 8 year old who argues AND is very negative. We have just started with trying a new method to correct the negativity and we have been shutting down the arguing as well. I will implement the ideas above into this plan. She is a wonderfully kind child, smart and has a huge heart. But we are so consumed with the negativity and constant arguing that we have a hard time enjoying the rest. I have hope, seeing we are not alone!

    1. This is my reality too… negativity rules all and I’m struggling to handle it, it makes me so sad my beautiful daughter could be so negative when she has the world to be happy for. I’m currently laid in bed sad after a conversation that went I ruined the holiday because all I ever did was tell her off and that she can’t change her negativity it’s just the way she is

      1. Hannah, you might find some help in the book titled “Raising grateful kids in a world of entitlement.” It is really good. (Look for it on amazon.) You need to give yourself grace and move forward, but do take the time to connect with you daughter and express your love and concern when it isn’t a stressful situation. The two of you will get through this but you absolutely want to help her overcome a negative spirit and to find gratitude and joy. If it doesn’t seem to get better you may consider counseling also. Blessings

  39. Hi Monica. I live in Australia and I love reading your blogs. I have 2 boys 13 & 11 and a daughter 6. My oldest argues over everything. I’m interested to know more about how specifically the Appeal process works in yr family…..
    Also what re your rules around screen time?
    Thanks
    Kerri

  40. My older kids weren’t mouthy and were more verbally ‘respectful’ than my younger two. I really dislike disrespectful ‘tone of voice’ from my kids and have to teach them when mom gets the last word. I have heard kids yell at their parents, curse at their parents, hit their parents in malls and schools and it shocks me that their parent tolerates those actions without consequence. I now have stated and hit home with ‘how to engage your opinion and consequences to doing so in a disrespectful way’. I do argue back – by ending the argument and stating that I get to decide if I want to partake and that there will be a consequence to the action. Usually, that means that something I have given is taken away or that something they want in the near future will be withheld. Having an opinion does not excuse mistreatment of someone that cares for you, feeds you, robes you and protect you. In real life, if you yell at someone, the consequence could be getting punched, getting yelled back at and much more. Teaching tools for communication is very important, and the first person kids learn that from is through their interaction with their parents.

  41. Elizabeth says:

    This is a great article! I too have 1 challenging, argumentative child. After working through things with a pychologist starting when my son was 7 I learned 3 helpful things that Monica also reiterates above: 1. Stay calm, do not argue back 2. Feel free to take a break (if possible) for child (and mom) which serves to cool down AND to assert that you are still in charge. If you mirror their argumentative nature you are feeding it. 3. Consequences should equal the offense – meaning don’t take about tv for a week for a minor argument. I found that I was actually punishing too hard and creating more anger in both of us.

    I’m adding prayer here too – it should be number 1. Lots of these comments describe ODD. Once I was able to understand it I was able to have some compassion and deal with it better. You probably don’t need a professional to diagnose this. There is a checklist you can google.

    My son has made massive progress. Heaping love on him and searching hard to find him being kind and helpful is the best medicine. Some brains thrive on conflict and if possible finding a way to funnel that is awesome – Debate at school or hard problems such as Robotics, etc. Do not give up on these kids! : )

  42. I always loved your posts Monica. While I completely agree with respecting your parents, you keep using the word “submit.” I am not sure I agree with that. Do I really want to teach my kids that they need to do what I say even when they have their own views? Don’t think so. I think kids today have lost a respect that we had for our parents but I don’t think shutting them down is the way to gain it back. We often discuss our kids opinions and they often teach us when we have these discussions. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have to brush their teeth if they don’t feel like it but they certainly need to feel like they have been heard. I see too often, as adults what submission to parents did to them in the long run- they lost their voice and that’s not a good way to be.

  43. Learnt fruitful tips today. Thanks a lot monica. Just keep your blogs flowing n let people like us quench our thirst.
    Take my love.

    1. Thank you so much Rupa! Very encouraging words. 🙂 Much aloha to you!

  44. Joanna L Probasco says:

    Yes Yes have a grandchild who really thinks every bold thing as to your room to standing in a corner is nothing and comes out laughing say that don’t bother me🤔🤔He too likes to argue about everything. As a simple movie as to when he can watch it and wants to watch it now hes arguing with me now as I sit here he is 6. When you tell him to do something he will tell you no. So today started a new foundation I told him he could sit in his room all summer if he want to continue to argue with me his mom and his dad. And he does get rewarded when he does right. He just continues right where he left off . Please help!!!

  45. I have a VERY argumentative / bossy almost 10 year old F.C. I often say she has ‘only child syndrome’ as a joke. She is so small and cute and her ‘spunky’ attitute is not cute anymore. We would like to adopt this child but I have 2nd thoughts because I am afraid after trying many things that nothing will help. I can see in the future that she may get worse (running away, being sexually active early etc) and we are now wondering if this is stuff we want to deal with. We have 4 of our own kids and they do not like her and they would if she would just STOP. I feel like crying. All the kids woke up this morning and it started immediately with her and the others so I took her fun day away. I have told all the kids in the house to STOP doing anything for her unless she asks with ‘please’. I told them I will never break this bad behavior unless everyone in the house participates.

    1. hopingforthebest says:

      Yikes! Im sure she is challenging but any child can be at any stage. If she were your blood im sure you wouldnt give her a second thought. This wouldnt be a question of keeping her or not, but a how to fix the behavior. I feel sad for her, she needs a family to work with her. She needs to feel excepted and not like a pet that can be returned. Maybe everyone should seek counseling as to becoming a family and dealing with child hood behaviors. Im sure this young girl has been through alot in her short life. I hope she is or will be recieving therapy. She should not be an expendable part of your family just because she does not fit the mold. I hope you all can work through this and give her the loving family she deserves.

  46. Is it crazy to pay my kids to do things the first time they are asked without arguing? They are 6 and 7 and I think I can get away with putting a penny in their own jar……

    1. Oh what a great question. I am sure there are many ways to look at this, but I’d say as a way to build new habits, putting a penny in a jar may be a great way to make things very practical and well, visual. 🙂 I wouldn’t do it forever, but for a while it might help establish new habits and show your kids how often they have the chance to obey. Of course ultimately we want our kids to obey because it is right, but why not try it for a time? Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  47. Dee Heffernan says:

    i read this blog because I live in a household with my 10 yr old great grandson who is very argumentative. I wondered if there was anything new from when I raised children and stepchildren. I’m seeing, that like Soloman said, “there is nothing new under the sun”. I want to add some things I’ve learned.

    Treat your child with respect and do not allow them to be disrespectful to you.

    Use few words. “Do it now.” “That is not an option.” “No dessert (or whatever) tonight. (Argument…) No dessert tomorrow night. Do you really want to keep doing this?” Don’t be afraid to turn and walk away from an argument.

    Be consistent.

    1. Great advice, and yes to Solomon’s wisdom. I think of that verse often! 🙂 SO glad you stopped by and hope you’ll subscribe to my blog and stick around– Your wisdom and input is welcome here. Aloha!

  48. So my sister is really annoying with all her arguments once while teaching her algebra I told her answer was wrong and tried to explain but she argued on when she realized she was wrong she wrote my answer and said whats wrong why are you shouting at me or when u try to sit down and have a little respect chat she just says shut up and moves on she frequently has arguments with my mother and lies a lot

  49. Mine is an eleven year old boy. This parenting thing is so hard. Sure hope a great leader emerges from your home and mine! Thanks for taking the time to write this post.

  50. Patrisha Miller says:

    Great,i will try these suggestions today! Thanks!

  51. Another thing that I did that helped was basically dont argue back. My son and my wife argue all the time. He rarely argues with me. Mainly because I shut him down and tell him I didnt tell him to talk, I asked him to do (insert task here) The line of thinking actually came from my wife. Basically it boils down to who is the adult and who is the child.

    Dont get me wrong there are absolutely time a discussion is called for but brusing your teeth isn’t one of them.

  52. Been reading through the comments here…..has anyone looked at the possibility of Autism? Specifically PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance).

    Seeing a lot of similarities here with my stepson, who is currently under assessment.

    Even if Autism/PDA doesn’t seem to fit your kid, the parenting techniques for autism work for almost any neural typical child. Google PDA parenting and see what you think. I found it to be an invaluable resource. Especially when it comes down to arguments/meltdowns/refusal behaviour and making any number and variety of excuses to not have to do something.

    1. fascinating, Charlie. Thank you for sharing. I’m going to check that out for sure. Good info! 🙂 And all the best to you as you go through the assessment process. blessings.

  53. My son is so arguementive I just want to rip my hair out its been a long time bad habbit even gets in trouble for it at school I’m a Christian mother and we always try to explain the honor your mother and father but that dont seem to help I’m at my wits end

  54. love it, and its perfect advice, my son is nine, im a single parent and boy ur advice is much appreciated

    1. Thank you Polly!! So glad you found the post, and i hope you’ll subscribe and stick around and be a part of this blog community! much aloha–

  55. Thanks, Monica, for sharing! It is helpful to know we are not alone in this journey! I have a 6 year old who has turned into the habitual arguer. And it is almost always to see how far he can push boundaries. I have found it effective to re-state what the task or request was, and when the argument comes, to nip it by saying “I don’t hear you when you’re arguing.” It works most of the time (unless he is too hungry or tired)! 😉

  56. I am a step mother to a 7 1/2 yr old girl. She doesn’t respect any rules in the house. She’s lazy, doesn’t want to brush her teeth or hair, argues back all the time, constantly gets in trouble at school, doesn’t like school, argues when it’s time to do her homework. Already aware of her sexuality with boys. Doesn’t respect her father or me..her mom’s a heroine attic that does nothing for her. She has more respect for her mom even though she beats her and we dont…is this normal? Am I going to have more problems when she gets older?

    1. See, I am so sorry you are in a rough situation with your family. No, this is not normal and yes, you will have more problems if you don’t get a plan together. It must start with a loving relationship with your step daughter. Then you must have boundaries in place. She should not be allowed to be rude or disrespectful. There have to be consequences — not beating her but loving, firm boundaries in place. I recommend you get a counselor to help you sort through things and make a plan. I pray you find hope and a new way to navigate. Blessings and all the best to you-

    2. horrible step-mom says:

      Get help now. My step-daughter (14) is the same way. Her mother has been out of the picture for we waited too long. Would get better. It did not. We are now trying counseling, but we waited too long. Her father(my fiance) has gotten to the point where he doesn’t even want anything to do with her because she is so mean, rude, and thinks every thing we do is wrong. She argues non-stop. I just had an argument with her because she wants to cook eggs for breakfast in the morning after not eating breakfast for 2 years because it is gross. I told her no that it makes too much noise while her dad is sleeping. Her response is she is she should be able to eat and that her dad should just have to get up. I tell her she can eat cereal, oatmeal, toast, make eggs tonight and reheat them, but she isn’t cooking in the morning. Her response is still that we are starving her all because her dad wants to sleep before going to work. That “everyone” eats hot breakfast in the morning. This lead to a 30 minute argument in which I couldn’t get her to compromise in any way. It had to be her way or no way. I am not saying we are perfect parents or even close to it, but I am certain not all kids get a hot breakfast in the morning. This is one small example of an argument that has now ruined our night.

      If you don’t get help now it will continue. Get counseling, including family counseling on how to communicate. And if needed some medication. Please don’t let yourself get into my position you will end up hating her and resenting your husband for putting you in that position.

  57. Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with an augmentative 4 year old? Everything is an argument. Please get dressed-he wants to wear a different shirt, okay fine. Brush your teeth-won’t open his mouth and says he doesn’t know how. I offer suggests guiedence and still a fight. The list goes on. Eat your dinner and then you can have desert. He’s full from dinner and wants desert now- goes to bed hungry. Wakes up- same fight. I know he’s trying to have some control but he’s got such a strong will he leaves us no way to offer hep or guidance. He throws a fit and it will go on until the switch in his head has switched to something else- hours sometimes!!

  58. I have some kids that are bossy and argue all the time. I have tried to do all this stuff but nothing is working, how do I get this to stop?!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Amanda. Sorry you’re having a tough time. Sounds like you might just have to work on the consequences part…Perhaps they are getting more out of the satisfaction of arguing than the discomfort that comes with it. Most of the time if you give them swift consequences they will begin to think twice before arguing. being consistent is the hardest part of course… Hang in there, hopefully you’re making progress even if you don’t feel like it yet. 🙂 Blessings

  59. Linda Alvarado says:

    Wow! It’s pretty clear we are not alone in this one! 😉 I have two grown daughters as well as a half-way through 10 son, and have certainly made my share of mistakes. Fortunately, both daughters have grown to be wonderful adults despite me, and now I have better tools for the third kiddo.

