9 ways to reduce arguments with kids 

If your house is like mine, there are always arguments going on. I don’t like arguments and I am always looking for ways to reduce the amount of fighting in our house. Today, I am going to share with you 9 ways to reduce arguments with kids.

In our house, most of the arguments are between my kids. But more often than not, the arguments are between me and my child. And if you are like me, then you like to win those arguments.

a child playing in the ocean facing a wave. Over the picture are the words: 9 ways to reduce arguments with your kids. www.onedeterminedlife.com

Sometimes I feel like I am picking the battle just to win so I can show that I can. This makes for a more hostile house and something I desperately want to change.

I came to this realization a few weeks ago after an encounter with my eldest daughter.

The conversation went a bit like this: 

Me: come here

Child: What?

Me: COME HERE!

Child: WHAT?
Me: COME HERE!!!!!!!!!

My child finally comes into the room
Me: I want you to come the first time I call you!

Child: I could not hear you!

Me: then why did you say what? You should come to me when you heard me!

What happened next

At this point, I forgot why I wanted to talk to her and instead spent the time giving her a consequence for not obeying me when I first called and for giving me attitude when she did eventually come.

After this incident, I had time to reflect on the scene. It was not the first time this had happened and I knew that it would keep happening… Unless I changed something.

Why was it so important that she come to me? 

After much reflection, I realized that I wanted her to come to me because I was lazy. My frustration did not stem from wanting her to obey. It came because I actually had to move and get up and do something about what was going on. I had been lying down in bed and I did not want to get up. My laziness factor had kicked in and I wanted her obedience to trump my unwillingness to move.

My selfishness became so evident to me. I could have avoided this whole scene had I not been so lazy.

The argument got me thinking about ways I could reduce the arguments in the house. So here are my 9 ways I can reduce arguments with my child.

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9 ways to reduce arguments with your kids

1. Seek Them out

The best way to reduce arguments with kids is to seek out my child. When I want to talk to my child, instead of calling to her over and over, I will call her once and if she can’t hear me I will get up and go find her. When I find her, I will then talk to her.

2. Give direction 

Sometimes I ask my kids to do something and they don’t actually understand what I want them to do. They do their best to obey, but I end up frustrated because the end result was not what I had originally wanted.

One way to decrease misunderstanding is to make sure my child understands exactly what I want by giving clear directions.

3. Set the Tone

I find that if I am upset or frustrated, my children mirror that back to me. To reduce the tension in the house, I need to be an example of how I want my children to speak.

If I speak politely to them in my frustration, they will learn (eventually) that they can also be frustrated but still speak without yelling.

4. Change the mood

When my kids are driving me crazy, it’s easy to turn around and snap at them or become frustrated with them. One way I keep from blowing up is by changing my mood.

Instead of yelling, I put some music on and dance or tickle them. These things make us smile and laugh and I tend to forget why I was mad.

5. Ask the child to repeat

When I ask my children to do something, I ask them to repeat what I said. By doing so, we both understand what is expected and it helps clarify any misunderstandings.

If my child can’t repeat what I said, then they won’t be able to do what I asked. When they know what to do and what is expected, they are more likely to do it.

6. Pray

The fastest way for me to calm down is to pray. I pray for patience and understanding. I pray for wisdom and grace. Every moment with my children I am afraid that what comes out of my mouth will scar them for life.

By taking a moment and praying, I usually keep myself from saying something I regret or using a tone I did not mean.

7. Let it go

I oftentimes forget that my kids are small and don’t understand the world like I do. I usually expect them to have my standards. Once I remember that they are small, I lower my standards and let some things slide.

For example:

Last week as I was cleaning the bathroom I found candy wrappers on the floor. I suspected that my eldest daughter had found some candy and eaten it without permission.

She knows the rules: you can’t eat anything without asking Mom first. She also knows that candy is a treat and is only eaten on special occasions.

Lately, she has been breaking a lot of rules and being sneaky. I have spent countless of hours going over proper behaviour and punishing her for disobeying.

I could have easily found her, asked her a question and given her a consequence. This time, I chose to let it go. I had no real evidence that she was the one to eat the candy.

This may be an unpopular opinion but, I think it’s ok for kids to get away with a thing or 2. Since I am addressing the larger issues on a regular basis, catching every act will only drive her further away.

8. Give them grace

One of the things that I love most about God is His grace towards us. He regularly does not give us the punishment we need. He regularly does not show His anger and frustration towards us.

My task as a parent is to show my children God’s character. One of the ways to do that is to be like God and to show grace. When my children disobey, I sometimes will choose to not give them the punishment they deserve.

9. Pick your battles 

The last thing we can do to reduce arguments with kids is to pick our battle. Some fights are not worth the effort you put in. For me to win an argument with my daughter, it takes so much energy and time. Sometimes, that energy and time is not productive and would best be spent focused on other things.

For example, I let my youngest choose if she wants to get dressed or stay in her pj’s. She is 4 and does not go to school. On days we stay home, there is no reason for her to get dressed. So, if she does not want to, fighting her about it does not seem to be worth the effort for me.

I am often the reason that I get into arguments with my kids. I a. Either lazy, tired or just done with the day. But if I step back for just a moment, I realize that I can sometimes diffuse the circumstances by using some of these strategies.

In the comments below, share how you decrease arguments with your children. Please share this post with others. Thank you.

