Walking to school this morning, about 20 minutes before the bell was to ring, my daughters asks, “Did my bell go yet?”
I reply, “No, sweetie.” To which my daughter answers, “Yes it did.”
We walk on, hand in hand, in silence.
We come to the railroad crossing. The barriers are down and the lights are flashing. There’s a train coming. My daughter asks, “Is a train coming?” I say, “Yes.” She looks up at me and says, “No there isn’t.”
The train passes and we walk on, hand in hand, in silence.
We turn down the familiar street to her school. She looks up at me and says, “This is the wrong way to my school, Mommy.”
I sigh and keep walking; hoping that my lack of response does not send her into a frenzy.
The moment passes. For today, at least, she has decided not to pursue her arguments.
Other days are not quite so easy.
Since becoming a parent, I’ve read tons of books and articles, and taken the advice of friends and family, and worked hard to figure things out for myself and my children about how this parenting gig should go. I’m no expert. I’m not perfect. I’m not even that good at it, but I think, for the most part, I’ve figured out what works for me and my family.
But one thing I cannot figure out is how to handle myself in the face of my argumentative child. You see, even though I don’t take it personally that she argues with almost everything I say, I do sometimes feel like I’m being beaten down by this 3’1″ prosecuting lawyer. And I have no defence. She is not always argumentative (thankfully). But when she is, I could tell her that the grass is green and she would argue that it is red.
In search of a way to handle myself, I turned to Google.
A quick Google search of the term “the argumentative child” led me to these top three hits:
All three articles offer similar advice. I think it’s interesting, though, how the article titles address the issue differently: Parenting, Coping with and Coaching.
I looked to the first article to give me a parenting strategy; the second article appealed to my exasperation at my daughter’s arguing and gave me hope that there could be a way to cope with it; and the third article made me feel as though I could help my daughter overcome her argumentative nature.
I’m not holding my breath that anything I learned from these articles is going to be particularly useful in my parenting of, coping with or helping my argumentative child. If I’ve learned one thing from all my reading since entering motherhood, it’s that the neat and tidy way experts lay things out in books does not match the messy and chaotic way children require your love.