    A technique that has worked really well for those stalling and “Wait, but…” situations (and continued to work well with my students once I earned my teaching credentials) was to front-load. When I go somewhere with the kiddos, we have a brief agreement that outlines the terms before we go in, such as, “Okay, we’re going to the jumpy-place. We will stay until 12:00. After that we will leave with no fuss. If the trip is easy, we’ll come back another time. If you give me fuss and make it hard, we won’t come back.” Then I have kiddo agree and repeat back to me. “So what are we going to do?” This never fails twice in a row, as long as the follow up is as promised.

    I also prompt with a countdown. After the initial, “Wait!” then it’s, “Okay, I’ll give you until I count to 10.” (A calm 10, not an aggravated 10 – oh yes, I’ve been there, too.) He’ll usually be ready at 7 or 8. Sometimes they just need a little time to process what’s going to happen next.

    1. Linda–this is all SO good!! Thank you so much for sharing. You have some great experience to share from. (And I love to hear your daughters have grown up well!) I’m gonna use the “front-loading” term now, haha, I love it!! Thanks for taking the time to share! aloha-

  60. Wow. You really nailed down what we are going through with my now 11 yr old. I have a very laid back approach. (mostly cause I was raised is a very strict house hold and rebellion was my teen fire back. Which I didn’t outgrow until I had a kid😂) My son is going through a change currently from kid to awkward tween. (Wants to be a teen but still like to “play” with toys etc) I am comically blunt and my son thinks it’s hilarious (as most people do, EXCEPT the mom club at the elementary school 🙊) . He is trying in the last year to make puns like I do, however he hasn’t gotten the just as of yet. His “jokes” end up being straight talking back and goes to far with adults then ends up in trouble and doesn’t understand why if it was a joke.Now 8 take full responsibility for it, and just continue to teach him what’s ok and not, as well as time and place while remembering he just trying to figure out how to fit in with adults.
    But recently I broke my back twice and am now in a wheelchair. He resents having to do “extra” around the house such as chores. So I sent him on a summer vacation to my parents farm where he worked and made a lot of summer cash. He learned quick how laid back I had been. When he returned home at the end of summer I had a whole new kid. Happy to help if asked (most of the time) . He came back greatful, humbled, and family oriented. He even told me he knows I broke my back working hard so he could have more wants in life. My last big gift before breaking was finally getting to take him to Disneyland, he cried highed me walking in the gate and said , you did it mom!!!
    So if ever you need another remedy for attitude, send them to work hard on a farm for 3 months.

  61. This is truly the best article I have read and think it could help me with my struggles with my daughter I actually just wrote it all down an and going to start this tomorrow
    Thank you

    1. oh that makes me so happy! Please do keep me posted! All the best and stay strong momma!! 🙂

  62. Karen Henry says:

    My husband is my 7 year old daughters step dad. I try these techniques but I’m unsuccessful and I believe it’s because he over reacts with yelling, calling her names, saying she is the worst child etc.. then wanting to spank as sever as he can (but I don’t allow that, and it causes him to shift his anger toward me) he thinks I’m not disapploning rough/hard enough and I feel it just takes time, patience and consultancy but he is fed up and won’t do things the way they are needed.

    1. I would begin with counseling for you and your husband. You really need to be on the same page if you are raising your daughter together. I’m so sorry, I hear your frustration (and for good reason.) Seek counsel and meanwhile keep loving your daughter and disciplining her the best you can in a healthy environment.

      1. Kristan Davies says:

        Get out! Never, ever let your child or yourself be abused. Our children don’t pick their circumstances, but we do get to pick ours. Protect your child.

    2. With children like ours, his form of disciplining can make things worse! Please seek counseling and if he refuses, get rid of him because it will just push your daughter further and further away. My niece was just in the same situation and she started running away from home by the age of 10 to get away from the step dad. I promise you, a child running away from home is devastating and scary! You can’t get your “child” back after that. I wish you the best of luck!

    3. I am so concerned for you and your daughter. Your husband sounds abusive toward you both, and will no doubt damage your daughter’s emotional health (and perhaps physical health.) Be brave. God entrusted you with your daughter. She is your primary responsibility. Protect her (and yourself) from this man and his cruel temper, no matter how much you love him.

  63. When it is an appropriate time to discuss the topic of arguing, I ask to play a game of saying 10 scenario and they say if its acceptable to respond such as…with a teacher in class, with a boss, with a fire,d over pizza, with a police officer giving a ticket, with someone in a volatile situation…etc. Teach when it is acceptable to talk back. What the difference is in arguing, talking back, using black/white thinking to prove a point and debating. How to agree to disagree respectfully by not insulting, being derogatory, acknowledging and how to take turns on whose idea gets to WIN. I consider the age of the child in teaching these communication skills and increase the intricacy of the lesson the older they get. Teach if the discussion gets heated to calm down before resuming and many put a time limit on the discussion so it is not avoided yet dealt with succintly. Be a good role model.

  64. Geez, I don’t know. My daughter is a steamroller. She does it a lot to her teachers. These days, she is a high school student. Her excuses are killing her grades. She still blames her teachers including me for her irresponsible behavior. Anyway, she argues about everything. It feels I have a lawyer in my house. Don’t get me wrong, I gave her opportunities to correct bad choices. I gave my very best, but she still is making a lot of excuses.

    Last summer, she was in a complete lockdown. Now, we are back at it again because she failed three classes. She still argues about why she failed them. Well, I’m not buying it.

    I will be rigid this time.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Mavel. So sorry for all you’ve been through. Your situation is pretty serious so I would recommend getting some counsel. IF you haven’t already, I would seek out a therapist or counselor to help you find the best way to reach your daughter’s heart. She has free will and you cannot control everything, but I respect all of your efforts. Hang in there and don’t give up. Blessings.

    2. Master Ryan says:

      Sorry Mavel for that you’ve been through. Maybe, you should get a strong counsellor. Or take away her phone. My mom does that and it works!

  65. Just googled, “8 year old always defensive,” and this article came up. Not only is she argumentative, like you described, but defensive…as if everything I ever say to her, or ask her to do, she feels like she’s always in trouble for and needs to argue and be defensive about it. She’s not in trouble very often, so I’m concerned about what would make her feel this way. And her tone with me is disrespectful too, when it could be the simplest thing I’m saying to her. She always seem to have a story too, whether it be from at school or somewhere else, that someone was getting her in trouble for something, “she didn’t do,” or that so and so or somebody else did (yet no reports from her teacher of her getting in trouble 🤔). So why is she feeling like she must always defensively argue every little thing?? What can I do to help her? She lives in 2 homes, as we are divorced, and I know we do things differently in each of our homes, but could this be contributing this greatly to this behavior?

    1. You described our 10 year old daughter perfectly! We adopted her 2.5 years ago and I think alot of her issues are trauma from her previous home. Divorce can be a sort of trauma for kids too so it’s possible it has contributed.

  66. Thank you for this. My husband and I have been dealing with an almost unruly 5.5 year old. He is very defiant and strong-willed. He will rarely get ready for school or bedtime without assistance (always “needs” his father). When we tell him no, he will just pace around and not listen until we get up and get him ready. He consistently talks-back and has been very disobedient and disrespectful. Time-outs are ineffective and we have had several chats and no results. I feel it has become worse since he started kindergarten. I thought maybe he is just always exhausted or needs more time with us, but that still doesn’t excuse this behavior.

    Any advice? What consequences could we use for a child that doesn’t use tablets/phone/video games, other than no tv?

    1. Oh I’m so sorry! You are definitely not alone and I don’t want you to lose hope. Honestly, our youngest son (7) has been more like you described than any of the others (keeping me humble!) I know it’s controversial, but my husband and I use spankings (done right, we do not beat our kids! :)) So the sight of the wooden spoon keeps my son in check a bit, though it does not totally solve the problem. I think consistency is key, and if he is asking for help doing things you know he can do on his own, you need to be firm and stand your ground. Natural consequences (being late and suffering whatever consequences that gives him) help. Also: Incentives (rewards for a day of obedience, etc) can really help. Otherwise I think it is just perseverance. If we don’t lose our cool when they are difficult, it communicates a lot! (I keep telling my son “I will win this battle!” He may have a strong will and his own personality, but he can not think he is in charge over me!! 😉 ) Bless you and keep up the good work!

      1. Thanks. We are not against spankings, but it is still not fixing the root of this problem. It’s a temporary fix for him! Not losing my cool is also a struggle. He knows exactly how to push my buttons!

        I have tried rewards, but sometimes, I feel like I’m bribing him to behave properly. I dont think we are going about it the right way. 🙁

        1. Kristan Davies says:

          I always tell my daughter that I will never give her the message that she is incapable by “helping” her do the things she is capable of doing. Service is 1 thing, parenting another, and the THIRD is I will NOT be her servant. There are Mommy things and Maid things. I’m her mom, but I am not her maid

      2. I just wanted to add an update since I got a notification about this post. Husband and I had a chat about him always “helping” our son get ready for school every morning. Our son gets ready for school by himself and has become very independent overall. He listens MOST of the time and when he doesn’t, he gets the corner. I am happy to say the time-outs and spankings are pretty rare these days! I have a very pleasant, respectful, bright young boy! Thanks for the feedback.

  67. Lisa Whitehead says:

    Gosh, so many if you really struggling. I feel for you.
    Today’s kids have such a sense of entitlement!
    Media, school, friends – all telling them the world owes them.
    Our boys are 12 & 13 and we get some of these problems too.
    Remind yourself, and them, of good things they do do.
    My kids, I never have to help them get up and ready for school – bonus.
    But, one spends a lot of time having angry sessions at us and tantrums – the other can not grasp much about compassion and also very argumentative.
    Each time they do we try to remember to give them a warning
    (sometimes we’re so frustrated it doesn’t happen and going straight to punishment doesn’t work as well)
    E.g. if you are going to keep talking to me so rudely, I will take your phone or ps for a day/week,etc.
    Ours do not have any devices in their room, and are only allowed on them before tea, in the lounge.
    I think if we try and limit their time blocking us out of their lives with screens, the better life is.
    Kids are hard work, relationships are. Too many parents not doing it hard are not helping their kids learn to be responsible and respectful people.

  68. My son is 14 and every time i ask him to do something he says in a minute and has an excuse I’m so frustrated with it and especially homework, then he gets mad because he didn’t do it and i tell him i told you to and then he gets mad and says i know I’m sorry , it frustrates me so much he knows he is wrong
    Any suggestions from anyone

    1. I suggest laying out some simple consequences. Something that makes it not worth it to delay or disobey. Be firm and be consistent. It’s really going to be the best way to get him to change. Hang in there!! You can do it. 🙂 Aloha-

    2. Lisa Whitehead says:

      I have the same with my older boy. I always try and give him ‘warning time’.
      I would not like to have to stop what I am doing right at the moment someone wants me too – in fact, I wouldn’t.
      So, I tell him in ten minutes, you will need to come off that game to – do chores, have tea etc.
      When I remember to do this we do get along much better.

  69. My daughter is 15, and argues about every little thing I tell her. She has an excuse for not doing any of her homework, chores and even eating what i cook. Drives me insane. I am to the point where i tell her and if she argues, I just walk away and then come back and ask again. Usually doesn’t help at all. She doesn’t do anything I ask her and blames her faults on others.

  70. My daughter is now 30 and continues to argue and debate anything I might say.I shared a how to I learned to March in the military ,she right away explained I hear you dad but every individual is different and expressed themselves differently and should be accepted for thier differences in doing things.At this I felt a tightness in my chest and felt like screaming .Since this is how it’s been since she was a teenager . I feel she has no respect for me or my life experience. I am at my wit’s end. Please help.

    1. Hi Larry I’m no expert on this subject but my mother kept trying to give me their opinion/advice through my teens into adulthood but she continued to do so as if I was still a child. I have had the conversation where I’ve said that if I need help and some advice I’ll ask for it. Otherwise I’ll figure it out myself. Now I don’t know how your interaction with your daughter goes but it may be worth reflecting on how these conflicts come about.

      If you’re just generally chatting then yes you are entitled to your opinion gained from your life experience and that’s ok, that’s your perspective. And yes others but have different views and that’s ok too. One size doesn’t fit all. Does your daughter feel that your saying it must be this way. Perhaps qualifying your statements with ‘in my experience’ xyz. A healthy debate can emerge if she puts forward a different viewpoint which may open your eyes to a new way. But not a problem if you agree to disagree. You don’t need to be on the same page just respect where each other is coming from.

      If she’s asking for advice then she should respect your advice rather than argue back. Otherwise don’t bother asking if you don’t want to listen/hear.

      If you’re volunteering your opinion/advice unsolicited then be ready for done push back as this might come across as control or interfering. She is an adult now and won’t like bring told what to do or think as if she were still a child.

      Not sure if any of this helps. Let me know how you get on.

      1. Those are all good thoughts, thank you for contributing! 🙂

  71. It’s to the point that my seven year old daughter will find something to argue about and won’t let up and it’s impossible to spend time as a family. My 15 year old goes to her room. I’ll clean and my husband will do something and the 7 year old will play. We can’t be together and I am very sad about this.

  72. Alicia Swaringen says:

    Thank you for this article! My 11 sounds identical, down to the arguing if the sky is blue he will say it is green or purple! I adopted him when he was 4 and he has been this way his whole life. I have tried so many, many, many things and found myself ready to pull my hair out, as others have mentioned in their comments. This year, he has added a tone of disgust and patronizing to me and I reached a boiling point. I talked it over with a friend and she said she had taken her son’s iphone for a month (he is 13) and that changed everything. So I told my son, this is it. You have a very bad habit of arguing with me and talking to me disrespectfully and this is the end. If you continue to do this, I will take your privileges one by one until you have none left and you will have to earn them all back. First to go was his allowance. Then, I decided I would not buy him any new school clothes, he will just have to wear the ones he has (about 2 weeks worth without doing laundry), no new book bag (the old one had a tear in it), no new lunch box after he lost it at school the first week. And, he kept arguing and being disrespectful! I took his laptop. No change, then his iphone ( a used one a friend gave him that doesn’t have a subscription), then his ipod. Still no change!! Then… I told him I wouldn’t take him to soccer practice. After that, he finally started changing. He is in a middle ground stage, where he still might say the disrespecftul thing or start to argue, then he stops himself, apologizes. Whew! This has been two weeks now where he has really really slowed down his arguing and disrespectfulness. I told him he wouldn’t earn back his privileges all at once, but every few days, as we see how it will go. He is getting better a little every day. So far, he has earned back soccer practice, his computer, his iphone (which he lost for a day again), and today I will give him his ipod. He knows I am totally serious so I hope this is the change that I have been trying to bring about for years. It drove me crazy giving him so much… so much love, so many opportunities, so many belongings, and then to be disrespectful and unkind to me. Especially when I would ask him to help, like hold the door or bring in groceries. UNBELIEVABLE! Now, when I ask him to help he is supposed to say “yes mom!” with a positive attitude and that has been changing miraculously. But I feel better knowing so many people have had to deal with it and it is NOT EASY training a very strong willed child like this. Good luck to you and everyone!

    1. Alicia, I can totally identify with you. We have a 9 year old we adopted 2 years. He is such incredibly hard work. He spends all his time complaining about everything…….and I mean everything. Unless we’ve done at least 3 things in a day that I would have been lucky to have had in a lifetime when I was a kid he says ‘is that it? That’s rubbish’. His attitude is of complete self-righteousness. He cannot accept he is EVER wrong. When we ask, plead, talk to him, set consequences for his behaviour he has a full blown tantrum. Both myself and my husband are at the point where we are having to push ourselves to even ask him a question like ‘how was your day?’ It’s ripping our family apart and none of our relatives or friends has stepped up to help out. Where did it all go wrong? He was a problem from day one and it was made worse because his behaviour made it difficult to really like him. His teacher told us at parents day the other day that he was a little immature for his age. We spoke to him about it and his response was to blame him because he is a ‘rubbish teacher’. The best bit is that people keep telling me it’s going to get worse when he is a teenager!! One day at a time we’ll get through this, but the joy has been royally sucked out of everything we do. He even gets annoyed if we find something his little brother does funny. ‘How is that even funny etc etc’. Painful!!

  73. Ive just dropped my son at school and deel exhausted. Hes 9 almost 10 and im finding that almost everything i say or ask he has an answer for. Its not always an argumentative way but he just constantly thinks hes right and he knows best. Today i took the PlayStation away and said no baseball this afternoon but he still would have a comment to say. I get angry and frustrated as it just doesnt sink in. Then im left feeling bad and worried how this will effect him. I just dont know what to do one hand its not lile hes real naughty but just the lack of respect for what his father and i say just blows me away.

    1. Jennifer Wall says:

      Get out of my head! No seriously. LOL Exact same story today. Dropped off my 8 year old little girl at school who was tardy because she argued about everything I told her to do. We too, take away things that she loves and like you mentioned, she still has something to say even after the punishment is doled out! I am at my wit’s end. I came home and cried to my husband about how my daughter hates me and doesn’t listen and doesn’t respect me at all. She listens to other people and she is a great student, she loves church and she is a great friend. Her and I however clash like the Titans. There is such discord between her and I that it makes me feel like a failure and it breaks my heart. My other five year old daughter however is the complete opposite and we get along beautifully and seamlessly. This also is the cause of frustration for my 8 year old because she sees the pleasant relationship her sister and I share as a result of her obedient and willingness to be respectful. But it’s like my eight year old still doesn’t get it!

    2. That’s exactly my experience also Glenda with one of my 13 yr old twin boys. It is sure frustrating. I have been noticing that lately he is becoming even more disrespectful & spiteful to me than usual & is getting more destructive to our house & belongings (i.e. slamming doors, throwing things, kicking stuff). After an argument, I have to follow him to make sure he doesn’t destroy our house or car, etc., which doesn’t allow for cooling down time before another one begins. His therapist told me that my son is very passive aggressive. My son blames me because he is having to argue with me & also because he is being disciplined for something he says is my fault to begin with. I am also bipolar with extreme anxiety which adds to the challenge of getting effective results when dealing with my sons behavior & having a peaceful home for me & my boys. Yep, totally blows me away also.

    3. (I already emailed this to you personally, but so that it is here as well– 🙂

      Glenda–I am sorry for what you are going through. Please don’t forget to balance all that you are working on with your son with some fun and happy times. You (both) need those. I will pray for you. Keep in mind at that age kids are going through a lot, and changing a lot. Have patience and let your son know you are there for him and not against him. You can make a big difference by staying positive, firm and loving.
      Please keep me posted.

  74. Mary Austin says:

    My daughter is 13,aware she’s adopted n argues about everything.We have not spoken in a week n it’s killing me.What do i do??plz help!!!

    1. Keep talking to her and loving her. She needs your love. You are the adult and must be mature and objective. Find connecting points and give her time. 13 year olds have a lot going on. Don’t compromise your values or allow her to treat you poorly, but you certainly shouldn’t quit talking to her. Get help through a counselor if you need. Don’t give up.

      1. Mary Austin says:

        We r going to a councelor. SHE said to let her fend on her own for this week til we go for next visit fri .I’m doing that n talking when necessary It’s killing me inside to do this.I love her so much but I’ll hang in there.Thank you for ur advise.

  75. I have a 10yr old granddaughter and she is argumentative mostly with me when her and her older brother visit for the day, we have them once a week in the last three weeks of the school holidays. These last two occasions of having her has been an absolute nightmare and I’ve been reduced to tears (not in front of her), so I identify with all other who have posted here. She is totally disrespectful towards me and my husband but it doesn’t seem to upset him like it does me. I’m at my wits end. I cannot and will not keep on blaming her attitude on the divorce of her parents four years ago or that her father has just sold his house in the same town as our daughter. Our granddaughter has to learn/be taught to respect me and my husband. My daughter and her ex are on very good terms and he travels down from the north of UK (where he works) every weekend to see his children and he and us are on good terms too. I’m so glad I found this article.

  76. Love the article. We have one such 17 year old who has a bad case of the 18-itis. He is constantly arguing, for no reason than he wants to prove us wrong. We’ve called him on it, Every. Single. Time–then he accuses US of arguing with him.

    I really do agree with your assessment of if they cannot learn to listen to their earthly parents, how will be able to listen to their heavenly father? I have said this for years (because the issue has been going on for years). I worry and pray constantly about the type of jobs they will have, and their future spouses.

    Anyway, thank you for the article.

  77. My 6.5yr old was born a fighter and hasn’t stopped. It’s a really challenge to parent but I agree with you that when he grows up he’ll either be a bad-ass lawyer or the BEST hostage negotiator!

    Today he shared with me that he feels grown-ups are always bossing him around. It’s the first time he’s actually said that. I sat him down and explained the differences between someone teaching him something -v- someone being bossy. I explained that to know something is to learn it. I used specific examples and maybe I saw the light go on.

    In our case, my son is a “know-it-all” and as someone else commented he really loves correcting others and putting them in line all the time while he feels he doesn’t have to follow the same rules.

    I’m feeling his perspective is eschewed and I want to fix that before it gets out of hand.

    Thanks for the blog!!

  78. How do you deal with a toddler (4 years old) doing things like that?! I’m at the ready to pull my hair out stage.

    1. I’m dealing with this with my 5 year old. I can relate to how you feel! Reading these comments lets me know that we are not alone. Hang in there and good luck!

  79. OMG Yes… I joke, I can’t even suggest she enjoy a cup of milk and it’s not an argument in some way. I’m working on staying calm, and simply applying consequence for the arguing.

    Great article. Thank you!

    1. yes, always best to keep a sense of humor. 🙂 Thanks for commenting…you’ve got this! aloha-

  80. JSeverance says:

    Great article! My oldest (13) can be an arguer, and a “corrector”. He gets cought up in telling others when they have errored in some detail, like grammar, or rules, or facts. I say this because I think the two traits are related. Some ways we try to help him with these traits are often little phrases to help him remember the “bigger” conversations we’ve had to help him refine these characteristics: We might say, 1) ” Hey bud, remember, don’t correct about things that don’t matter.” 2) “Once you have done what I’ve asked, you can continue what you were doing.” 3) “First, obey, then, you play.” 4) “Be easy going, and things will go easier.” 5) “Are you arguing because you want to be right, or because you want the truth?”

    I cant always sit him and and lecture him, nor do i want to! So I sum up previous conversations with the main point. It’s a good bite sized reminder for him, and helps redirect where he’s headed to a better choice.
    These things take us years of working on, and when I fail or he fails, I pray for Gods help with this precious child he saw fit to give us to raise ♡

    1. Love this. Thank you for sharing! Those are some great ideas and I’ll steal a few for my own arguers. 🙂
      Much aloha–

    2. Thank you for sharing! I’m gonna remember to try those wonderful ideas! I pray for effective results. WooHoo! 🙂

  81. Thanks Monica, great read! This is spot on for our 10 year old son. He is very argumentative and then will turn things around and ask questions like ‘do you just try think up ways to tell me off?’ He said this tonight after we had repeatedly said it was time for bed. He is a very bright little boy with a great sense of humour but never knows where the line in the sand is. I feel like such a bad parent because I always seem to be arguing with him.

  82. Thanks Monica! This was great and hits right at home with my 10 year old daughter. She has will power beyond control and we struggle a lot. She is the youngest of 4 and the only girl, so this also brings it’s own issues. Each of your points I’m going to try, I think it will help both of us and let her know that I hear her and understand her.

  83. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this…. I see myself using these tips with my eldest, he’s 11! I can pocket these in my memory as well because I also have a 9 yo and 4 yo – All boys. My two cents….. I use something I’ve read from Love and Logic. When he’s asked a question and I’ve answered (not to his liking) he’ll try to challenge me to change my answer. I simply respond with ‘asked and answered.’ Other attempts to argue are usually held off with ‘I love you too much to argue.’ Sometimes a simple I love you is all I can get out, and that’s okay too. It’s hard when our littles are trying to find their voice for their wants and opinions. Respect is the bigger issue and what we’re all aiming for. In our home boys will boys isn’t implied because boys will be men, and we do our best to raise them as Godly, respectful and kind.

    1. beautifully said, Stephanie!! Yes and yes all the way on your comment! 🙂 Also it’s been a while since I read love and logic, but I’m so glad for the reminder to use the “asked and answered” phrase. I will use that one today. Much love and keep up the great work!

  84. Kristie Schovajsa says:

    Aahhh!! This is my middle son!! He is exactly as you describe your son- every single thing you just wrote, he does it! Drives me nuts! These are such great options!! Thank you, as always you have good insight!

    A couple of things I use:
    ~When I’ve answered a question/ request and he starts to argue, I say “I’ve given you an answer”. That usually squashes it. He may roll his eyes as he walks away but he stops.
    ~ I’m working to teach them to listen to HEAR and not listen to ANSWER. I think when you listen to answer you tend to only hear half of what is being said. I have 3 boys (18 yrs, 10 yrs & 6 yrs) and this is a good lesson for all of them. It’s good for myself, as well. I can be guilty of it too!

    1. Thank you Kristie! (and yes, I’m also guilty on this one, but always more fun to focus on the kids, right? :)) Great ideas you use, I love the idea of pointing out the difference in listening to ANSWER and listening to HEAR. Excellent! Aloha to you– keep up the great work!

  85. My son just turned 8 and he doesn’t ever do anything that he is told the first time. I repeat myself so many times to get anything done. Bed time turns into an ugly time because I need to say it so many times that its bed time. He argues every time and says No a lot. I feel so helpless and angry with myself for not being able to handle the situation better. I fear this is going to affect my relationship with him in years to come. I don’t want to be yelling at him always.

    1. Be firm. Be loving. Be consistent. Consequence must outweighs his satisfaction in the argument. Stop him quick and keep doing that until he realizes it won’t work any more. Then have some fun with him as you build your relationship in healthy ways too! Hang in there, don’t get discouraged. Good parenting is not for the faint of heart. 😉 aloha

  86. I’m at my wits end with my 5 year old (nearly 6). She is incredibly argumentative and reverts to toddler-like tantrums when i put my foot down, crying on the floor and stomping her feet. All the while I’m trying to get her to get dressed, fed, and ready for school. I gave up this morning after she screamed at me saying that i made her have a tantrum. I feel like I’m no better because after a certain point I lose it as well and end up yelling at her, after which she just yells back. I feel like I’m losing control of my child and don’t know how to get her back. I’m 7 months pregnant as well so that doesnt help any…
    I never search blogs like this unless I’m really at a loss. I’m going to try some of your tips, thank you for posting!

    1. Priya–Oh man, that is so hard. Yes, I think these tools will help. mostly importantly be firm and consistent. If she thinks she can get by with things once, she’ll keep trying til it works again. Make the consequence of her poor behavior more memorable than the small satisfaction of a tantrum. Hang in there– you’ve got this!! (and maybe as you look around at some of my other posts you’ll find more support as well.) Much aloha–

  87. Tiffani Carter says:

    This right here is my husband and our 7 year old have the samd personality and this describes them both to a t-but as you can imagine that this is not a good combination more times than not! For example he’ll be told to put his shoes on he’ll say why I’m not getting out of the car which then cause them both to argue about it for 10 extra minutes to get out the door when it should of only taken 2 minutes. Or when he’s asked to pick up it’s always let me see how this works first…then what would take 5 mins is 25 minutes because he’s arguing with his dad-it’s stressing me out! And have tired a few of these things with no results which i think it’s because his dad is just like this so they will argue over anything and everything! any advice?

    1. Oh man…double trouble in your house! 🙂 I’m sorry. I think your husband needs to be the one to initiate change. I’d have a good chat with him over how this wearies you. Ask him if he will take action on setting up a new way to deal with conflict/disagreement. He should be in charge, but carrying on in an argument with a 7 yr. old is useless. Hang in there– hope it gets better. 😉

    2. Kristie Shockley says:

      Same in my house. My husband is an arguer, nothing is ever his fault and he is sometimes disrespectful. He argues with our 15 year old daughter. Last night she had a melt down and instead of just walking away and letting her have it he antagonized her. Which caused it to last even longer. She had to go to bed without finishing her homework. I have talked to him to no avail. I really think that she would be more likely to change her ways.

  88. Oh yes, this is my child. He’ll be 5 this month. Here’s what brought me to this discussion – I needed some napkins and he said “I’ll get them.” He comes back with a roll of paper towels. I tell him, “thank you, but those are paper towels.” He says his favorite line that he always uses whenever someone is trying to teach him anything – “no it isn’t.” I say, “yes they are paper towels” “no it isn’t”. I say “go into time out, nose in the corner.” I was so mad because this is constant. He’s not teachable, how can I teach him anything when the first thing out of his brain is “no it isn’t”? My prayer continually is for the LORD to give him a teachable, respectful heart for without those, none of us can be effective servants for JESUS.

    1. Lynn, yes, it can be so challenging with some personality types. Hang in there, be consistent, and remember to add plenty of JOY to your days so that when you do get serious he does not feel that all you do is correct him. HE needs to receive the corrections in light of a healthy, connected relationship, then he is much more likely to want to please you. Otherwise, just keep praying and I have a feeling you’ll see results eventually. Parenting (well) is not for the faint of heart! 🙂

  89. Thanks for the article. I feel like I try all of these steps, and they just aren’t working. I’m a stay at home mom so I pretty much feel raising my kids is my one job, and I failed.

    1. Oh I’m so sorry for how you feel. We all feel this way at times. Don’t give up. All of your work will pay off! Keep practicing and don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Also–Don’t hesitate to get help or find support if you need it. You are not meant to do this alone. XO

  90. lissa boillot says:

    Loved this article. I am 7 years into the arguments (he is 10 now). I am exhausted, depressed and angry most of the time. My husband understands parts of it, but he has his job to go to to escape the daily arguments. He also has a different way with our son, so he appears to be mostly not as impacted as I am. I will put on my big girl pants and use your guidance (heck, I’ve tried everything), but really, I just want to escape this parenthood stuff. I really hate all the arguing and the bad juju it leaves in my heart and home.

    1. Oh so sorry Lissa–It sounds like this issue is a big one for you. I would always encourage you to consider outside help if you feel like this is a pervasive issue…and affecting you constantly. A family counselor might be super helpful!? ALSO: be sure to keep balanced with plenty of joy and fun in the home. Kids are more likely to want to please you if there is an environment of joy and peace and goodness in your home. Focus on the positive and the other stuff oftentimes falls into place as well. 🙂

  91. Meagan Gill says:

    This article was a true gift and I loved the “appeal” idea. Its hard to find that balance of also respecting their opinion and feelings on bigger matters. All we have done was lay the ground work of our expectations with the number 1 rule respect and we havent argued in 2 days! Im prepared for her to fall back into old habits and am excited to use the rest of the tips provided. I found it helpful to voice with her that we are expecting this from ber because we love her and not from an authorotative prospective of you will do this because we tell you to. Explaining it will not only make her happy now but also in the future!

    1. Oh I’m so glad Meagan! Thank you for telling me. I hope it helps, and though our kids are wired how they’re wired, I do think having some tools to pull out is a great help. Keep me posted, and enjoy the process! Aloha-

  92. Jackie porter says:

    While I agree with the tips and almost everything in your article, why does everything I read wrapped up in religion and god? Yes, I’m secular

    1. Thank you Jackie. I’m not sure, but you must be reading things by people who believe in God. 🙂 I know that all of the things I share are affected by my faith. I am glad you find the tips and advice useful, regardless. 🙂

  93. Preach! I need those so bad right now with my all-knowing, all-powerful, all-furture casting 12 year old son. I am struggling SO BAD to deal with this issue with him. I dont want it to ruin our relationship. Eveything ANYONE says to him is an argument.

    Stepdad: Theres an old saying that goes…-
    12year old injerecting: no theres not
    me; …….

    I am wondering if monetary punishment is going to be a good call for him. I wil lstart this tonight…

    1. PLEASE keep me updated!! 🙂 XO (and that is a hilarious stepdad conversation… sorry, but I laughed. ;))

  94. Hi..I lost my daughter 5/31/15 my husband and I adopted her youngest. He turned 9 in sept we have had him since he was 7. He has been through a lot in his short life..but I do not want him to use it to get away with things! He argues CONSTANTLY..he will correct us constantly.

  95. This is a very good read but I am wondering if it will work for me. My son who will be 8 tomorrow has been so argumentative and rude and nasty especially to me at home this is has become very frustrating for me. He has even tried coming at me and I will NOT tolerate that at all. He is an excellent student with great grades and it is very good in school but when he comes home he switches to be a different child. he is rude everything is no, he doesn’t listen unless something is going to be benefit him in his favor. I am at my wits end b/c i have a 3 year old son also and I don’t want him thinking this behavior is ok. Every morning it is the same routine, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, get dressed, feed your guinea pigs ,and get bag together and EVERY day it is a constant struggle. I don’t know what to do here. .I need help,,,,

    1. Oh Leah–I am so sorry. You’ve got a big challenge on your hands. I do think you should seek some counsel in person. I wish I could chat more with you about things, but from a distance this is difficult. A good counselor may help you get to the root of things. It sounds like your son needs serious discipline, and most of all a heart-change. God can change his heart and give him the desire to honor his parents, but he needs to see his own need for help too. I will pray that you find direction with this. I am glad you take it serious as it is important to get sorted out now rather than later. Bless you and do not give up!! xo

  96. Whitney Ann Wallace says:

    This has been very helpful! I have a 7 year ild head strobg girl. I dont want her to lose that confidence but i do want her to learn reapect. It is however comforting to remind myself that when she is a grown woman she wont allowbherself to be taken advantage of or walked on. I cant wait to try some of these tactics out.

  97. Oh my gosh thank you for posting this. I just Googled “Are all 10 year old boys so argumentative and lazy?” and here you were. I think besides having a few guidelines from another frustrated mom, it just helps knowing that this is normal for some kids. I’m sure this was written a million years ago but I’m still happy it’s here! Thank you!

    1. Katie–Haha, I love that comment! Nope, you’re not alone, and that same boy I wrote about just turned 13 today! He’s an incredible kid with so many great qualities, and yes, he’s still a work on progress (as am I. :)) Keep up the great work and I hope you’ll stick around my blog! I can tell you’re a lot of fun. Aloha-

  98. Tammy Eva says:

    I am a new foster mom of a 9 year old girl. I don’t have any children of my own so I appreciate all of the information and recommendations.
    Along with the argumentative behavior, I am also getting the “I know” from her. It’s almost like she is replacing “okay” with “I know” and I’m wondering why this is and how to correct it. The example is: “please go and wash your hands for dinner”……”I know”…..or, she proposes a question like “why does the dog bark when we come home?”….I reply with my answer and her next comment is “oh, okay I knew that.” Perhaps it is maintaining a sense of control, but my goodness…..this is very frustrating.
    Any feedback or recommendations are appreciated.

    Tammy

    1. Tammy, Oh wow…I can feel your frustration–that’s a tough one! Well first of all, bless you for fostering a 9 year old, that is no easy task. And because of the nature of that relationship, of course many things probably have to be let go of…Pick your battles kind of thing. I do agree with you that there is a sense of control in her replies, and maybe for now that is helping her through. However, in time I would work with her on replacing “I know” with a very simple, “OK” or “Yes ma’am” or whatever you prefer she says. You can do this without a big battle I would imagine and if you work on it consistently and with a kind heart, she may not give you as much push-back as you would think. I often work with my youngest son on saying “OK Mom” instead of arguing…I will say “Please brush your teeth now” and then I quickly follow it with “Ok Mommy” just to model what i am expecting him to say. Hang in there and keep up the amazing work!! XO

  99. Thank you. My boys are great at argueing. We are training them to say “Yes mom” or “Yes Dad” and if they say anything else we will often tell them to try again or say “No, not the answer..” Appeals can be made afterwards.

  100. Thank you so much for this. I woke up so down today because I have lost control of this arguing. I find myself avoiding my child. So I read this. I have dusted myself off and will go in to put a stop to this. I have struggled with the balance of respect of parents and allowing them to be strong. This helps so much. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Wendy! I wish you all the best as you go in strong. 🙂 But also keep in mind that a kid who is wired like this will likely always challenge you in this area. So pace yourself and be realistic. And also: Keep a sense of humor! 😉 Much aloha and feel free to update me!

  101. My 6 year old son does as you say. “I just have to…” “first i want to….”. He also argues before i have really said much. I began to doubt myself as a father as we are so close but recently i feel i am always telling him off and i feel like i am losing that link with him. I have banned his tablet, playstation and now the tv. Next i told him he will miss football training. I just hope he will learn now as i love watching him play football. I will try your tips. Thank you.

    1. Oh you’re not alone Darren! And I do think being consistent is a big key. I just encourage you to keep balancing the discipline with happy “connecting moments.” Sometimes we get so serious about working on areas we want to improve in our kids that we forget the importance of building that bond. Carve out time for that and the other stuff will not be so hard for your son to take. 🙂 Keep me posted and thank you for commenting! aloha-

  102. Breaking point says:

    This post is ver old but, I thought I’d try…I’m at the end of my rope. My daughter likes to do that and then to top it off shell get and attitude and be blatantly disrespectful…most of the time she’s well behaved but these moments are agony and what makes it worse is my husband let’s her do it. I’ve talked to him till I’m blue in the face he continues to set rules that he doesn’t follow, get mad at me if I don’t tolerate the behavior and not do a damn thing when she’s being disrespectful to me and now my son is starting it. (They are 8&5) I do not want to continue this problem to have it escalate as teens and I’m having trouble with bitterness against my husband for not standing up for me, for letting her act that way and then “correcting” me when I put my foot down (often in front of them!) Help!?

    1. Dearest Breaking Point…I’m so sorry. I feel your pain through your comment. You are in a tough position. I think you’ve named it already, but the first problem is really between you and your husband. I would highly recommend talking to your husband respectfully when you are not in the heat of the moment. You should clearly share your frustration and the goals of your parenting. If he is unwilling to talk to you I would seek professional counsel. It really is gonna be hard to move forward in this area of parenting if your husband is not on the same page. If he refuses (and you cannot get counseling together,) then I think you’ll have to learn to be very strong and objective (not yelling or getting emotional) and you will need to parent consistently. I recommend the book “Boundaries in parenting.” I wish you all the best and I am sorry you are in such a tough spot. Hang in there and don’t forget to pray! 😉

  103. My teenage daughter argue so much that my one friend said “I don’t mean any harm bit your daughter has been arguing with u for ten years since I known you. As your best friend, I feel it has go stop.” I was so embarrassed. my one neighbor said “your daughter argue with u so mih she need to be an attorney” she argues with me so much has that we have had to leave places. I will walk away from her to stop the arguing and return letting her know Im tired of it and she will say “but….” and she is back to argueing. ONE thing I learned is that they have learned to argue from someone. My daughter did or like to argue or people who did when she was little. She would cover her ears if anyone argued around her. then she met this girl who has coached in arguing with adults to get her way. I know cause once I over heard her coaching my daughter on the phone to argue with me.
    Just today she messed up on her pumpkin. We offer to buy her ‘s new one and help her carve the new one and for over an hour she argued about how everything went wrong and it doesn’t make sense. No matter how we decided to fix it, she continue to argue with negatives. It went on for over an hour
    Last time she did this, cops came. Neighbors assumed cause she argued so much she was being abused. When cops realize her cocky hard headed demeanor, he checked her on it and even said “you say you don’t get spanking’s and u arguing with ur mom like that. It has to stop. I will end up slapping my child if they continue that way. You are lucky. ”
    Cops felt bad for me. He said if they happen to get called again just tell them he said it just my teenager acting up.

    She makes such a fuss she bring’s cop’s to our house.
    I can say her name a hundred times for her to stop argueing and she will say “no.no.no……
    .and no….and no.and I don’t care. Its…you don’t undestand….it’s not..”

    I’m actually ready to put her in counseling cause I just don’t want to argue anymore, with her.

    Her father even have tried and have left the room and gave up. He got so sick of it one day he yet “for God sake stop arguing with your Mother. I have had it now” he wanted to ground her for a month for all the argueing so long for months.

    Her old after school program even said she Argues with the teachers and asked where she got that behavior from. My daughter has a best friend who basically plots alot to get her way and coach my daughter in argueing.

    I have decide to take us to therapy so maybe then she will made to be quiet and not argue when I speak. She argues over my voice.

    I’m in hell, and I feel like I want to take her to church ever day and confess to a priest but she will argue with him to. I know it.

  104. Elmer Fittery says:

    fine a kid but what do you do about a 35 year old son that does the same thing. knows everything … my 35 year old has been a rock-head for 33 years.

  105. I have an 11 yr old daughter who is just like this. She’s a great girl who has a backbone. She loves baby dolls and barbies, and she is very observant. I love her but I sometimes don’t like her. I feel horrible and I don’t ever want her to feel this from me. We are homeschooling and she argues about everything. I’m so glad I read this article, and i love all the tips. All the points you made are so valid. Thanks for this article!!!!

  106. I feel so much more relaxed just scrolling down this comment section. I’m not alone.

    Thank you for all the stories and advise. There is a lot of wisdom to grab hold of! I will be trying some of the strategies from other parents on this site. Here is my story…

    Oscar is my emotionally charged, strong willed 7 yr old who wants mostly to be a teenager, which in his mind is when he will be emancipated from the tyranny of my rules. Haha! He has a strong sense of right and wrong which can both polarize his thinking so that the arguing becomes a matter of principle or help us to get him to see that arguing (more often than not, for simple argument sake) stands against his moral code.

    We call it opposite talk. And, we calmly (most of the time) ask Oscar if he is telling us the truth or if he is telling us the opposite. This can bring him around because lying is not a part of who he wants to be. This is mostly effective when he is given consequences for blatant opposite talk, mostly that he does not get what he truly wants. He gets the opposite. And, yes, being consistent in enforcing the consequences is HARD! I’ve even told Oscar, this is the part of parenting that is no fun at all!

    When his arguing is more about enforcing his will, I use another approach. I get him face to face with me and ask him to look at me and listen. Then I tell him that I’m on his side. Always. On his side. And that I know he wants to… be on time for the bus, as an example. He hates being late. I tell him that I want to help him accomplish this and I will not argue with him. If he does not do what I am asking him to do, he may be late. That is his choice. He almost always turns his actions, if not his attitude, around. As for the attitude, I have a few phrases that I repeat until he understands what I’m asking of him… “remember, happy cooperation”, “rewind and please say that politely”, “I deserve the same respect that I show you”, “our family has rules and you know what they are”.

    And, of course, this all works 100% of the time. And I never get impatient and blow my top. HAHAHA! Which is why I’m seeking advise on the internet! It’s good to have different perspectives and new strategies. So thanks again for the information and for the community of parents created here.

    Now. On to fight the good fight!

    1. Susan!! Thank you so much for commenting, and I agree — it feels better to know we’re not in it alone. 🙂 I love the “opposite talk” idea…what a great tool. Sounds to me like you’re handling things incredibly well, super good thoughts here! Keep it up. Much Aloha and hope you’ll stick around here!

  107. My son is 8 and he argue with me everyday even if i say we had a good day he will roll his eyes i started to let him play out (just out the front in the garden) he loved it and i was using that when he was argue but not it dont bother him i am going to try the house work part and see if that will help i alway call him the joker of the class

  108. Hi my name is … amy
    I am a nanny parents are home aswell
    With major experience I have handled it lol
    But recently one has begun to argue raise his voice and he’s normal super sweet

    I understand to give him the floor to speak and to do things to make the day run as smooth as possible but the tone n respect to me in getting smaller
    He is not punished in anyway for any act
    Just re directed and with crossed fingers to have him follow through but lately he’s begin to relive there is no punishment for anything and now it’s a free for all parents do not want to punish or aka deal with it
    So I been holding in my steem

    How can I go about the situation
    Parents are aware and said he’s going through a arum entire stage
    But doesn’t
    Tell the child to apologize or to respect and listen to me. Child chosen to argue then claim mom or dad said otherwise
    Then I get told to let him do it his way as long as it gets done
    I am being b little instead of him being told to follow though
    I been working w family for years and I’m comfortable to speak up but I have no solution to say

    Any ideas
    Thankx

  109. We have a saying in my house
    “You obey me first, you obey me fast, then you can ask” now that he is used to me saying the whole thing I can now say “first and fast” if he starts to argue with me. It has helped a lot, it’s like a secret code we can use when out. Of course he is only 5 but has been stubborn and argumentative since he was born.
    I will also ask him “what does the Bible says about obeying?” And he will respond “children obey your parents” then I ask if he was using a “Jesus heart” by arguing and he usually responds “no, I’m sorry mommy”

    1. LOVE all of that, Tricia! Thanks for sharing. I’m going to go teach my 6 yr. old that saying right now! 🙂 Well done. Aloha-

  110. My 14 yr old grandson, has a very strong personality. He and his mother have just recently moved in with us. They have come out of a very verbally abusive home. So now I am receiving emails from the school that he can talks back to the teachers, and is late to class. He has no respect for authority as for the past 10 years it seems he and his step dad have gone toe to toe. So my grandson, has lost respect for authority and it transfers to teachers and class mates. How do you handle this. He does not seem phased if you take anything away. What to do. He really is a kind sweet young man. I think he has lost himself. But I do not know how to reach him.

  111. I started looking for information online because my husband swears our 8 year old daughter is abnormal. She has days where she argues about literally everything. Any insight or personal experience on if this is normal or not?

    1. She probably is normal but has a very strong personality. But if you (or your husband) has legitimate concerns, it never hurts to see a professional and look into things. There are personality disorders in kids as well, and there is help if you need it.
      But many kids around that age are testing boundaries and demonstrating a strong personality by being argumentative so absolutely this could be normal. Set strong boundaries…teach respect…stay in control. 😉 Much aloha!

  112. frustratedmom says:

    Hello, I too have an extremely argumentative child. She is almost 8 and very sweet and kind but we cannot do ANYTHING without an argument from her. Our days go like this….get up for day, have breakfast (even meals are a struggle), she never wants what I give her and even when I make her something different she will not eat it (all of a sudden she is “not hungry”) without an argument. Then comes time to brush teeth and hair…oh my goodness…it is a struggle. When she gets home from school, I give her some time to unwind…when it comes time for homework she with fight tooth and nail. Dinner is ALWAYS a struggle also. It is like this for everything little thing from getting a bath, washing her hair, what pj’s she will wear, at bedtime she will get up about 15-20 times (not an exaggeration). I am at my wits end. I will tell her if you argue and ignore me then I am taking your tablet away. She will act like she is complying then hide the tablet! I have taken every single toy out of her room and her response is “I don’t want to play with that/those anyway”. She will not stay in a time out. One day I got so frustrated I said “If I told you rain was wet you would say it wasn’t!” she even argued about that! My husband and I have both set her down and explained why there are rules and why the arguing is negative but it seems to go in one ear and out the other. She is disrespectful not only to us but others that just say hello to her. I was raised to respect others so this has been a huge struggle to get her to understand. She screams and cries and I always think to myself that I want to scream and cry, lol.
    Honestly, I do worry that she will have problems as she gets older and into adulthood because of this. I do pick my battles as well. It’s to the point now that my nerves are shot and it feels like we can’t spend one minute of time without some kind of argument or complaint. Oh and cleaning her room? That is the hardest one of all I think. Thanks for advice, I’m gonna keep holding strong now that I know I’m not the only one, lol.

    1. frustratedmom says:

      Oh, btw…this is a child that when she was 3 years old popped the screen out of a window and climbed down the drapes to get outside as I was in the very next room making dinner. She even put her shoes on and threw toys out before she went. To say the very least she is strong willed, lol.

    2. Hey Frustrated one…;) I hear you, I do. And you’re not alone. I wish I could sit and chat with you about all of this, but it sounds like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and yes, you do have a strong one on your hands. The best advice I could give would be to sit down and lay out some very strong “house rules” that go right to the root. Make sure it is clear and lay out the consequences that go with breaking the rules. Then be on your game, completely consistent…firm but loving. This is hard work but it sounds like she is getting by with murder. I’m not in your home, but from the way you describe things I would also suggest sitting with a counselor or therapist and seeing what they say about things. Perhaps you are realign with something more than an argumentative child–maybe there is a personality disorder going on that you need extra help with. Never hesitate to reach out for help! All the best to you and keep me posted, ok? 🙂 XO aloha-

  113. Are you sure you don’t live at my house??? This morning’s arguments were 1. Why we needed to buy the $20 bouquet of flowers instead of the requested single flower for teacher appreciation week (he lost this one) and 2. Why he needed to wear orange Skyzone socks with his gray and blue school uniform (I chose not to fight this one.) The most effective consequence for mine has been writing, “I will obey my mother withouy arguing,” 10 times/offense. Usually, he tries to negotiate the sentence to be, “I will say ‘yes ma’am” or “I won’t argue with mom.” I.e. Anything shorter…. So we have had to start adding sentences as a consequence for arguing about the consequences for arguing. 🙀 Sometimes it’s just nice to know we arent alone!

  114. My 8 year old argues why all the time… or tries to reason his way out of my request. I told him I cared about his concerns, but he usually isn’t looking for answers, but rather just arguing. Now he has to grab a pen and write down all the answers to why (and I can come up with many) I tell him to do something. He now tries not to argue. But knows I am willing to discuss it and compare our reasons if its important to him.

  115. Jackie Hill says:

    My kids are 21, 18 and 16 (17 in June) years old. They have argued with me since birth and are still doing it. You’d think I’d get a lawyer out of at least one of them!!

  116. Ana Macias says:

    Thank you so much…this sounds just how my son is. I definitely will use this tips. I love my son I had no idea how to help him or where to begin…buy again this is a start.

  117. my 14yr old granson talks back to me draws his fist up at me but dont ever hitme ,screams at me.no matter what i take away from him he just gets it back out when im not there.gotten suspended now from school for disrespecting and talking back to his teacher?i dont have a clue what to do hes 13 and 6foot tall and will not mind me? he mumbles after i say something tells me “do it i dare you”when i tell him im taking something away or “i dont care go ahead”im at a standstill i dont have a clue …please help

  118. Always talking back talking under the breathe when i remove his favorite stuff he even says i dont care,he love sports so being stuck on the house just allows him to do my annoy stuff like slam doors and say he didnt slam it.

  119. This article is great and I can completely relate! One line I like to use is “I love you too much to argue” and it’s just over.

    1. That is absolutely perfect! Thank you Lacey! (I’ll be using it!) XO Aloha-

  120. Great article! I needed this. In fact, I just had a frustrating exchange tonight regarding consequences for being disrespectful and I found myself aggravated wondering what can I/we do differently? I am not afraid, or hesitant, to be an assertive parent, rather, I simply believe I don’t always have the answer and thus welcome external, effective methods to help my confident little go-getter understand respect, boundaries, etc. So, I’m going to give these tips a try!

  121. Your tips are helpful reminders to help with a strong-willed child! Fortunately (and sometimes unfortunately), I have 3 very strong-willed boys who challenge and keep me on my toes daily. But I may admit that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I do have one criticism, however. When I was young, I questioned and argued everything. I was thirsty for knowledge and why people (especially my parents) did and believed what they believed. When you say, “As a Christian, I am concerned that a kid who gets by constantly arguing with his parents will also have trouble submitting to God and His ways” it makes me shudder. I have no judgments on the religious. However, I was raised Catholic by very strict Catholic parents. And when I argued and questioned all things regarding Catholicism, I was regarded as having “trouble submitting to God and his ways”. But the more I argued, and the more I was told I was not submitting, the more I pushed back and eventually away. I’m not a Catholic or religious person now. If you want your child to remain religious, don’t view his curiosity and arguing as inability to submit. It’s natural for humans to be curious and ask questions.

    1. Hi EK and thank you for taking the time to comment. 🙂
      I’m guessing you just found my blog with this one article,not sure…Because in many of my other posts I have talked about how we encourage our kids to ask questions, challenge and even question their faith. How we believe that when they do find answers their faith is then only stronger.
      I do not want my kids to be “religious,” but do hope they always have a strong relationship with God.

      Part of a good relationship with God includes understanding that His ways are best, and allowing Him to lead. So as my boys grow up in their faith I simply want them to have the healthiest, best relationship with God possible.
      Asking questions and challenging faith is good. Yet as a Christian we then grow up to love and trust God to lead us. Once we’ve committed to His ways it will only make life difficult if then try to lead instead of letting Him lead. There is a difference in those two things, though I probably haven’t explained it very well. 😉 I’m mostly just saying we have a healthy conversation about these things; we are not strict, legalist, or religious people. 🙂

  122. Lisa P. Carr says:

    My 11 yr old son is correcting me, arguing at everything I say and not following instructions even when I tell him if he doesn’t there will be a consequence. I feel as if he has no respect for me and thinks I am an idiot. He does not do this to my husband and my husband does not act like this towards me or anyone else. I am crying almost daily and losing my temper with him and then crying because I lose my temper. My husband is fighting cancer right now and the stress is just making my sons behavior worse. I am at my end with this and now am over being compassionate and trying to understand how he must be/could be feeling and just plain angry. My God my last job before staying home to home school him was the position of National Director for a Medical Licensing Consultant Corporation. I really am not stupid. I am very sorry and grateful at the same time that I am not alone in this. P.S. My son has ADHD so I think he is hyper focusing on me being the evil in the world

    1. Lisa–I am sorry on so many levels. Perhaps part of your son’s issue is working through his own feelings about your husband’s cancer as well…? I know this is complex and I won’t try to offer too much specific advice, but I would suggest you find ways outside of conflict to really connect with him. Find an activity or special time that the two of you can regularly just build a relationship. He needs to feel safe sharing his feelings and working through the stress of growing up, having a dad with cancer, and so on. Besides that the best thing you can do is to offer firm boundaries and make sure to give consequences without emotion. He will learn more from suffering consequences (the loss of a privilege or favorite thing) than he will being yelled at our lectured. Hang in there and I will pray for you!
      Aloha

      1. Lisa P. Carr says:

        The arguing is extreme right now as is my reaction to it because of hubby being ill but this is just really who my little man is at the moment. Thank you so much for your prayers.

    2. Colleen B says:

      Lisa – you are not alone. I think I have your son’s twin, only my son is 14…
      I have been going through the ringer with him since he was 3 years old.
      don’t have time now to write but I will as soon as possible.
      Colleen

  123. Cemonia Harris says:

    Hi…I’m dealing with a soon to be 8 year old…which could have been her in your blog…with the exception of surfing…Olivia loves arts and crafts and Lucy her male guinea pig…let’s not start with me and hubby explaining why the male pet should have a male name…..anyhow…Lucy is his name….gheez see what I mean…thank you for the tips

    1. haha…Love it! Thank you for stopping in and commenting! Aloha-

  124. Hey, I am not a parent yet, but I was a preschool teacher for several years. From just the examples you gave I would make two suggestions. Number one, give them warning when you are going to be expecting things to be done. In my classroom, when it was almost time to clean up, I would announce that everyone had 5 minutes before cleanup, then visually count down the minutes. This let them finish whatever they were working on, and gave them a clear picture of what needed to be done. Imagine you were reading a book, and someone came up to you and told you to close it immediately and go vacuum, don’t finish the chapter, page, or even sentence. I sure wouldn’t want to do that thing right away, no matter how much I love that person! Now imagine that same someone said, “hey, after you finish that page, could you vacuum the living room?” I personally would be much more inclined to do said task!
    Number two: it sounds like your child has a pretty clear idea of what they like to do. So on a day that you want to do a special activity, instead of telling them what you will be doing, ask what they want to do. Or, again, you can inform or ask ahead of time so they can be mentally prepared for what is ahead.

  125. We have a rule in our house you say yes ma’am or yes sir and do what you’re told or asked. If you have an issue about it after you’ve done what it is you were told; then our kids are allowed to come to us and we discuss it. Always our rule is to be respectful first.

  126. My sister and I discussed this because we both have that one argumentative child and she suggested saying “I love you too much to argue” every time that child started to argue. I’ve started using it in my house and it is hard to argue when someone says that to you because there isn’t a really good come back for that.

    1. Ok that is just awesome. I’ll be trying it too! 😉 Aloha-

      1. My aunt had some of the best advice ever for an argumentative child. She would simply look down at her watch and say, “I don’t have time to argue about this right now. How does Thursday at 7 work for you?” Worked like a charm!

        1. Classic! Love that. I’ll be trying that one too! 🙂
          Aloha-

    2. I am about in tears reading this article and comments because I have a very opinionated 9 year old girl who just got her reading time taken away (and rest time on the bed instead) because of arguing. I told her that I loved her (and was going to finish with “but I can’t let you talk to me like that”) when she looked at me and said “then why don’t you act like it?!” (that was the last straw and the book was taken). I need to really stop the arguing when it starts – and give a consequence. I’m just praying God can get me through this habit.

      1. Oh Amy…it’s challenging, that is for sure! Keep being firm and loving and you’ll get through it all fine. Blessings this holidays season! XO

  127. I think it is important that when they argue with you you don’t become personally or emotionally engaged. Stay expressionless and disengaged and reinforce your request by giving a choice – this or the consequence!

  128. We have an arguer & came up with poking him. Just to make him aware of his habit. Always ends up in laughs & breaks the cycle.

  129. My 8 year old daughter is definitely strong willed, hard headed, and an arguer of all things… I think she argues for fun… At least that’s what it seems to me… I’m definitely on the verge of pulling my hair out although I am thankful for no grey hairs yet… Knock on wood… Thank you for these tips… I am definitely going to incorporate them in our lives… Not only for the sanity of me but for the safety of my child 😉

  130. I have one of these kids also…We’ve tried SO many things to get her to stop, but she still argues with everyone! Last night was a huge episode, and it led to her and her younger sister almost getting seriously injured. I hate yelling, and I try not to when this happens, but my husband has a lot less patience and yells a lot when she does things like argue and disobey.

  131. Jessica White says:

    I have a 14 year old daughter who has ALWAYS been an arguer. She is very black and white….she is either for something or against it -but NOTHING in between. I know it can be a strength for her…but it is so frustrating to parent her. AND…she has to have the last word. ugh…

  132. I loved your article and wish I had read it 10 years ago. My son also is very opinionated, actually so is the majority of the family. Growing up in a large extended family that was full of “my way is right and you are wrong” aka pastors, counselors, and teachers, you naturally pick up ways to deal with extremely argumentive children without killing who they were meant to be. One of the most successful tools that I can up with (and it worked so well that my bother and several other parents have used it as well) is called Moment Of Silence. When a child is being very argumentive and/disrespectful to others they lose the privilege to speak or communicate with anyone else for a set amount of time. Usually 15 minutes worked just fine but once a child earned a whopping hour of silence. This is surprisingly effective and gives all parties time to cool off and regroup. As long as the rules are followed and a parent doesn’t overuse it, it goes a long way in teaching a child to be respectful and does cut down on petty arguementing. The rules are:
    1. The child is given a warning if they don’t stop they will have so many minutes of Moments Of Silence.
    2. Use a timer for younger kids, older kids can time themselves. They usually glue themselves to the timer like its a lifeline. Allowing preteens and teens to time themselves gives them a sense of control and they are slightly less moody later.
    3. In the case of multiple children all offending parties get time. The amount of time depends on their age.
    4. No observing parties AKA other siblings or cousins are allowed to tease or try to get the silent child to communicate or they get a timer too.
    5. No talking, writing, electronics, sign language is allowed.
    As long as parent use this consistently and sparingly it can be very effective in teaching your child to be respectful to others when speaking.

    1. Well that is just fascinating! Thank you for sharing! Love the moment of silence and will probably be giving it a try as well!
      So glad you stopped in! Aloha-

  133. Thank you Monica for this article. I could relate as I have an 8 year old son (who will be 9 in 3 weeks time) who has got a lot to say about everything. Sometimes I feel like I am a bad Mum because you are constantly in battle with him.

    He knows most of the time that he is wrong but just to prove his point, he will have to argue. We have told him time and time that that is a sign of disrespect and that the Lord doesn’t like it. Even though his favorite verse is Ephesians 6:1-2, having that sinful nature, that easily can be forgotten.

    I really appreciate the article and that gave me a new perspective on how to deal with him (and our other 3 who sometimes are guilty of that too.)

    Blessings from the land down under,

    Lesly

  134. Thanks for the tips! Number 3 especially will be a good one for us to use. I’ve got 2 strong-willed, smart kiddos too, so I feel your struggle!
    I too have also used encouraging words when they have quickly and easily complied with a request or direction. I like the idea of them noticing how quicly they can return to their fun when they follow-through immediately. however, I haven’t thought of giving them an official chance to “appeal” when they feel “wronged” by a consequence, so I will definitely use that one. Although I have done something similar in an “unofficial” way before, but I think giving it a name and a time to be used will help them feel heard and respected – so thanks for that idea!

    p.s. As a side note, I noticed one of the ads on your side bar is for “sweet chinese women ready to date you.” It’s right above your amazon ad. I’m pretty sure that ad isn’t one you approved and thought you’d like to know! 🙂

  135. Ok, so we virtually just spent our entire dinner time with our 16-year-old ARGUING about why he doesn’t need an education – “90% of people have a smart phone nowadays. You can find out anything you need to know without wasting time learning anything!” He’ll follow you around the house like a determined trial lawyer presenting his evidence until there’s nothing left to say. We’ve tried everything throughout the years … any great advice for a 16-year-old seasoned arguer … or, rather for his waning parents???

    1. haha, oh Julie–Sounds like he is just really wanting to grow up, have a voice…figure things out for himself. I know it’s hard, but hang in there! As long as you are reasonable, and listen to him, he’ll get through this eventually. 🙂

      Not sure if it will totally apply, but I literally just published a teen boy Q and A post and addressed disrespect in teens in that post. You might find it helpful. Here is a link: https://bit.ly/1Mcg9f3
      (Arguing isn’t necessarily all about disrespect, but in case you find helpful hints in there…)
      Much aloha, and thanks for commenting!

  136. I have one of those kids. I don’t know if this will help any individual person (or society in general), but I jokingly told my arguing, at the time, five-year old she loves to argue so much she should become a lawyer. Her eyes became wide and in a dumbfounded way she stated, “you mean I could get paid to argue! I’m going to be a lawyer!” Now at 15 1/2 she is still determined to become a lawyer and is on a mock trial team. God presents us with all sorts of gifts, nice when you can challenge it into something positive. 😉

  137. I have a child that argues with everything I say. If it’s daily stuff I don’t engage in the argument. I just state what needs to be said and when he begins to argue I walk away. I make sure he heard before i walk away because he’ll say he didn’t hear me. Most the time he will comply because its the argument he wants so I take that part away. If he doesn’t comply then there are consequences. In the bigger issues I let him call a family meeting.

  138. Two things we’ve been teaching/learning that I have my kids repeat 10 times, especially when they are arguing:
    1–“Do everything without complaining or arguing….”–Phil. 2:14
    2–“It’s better to be gracious that it is to be right.”

  139. oh dear me. yes, yes, yes, and yes.

    even to the argument over the colour of the sky!

    she’s not yet 4, and many are the days that I lament the quality of our relationship since the day she turned 14 months. She’s a great little kid, but I am sooo detached from her because of all the ARGUING.

    taking in all the hints I can, as we are entering another phase of ‘fun and games’ after a few months of comparable peace. So thankyou for your post 😀 i’ll be book marking it

  140. Love these ideas. I have uses many of the same tactics. I’m liking the appeal process and will have to try it. I get the in a minute, I’m tired or do we have to go and my favorite…why can’t I just stay home. Anyway, I use the same tactic on my reluctant guy and remind him that he tells me to wait when I need him to him to do something. He says oh yea. I say see its about mutual respect. To get it, you have to give it.

  141. This past year we learned that our middle wasn’t just a strong willed kid, he also was diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). One in 5 kids that have ADD/ADHD also have it. It makes it to that when he gets over stimulated he has a hard time controlling his emotions/thoughts, and will act out and argue over everything. He loves Jesus though and was baptized this past March. With him we have to do a reward system that he earns everything – “If you do this, then you can do that…” rather than the consequences route. He still has consequences, but now it’s positive focus. Just wanted to share that sometimes there is something else going on that causes kids to argue/act out.

    1. My son was recently diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder too. We knew he had ADD or ADHD, but didn’t know about the other. We are finally starting to see a counselor for this. I am wondering about the reward system idea. My son has some real backwards thinking. He thinks that he should be able to do things AFTER he has the fun thing… He says it makes him want to do the homework etc… It doesn’t happen! We struggle getting him to sit still and actually complete an assignment. It is sooooo hard when he has so many missing assignments and he can’t complete 1 of them. He will argue until forever and won’t see reason. It’s so hard. I’m pretty sure these techniques are great for the average kid, but mine with ODD, just bull dozes any attempts at conversation and reason. Consequences frankly make everything 100 times worse. Rewarding is definitely better, but still not a cure. One thing I found recently is: to make sure he feels heard. (That takes a lot of patience) as ridiculous as some of this ideas are to me at times, I have to make sure he knows I am listening and try and see his side of the story, restate his concerns. Then and only then can I introduce my ideas and rules. If I don’t it will fall on deaf ears.

  142. Ok, so how can my son be sitting in the room with me while at the same time apparently in Hawaii with you?
    My 11.5 year old will argue anything. Even if it is WRONG. He has to win. It doesn’t matter if there is any logic to his argument. He could find a way to argue that the sun actually sets in the east and rises in the west.

    I really see it as a pride issue. We talk a lot about how much bad tension it creates. How he will ALWAYS have an authority figure in his life (police, boss etc). That he is not honoring his mother and father.

    He is our youngest and his older brother (by 15 months) constantly tries to control him (which is a whole other issue). As the youngest in my family I understand the desire to differentiate yourself and be heard. However, I see big problems in his life if we don’t get this under control.

    There is a great ministry here in Oregon called doorposts and they have some great resources for dealing with issues.

    I’m grateful for this post if for no other reason to get me focused on it and trying a few new tips. It is so difficult to stay consistent. For me, one of the hardest parts of parenting. They just wear you down so easily.

    1. Oh I do relate to you. Your son sounds funny, but I get it–it gets old! 🙂
      That sounds like a great ministry–thanks for sharing! Go get ’em momma. Have fun along the way too! aloha-

  143. Kathie M. says:

    Oh, the memories! My second of four children , my husband and I always said he should be a lawyer. We joked that if he prosecuted someone that the would confess just so the wouldn’t have to be interrogated by him any more! And yes, when he was young, I was pulling my hair out trying to deal with him arguing and his persistence. I found Dr. James Dobson’s book The Strong-Willed Child very helpful.
    You stated that you are worried about him concerning God. My son is 30 now and is the most dedicated and disciplined about his religion and God.
    Hang in there Mom and don’t give up ( or in!) and he will grow up to be a very loving and devoted young man. Prayers for you and all the moms who have strong willed children.

    1. Awww, thank you Kathie! Love those stories of 30 year old sons who are dedicated to the Lord and self disciplined! I’ll take all of those that I can get! Much love to you and thank you–

  144. Thank you for taking the time to write this!, very helpful, like you said it, summer is a good time to work on these bad habits. We have hope in Him! Thank God for his grace to help us parenting. ♡♡

  145. Oh my word have I needed this! My almost 13 year old argues about everything too. The running joke – funny but not funny – is that EVERY TIME we ask her to do something she automatically has to go to the bathroom! She always has been the one to disagree in our family – often for the sake of disagreeing. We also have nickname for her – Opposite Girl. Thanks for these tips. One thing our pastor shared that they did in their parenting was informing their children that when they are asked/told to do something there were two allowed responses – 1) yes or 2) they can ask a question, like may I finish this first, or something along those lines, understanding that the answer to the question could be yes or it could be no. We have tried (albeit inconsistently) to implement that in our family.

  146. Oh my gosh! I was just complaining to my husband about my son, he’s 6. And he absolutely challenges me in every single thing that I ask him to do. The thing with my son is he’s super stubborn too. I took away his privileges like playing games on iPad or watching TV, but it just never seem to make him learn. He’ll do the exact same thing the very next day.. Or even the next hour! Sometimes I feel like my hair is falling off more and more each day I’ll go bald!

  147. There is a lot of good advice here, and, for the most part, I like this article. But words like “submission” and “obedience”, to me give way to a whole behavior set that allows children to be bossed around and owned by people who do not have their best interests at heart. And no one should follow direction from someone they cannot trust to keep them from harm. Children need rules and structure. But phrases like that, if used often enough, will hinder a child’s sense of self-worth, teaching them instead that their worth is to be measured by others. And no one, not even us parents, should be telling our children what their worth is. That’s something they have to determine, and hold on to, themselves.

    1. So glad to see someone else having trouble with the submission and obedience. Those words really cause me trouble. I hope we aren’t raising kids who just obey authority for authority’s sake, but will do what is right because it is right.

  148. I used to dish out extra chores for arguing and fighting with sibling. They’d disappear like lightning when done. I miss those daily bumps in the day. Its so quiet around here with them grown.

  149. Yes, we have at least one of ours that is a strong debater. We’ll ask her “Now, _________, does Scripture say ‘Children debate your parents in the Lord?'” =) That’s what it comes down to with most things she disagrees on–a debate. Thanks for the ideas.

    1. haha–I’ll definitely use that one! Thanks for sharing. Much aloha!

  150. Wow! It’s good to know I’m not alone. I have one these specia little boys who is 8 and I like to call him the hellion. Of course not to his face :)) but when my blood pressure rises off the rictor scale before 8 in the morning it’s not good. As we all know it doesn’t do any good to raise our voices or get angry back at our children when they argue over and over and over. Which usually is the case. And when this happens me sweet boy seems to shut down and get more defiant and angry. What we have started to doing is because he CAN NOT deal with the answer no, or he shuts down when I get after him for arguing about the simplest little things , we started a feelings book. He rights down how he is feeling with any situation going on when he’s frustrated he can’t have it, or when we can’t do something, and then he leaves it for us to read and we respond. It’s amazing how much he has opened us to us and he’s even apologized a few times for some behavior that a 2 year old would be doing. It’s helped him to see that we don’t always get everything and that we really do love him. I always have said from the get go he will take this strong personality and do something great with it one day! But…. I want it to be for good, not bad. I hope I can figure out so it doesn’t turn into rebellion as a teenager or worse.

  151. My son is now 19.
    There was nothing I could threaten him with that worked-ever. He never had any privileges because they were always taken away for his disrespect and lack of obedience. He still argues continually to this day. Even when try to talk to him or rationalize he won’t back down and it has cost him three jobs in six months. He will have a very rough life and i’m afraid he’ll never ‘learn his lesson’. I had hoped it would work to his advantage at some point, but i really don’t see that happening. It can be very serious and the teenage years are so tumultuous you will swear you won’t make it through. Good luck to anyone facing a child like this. Spend a lot of time in prayer together and counseling too-the earlier the better. if i had only known then what i know now….

  152. Once I didn’t take the Xbox away I just took all the remotes to work. He now knows I will do that.

  153. Susan Carroll says:

    These are great tips! My kids seemed to go through this as a phase. But some just seem stuck in this mode! I love the appeal process.. Sounds good.
    Thanks

  154. Look up Oppositional Defiant Disorder..
    I heard about this the other day and it was interesting..

  155. Yes! And she gets it from me! Sigh. One thing a good friend of mine taught me to say was, “I’m not going to argue about this with you.” (about small things) “I hear you, but this is not up for debate.” (Medium things.) “We can talk about, but that doesn’t guarantee that I will change my mind. God made me your mother (we are your parents) not you mine (ours). He must have a reason. The final decision belongs me. (us.)” My friends has 6 really decent (something you can’t always say about kids these days) respectful kids- so it must work… (I’m still waiting for it to pay off all the time. Repetition and consistency.) Also… sometimes you have to let them live by the life consequences of their disobedience…. so so hard.

    1. Amen! And I love all of those ideas. (Isn’t it great to have friends with good kids to model after?) XO Aloha!

  156. Sherrie Denzene says:

    My youngest would have made an excellent attorney–she left no stone unturned in her zeal to come up with arguments to support her side of any controversy. In those growing up years, I taught myself a couple other survival rules. “Pick Your Battles” not everything we could have argued about was really worth it in terms of family harmony. I learned to shut the door on a messy room–except when there was company. Hair styles were another biggie in a house of females. As a Mom, my mantra was: it will grow out and they will grow up and NOT want that purple mohawk by the time they hit college.
    “If you can let up in some areas, when it comes to important arguments” you maybe as startled as I was when I told my then high school daughter there was a party she could not go to–no parents home, driving at night with a new license, etc., etc. We went round and round until finally she looked at me and said, “I knew you would say no, but it was my job to try!” That one still makes me smile!

  157. I enacted the exercise 10 rule! He will start arguing. I ask him “Are you thinking this through son?” He will usually stop in his tracks and ponder for the moment. Then he chooses his response. If an argument insures he does 10 jumping jacks or 10 pushe-ups or 10 sits while he states his point. He can jump and argue but usually he just turns around and goes to obey! I have learned if he is persistent enough to argue while he is doing the exercise the point is pretty much very important and I most likely need to listen! Sometimes however he realizes how silly it is to argue the point and he starts laughing then heads off to obey!

  158. Please explain to me more about this VLOG exercise you practiced. I need all the help I can get as I already do the other things suggested. Thanks!!

  159. R.Defoore says:

    I have a 12 year old son who has been strong-willed since the womb. (Had torticollis when he was born because he wouldn’t move positions.)I love what strong will can mean as an adult. But my concern right now is, if he wants to take a stand he better have a leg(or two) to stand on. I want him to ask himself “why” is this important enough to me to argue? And have substance to back it. You gave me some great ideas on how to deal with daily “don’t wannas”. Thanks for the input.

  160. I call my little contrary boy The Lawyer. He can come up with a cogent argument about anything. It’s mentally exhausting!! He’s 6. Yeah, I know… I’m in trouble. I seriously admire the kid’s ability to express himself so thoughtfully and persuasively, but it does lead to a negative spirit in the home. Thank you for the tips! I’m going to be employing their use immediately!

  161. I so needs this today! I’ve pretty much been doing everything you discuss, but not with resolve or a coordinated effort. I told my 6 year old he had lost his birthday party privileges because his behavior was so uncooperative that it jeopardized his baby brother’s 1st birthday party in January. I told him he had to earn the privilege back, but ever since he’s consistently getting 1-2 notes home a week from school about disruptive behavior and behavior at home is even worse. I upped the ante last night by telling him that not only would we not be celebrating his birthday, but he would continue being 6 until he acted 7. It sounds harsh, but it’s not just being argumentative, it’s defiance and disobedience that is or has the potential to get his little brothers hurt.

    A couple of things we’ve talked about that is different/additional from what you’ve discussed…I use the question “are you helping or hurting?” a lot. That helps call attention to his destructive/argumentative behavior in a way that appeals to his natural inclination to be a critical thinker. We also talk about being a leader vs being a boss…because we have talked about the fact that he has some natural leadership qualities, but he’s not ready for the responsibility (because he’s not just argumentative, he’s also bossy).

    Thanks for your post…trying to keep my head and my resolve!

  162. I haven’t seen anyone pick up on this yet. In Item #4 there is this: “Perhaps one warning/reminder is reasonable. THEN: Doll out consequences with a smile and strong back bone. ”

    Doll? I believe the proper word is “dole.”

    Has anyone else commented?

  163. I realized my kids want me to “wait” to do something because I too often make THEM wait….example, when my – year-old asks “Mom, can you get me a glass of water?” Or “Mom, can you help me with my homework?” My own response is often something like, “I will in a minute” or “After dinner” so I am trying to be more willing to stop what I AM doing just like I would expect them to.

    1. Oh wow Stacey–SUCH a great point. I think I need to practice this area too! Thank you so much for the comment. 🙂

  164. Delilah Ingle says:

    i had a son who always had to have the last word–especially with his dad. I gave him permission to always have the last word, but it had to be in writing and he had to give it to me. I promised to read it, and if I felt he had a valid argument, I would talk to my husband. I think he actually took me up on the offer only one time, but the arguing with his dad stopped.

    1. Thank you Delilah. What a creative idea. I love it!

  165. We kind of have an issue with this in my house, but we have managed to work around it (mostly). First off, we don’t ‘tell’ the kids what to do, there is always a please in there so we call it asking….we tell them they have x amount of time before chores start, usually 5 minutes, but sometimes on weekends they will start a 30 minute tv show before I get them started so I give them a job where they can either start when it is over or work while watching like clean up the living room floor or dry the dishes (kitchen and living room are open to each other). Second we find that a job like cleaning their room is too overwhelming for them (except the 14 year old!) so we break down what we want done….sometimes having them write it down so they don’t keep coming to ask what was next. It all depends on how dirty their room is at the time. Third we always make sure it is age appropriate. I have 3 kids 14, 10 and 5 so I can’t give my 5 year old the job of washing the laundry, the 14 and 10 year old can (although the 10 yo does need a little help), so the younger one just has to bring her clothes out, fold them when they are dry (again sometimes with help) and put them away. We do still get arguments, but we try to forestall them by giving a warning cleaning (or chore) time is coming soon.

    1. Thank you Dakota! Glad you agree…And kids are welcome here! aloha!

  166. My son will be 13 this week. He has always been adventurous, busy and argumentative. When he was young, I learned the value of giving him a choice between 2 options rather than a command. I still have to remember to do that, even if it’s no choice at all–such as, “Would you like to walk the dog now, or this evening when the rest of us are watching a show?”
    We have had lots of sit down conversations. I homeschool, and sometimes when the stress of keeping up with everything has me frantically resorting to commands, I have a few quietly spoken buzz phrases that remind my son to halt mid argument. The first is for the tense times; “I don’t answer to you, you answer to me.” The other is easier, when I still have my humor; “I know you are training to be a great lawyer one day, but right now, could you just be my son?”

  167. Currently reading Setting Limits with your Strong-willed child, Robert J MacKenzie.

  168. Brittaney says:

    just came across this page but I had to say I laughed about something! if you scroll down to the 2nd picture where your son is upside down on the chair and scroll down to where the bottom of your computer screen hits at his knees (only seeing his legs) it totally looks like he’s sitting and dangling his feet over a rock cliff!! It shocked me for a minute thinking WHAT DID YOU LET HIM TALK YOU INTO?!?! LOL!!!

  169. Love it. I have 3 boys that are prone to argue.

  170. My arguer is 14. I have found that following the guidelines above when he was younger now allows me to say to him, “Stop. (Do whatever I just asked). We will discuss this later.” I do find myself saying “stop” frequently, but he is learning to pull himself back, too. I am hopeful that the next four years will continue to show improvement in his self-control and discernment. I have no fear that he will loose his arguing skills.

    1. My son just turned 15 on December 21. He was diagnosed with a ADD last spring. Sometimes he is so difficult I could cry!! My husband and my son have a tough relationship. My husband was actually much like my son when he was a child. He didn’t have a good relationship with his dad either. My husband says it’s amazing that he didn’t cause his father to have a heart attack!
      Anyway, it is sooooo stressful being around this all the time. I’ve often wondered if plain old hard a-s work wouldn’t cure my son as well as help him with his ADD. Older people who had to work hard physically when they were young seem to have so much more respect and better work ethic than kids today. Does that make sense? My mom was raised on a farm and she and her siblings are the smartest people I know! Being outside and doing “down to earth” type work makes such great character and surely, being outside doing things would help with the ADD part of all this, right?
      I am not joking when I say I have thought about sending him for the entire summer to work at a dude ranch or something! What do you think? I love him to death but am at my wits’ end! Does anyone know of a safe summer (preferably Christian) program where my son could go that might straighten him out?

      1. Mary–I think you are super wise actually. In fact, I think all kids (mine included!) would benefit from a lot more physical work!
        I don’t know of anything just like that, but I would absolutely keep looking if I were you, and if I happen to come across something I’ll let you know! 🙂
        Keep praying…God will lead you to something, and it seems like some sort of work–even in your own community, might both keep him busy (therefore less stress in the home,) and teach him so much for the future. Hang in there–It will get better! 🙂 Aloha

  171. Love this post! (Great strategies and helpful reminders. And, yes, I’ve got a little guy half the age of yours who fits the bill). He started Tae Kwon Do this Summer though and that coupled with me taking it on newly (delivering consequences more like gravity, etc. etc .) has produced some break through results! It’s still a practice for me and for him, but, it was helpful to both of us to incorporate the martial arts philosophy for extra inspiration! He’s doing very well in his class which has helped both of us see the positive side of his determination. He’s learning submission and obedience to the Masters while also learning appropriate real world applications for when it’s appropriate to fight back (pretty much only when attacked). It’s helped him channel his assertiveness into something useful and tempered his sense of impulsiveness to be much more mindful. I can not say enough great things about it!

  172. Hello! My son is 4 going on 40….. and surely has a career in either being a lawyer or politics in his future! He argues and negotiates better than anyone I know! Are there any methods that work well for his age? It’s so exhausting sometimes!

    1. Oh you are not alone…my youngest is also four, and he’s right there too! I think in the next few weeks I’ll dedicate a post to the preschoolers out there–trying to rule the world! 😉 I’ve had a lot of moms sharing ga similar frustration. Stay tuned…and meanwhile just keep up the great work. Much aloha!

  173. I definitely know the arguing child. I have a 6 year old girl who thinks she listens to me as a good deed of the day, lol. I love your tricks and have one more: I let her argue any point once, but what I say after her bit is final! I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes she has great ideas and I want to consider them, but sometimes it’s not the greatest idea and then she needs to accept that and respect my decision!

  174. robyn pruitt says:

    Yes, I have one of those children, who is now 17 and is still an arguer. He has suffered some natural consequences and many imposed consequences along the way to learn which mountains to battle on with certain people. I know he will be an excellent leader some day.
    —-The battle weary mother.

  175. I totally can understand a child using things to barter for what they what! My child has attempted this many times with us. Our child likes to argue as well. We have been successful though with setting boundaries and allowing our child to make decisions that are positive and negative knowing the consequences. We congratulate him on the positive decisions and enforce the rules on the negative decisions. Reminding him that he made the choice knowing what would happen in the end has really taught him to think before he acts.

  176. Cheryl Finley says:

    Great article! The book “You Can’t Make Me, but I can be persuaded” by Cynthia Tobias is a great resource on this subject! My “little guy” is now 24 and very pleasant to be around. 🙂

    1. Thank you for that suggestion, Cheryl! I’ll look into it. The title has me intrigued! 🙂 Aloha, and glad to hear that your little guy has grown up well…:)

  177. what about the child who has an excuse for everything? This was very well written and helpful! Perspective is so needed in my house. My strong willed one is my oldest at 17 and when he doesn’t win an argument how it’s laid out here, he’s coming up with massive excuses from I’m “not feeling good” to blaming me for “holding him back”. It’s difficult because I can see him doing this with others, it’s never his fault. He lives with smaller children so he acts immature, he goes to school with kids who cuss so he lets it slip, these other parents are better so he’s just biding his time till he gets to leave. Harder than I thought it would be to have an older teen.

    1. Thank you Andi…Yes, you do have your work cut out for you. Let’s hope this is a stage and he grows out of it? I’m wondering if you have already read my post “What a teenage boy needs most from his mom?” Here’s the link: https://monicaswanson.com/what-a-teenage-boy-needs-most-from-his-mom/
      Some of the thoughts in there might apply well to your son’s situation. Hang in there and don’t give up…God bless!

  178. Oh, wow. I have never connected those dots before, that my little lawyer was being disrespectful. I’m going to have to think about that and talk with her daddy. But I like the appeal idea. Thank you for an excellent article. (We homeschool as well.)

  179. Can you give me more info on your appeal process? Perhaps an example og a decision that he can appeal and time Frame he just wait?

    1. Hmmm…Great question, Merry! Maybe something I should consider dedicating a post to. But off the top of my head (something recent and pretty simple,) here’s one: I tell my son that he needs to finish all of his homework before we go to the skate park. He immediately says “But I…” I know him well enough to know that he is arguing out of habit, so I stop him and say, “Please do not argue. Say a simple ‘Yes,’ or ‘Yes Ma’am,’ and head directly back to your desk. I will come in to check on you in ten minutes and if you have something important to say, I will be ready to listen.
      He gets back into his school work, and in ten minutes often he says “never mind, I’m doing fine.” But he might also say “I wanted to know if I could do everything except my reading, because I look forward to reading in bed before I go to sleep.” (or something else along those lines.) To which I would completely agree that he can do all of his homework and save his reading for later.

      Sometimes a compromise is super reasonable, but more often he argues just to be contrary! 🙂
      Hope that helps a little…
      And I’ll consider a post full of examples! aloha!

  180. Sorry for the billions of typos there! It’s late! Haha!

  181. Love the article. As a mother of 6 ….5 boys and 1 girl… I know these stressed all too well. My youngest son (who is a twin with his sister) is 11 years old is exactly who you andre describing.

    The other day the boys were arguing and we did our regular thing of all sitting down & taking time to all speak our peace then discussing concerns and solutions. When it was his turn he started tattling on his older brother. I said “it sounds like you’re tattling to me, rather then diacussing” He responded “No it’s not tattling. …it’s a narrative”

  182. As a high school teacher, I always appreciated the parents who taught their children to be respectful, and also the young people who had made that choice on their own despite a lack of proper teaching.

    When I told students something and they argued, I had fairly standard responses. For example, a student gets up while I’m teaching. I say, “You need to sit down.” He says, “But I need to sharpen my pencil.” My response was standard: “I did not ask why you got up. I told you to do something, and not doing what I ask is disrespectful, disobedient, and disruptive. Have a seat.”

    Short, to the point, with an explanation that avoids (with most students) continued argument. If I said that EVERY SINGLE TIME, the disruptions usually began to be few and far between.

    1. Brilliant, Mary! Thank you. I love to hear from school teachers–you guys have the most experience and wisdom! 🙂 Aloha-

  183. Thank you for posting this. It is my 4 year ol