38 responses to “9 ways to reduce arguments with kids ”

  1. Lori Hill-Smith Avatar

    Great points! We need to remember to treat our children the way we would want to be treated!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I think since they are smaller than us we forget that they are people too

  2. Bridget @ Antics of a Nutty Hiker Avatar

    After 4 kids (that are now 14, 16, 19, & 22) I learned after kid number 2 to just pick my battles and let stuff go which is so much harder to do when they become teenagers (A LOT HARDER) but if you don’t, you will constantly be stressed, which will make you anger and on edge, which will cause arguments, etc… It will be a never ending cycle!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I learned that as well. It is so much better to build healthy relationship with your kids.

  3. Amber Harrop Avatar
    Amber Harrop

    Great advice I just wish that it worked with teenagers they can be in front of you and not listen !! But I am working on communicating with mine better.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I will have to rewrite this wen my kids get that age. Any pre-advice would be great!!

  4. candy Avatar
    candy

    When you start off a conversation with yelling for them to come here well that isn’t the greatest way to begin. Love all your ideas and hope things are calmer around your home.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s not a great way to start. Trying to be better every day

  5. Francesca Price Avatar

    I can really relate to this article. Thank you, it’s a great reminder of the ways that we can stop both our children and ourselves becoming stressed out about things that are not worth it! Great ways to keep a house calm. I often pray when I feel the bubbles inside coming to the surface but don’t always think about it in the moment and before I know it……! The morning are usually the most stressful for me, getting the kids out to school and nursery on time. I recently told myself, I’m fed up of getting stressed about it, if we are late, then we are late, but I’m not going to start the day with a stressed mummy and leave the kids going to nursery/school thinking mummy is grumpy!! ❤️ Thanks for sharing

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I totally feel you!! Mornings can be hard. I have about 4 timers to make sure we are all on track. Even my youngest, who is 1, knows that when the rigger goes it time to get out the door 😉 I hope you find a routine that works for you peace stress level and activities

  6. Aarika Avatar
    Aarika

    This is a really beautiful and thoughtful post. Love it! Sharing the tip of “seeking out your child” is an important one as I think that so often we expect kids to just “jump” when we tell them too. Obviously, if our children are in danger, that’s a different story! =) Thanks for sharing this wonderfully composed post. Great job!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I found that going to them made a world of difference. It showed my kids that I care about them not just about what they do

  7. Tammy (Christian Mom, Wife, & Life) Avatar
    Tammy (Christian Mom, Wife, & Life)

    I agree with your blog. We have to be an example…the example of what we want given back. Children are like sponges…what goes in squeezes back out. If you deliver ugliness to them they will think that is how you should be and give it right back. Also picking your battles. I am glad nobody watches me all day and picks out sll the thinkgs I do wrong. That would stink and ruin my day.

    Great post. God Bless!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Thankfully my kids are still at the age th

    2. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Thankfully my kids are still at the age where they think I’m amazing. I dread the day they wake up and realize I’m not.

  8. M Avey Avatar

    Parenting is tough right? Great read!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I am finding that is true every day!!

  9. Lauren C. Moye Avatar

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Communication is a two-way street, which means that we have to watch what message we’re sending with our tones. I know a lot of Moms will probably disagree with you on going to your child, but I understand it. We don’t (okay, shouldn’t) yell at our husbands to come to us when we want to talk to them. We don’t yell at our friends to come to us if we see them in the store. Why should children be different?

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s so true. We often treat our children in ways we would never treat other or want to be treated. I love your insight.

  10. Melissa Dow Avatar
    Melissa Dow

    These are great tips. For me personally, sometimes I just need to step away for a minute and be alone.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I totally agree with that and do that as well. I call it s mom time out 😉

  11. Ali Chovanec Avatar
    Ali Chovanec

    The same thing happens to me! I love your ideas and will incorporate them into my interaction with my kiddos! Great!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Let me know if any of them help 🙂

  12. Marie Avatar

    I seriously think every mom can relate to this no matter how old their kids are. It was for sure an eye opener for me and a reminder I need to practice mindfulness.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s for sure something I have been learning and trying to apply to every day. It’s so hard!

  13. Kari Avatar

    Great advice! I don’t have kids yet but I’m always reading up on ways to do my best when I do.

  14. Meg D. Gonzalez Avatar

    These are great tips! I will have to remember them… They’re not bad tips for marriage either lol.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s very true. I think these tips can be used for any time we are dealing with other people and feel like we want to explode

  15. Jaime Wiebel Avatar

    Great Post. You reminded me of myself throughout this article. I try to remember give them grace but by the three hundredth time today it flies out the window and then I am reminded that I was shown that same grace at least three hundred times. Thanks for sharing.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Lol!! I am for sure he same way. One day my daughter was especially disobedient and I had been patient all day and finally snapped. She looked at me with tears in her eye and asked: when you ask Jesus for help, does He do so right away?
      Talk about convicting!!!

  16. Diana Avatar

    Let it go – is something I need to work on in every aspect of my life especially parenting. Thank you!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s for sure one of the hardest things!!

  17. Joy DeKok Avatar

    Way back when, if my mama whispered, she had my attention. 🙂 She did some of these things – she often sought me out. Let things go. And she always forgave me. I wonder if there’s anything more important in all the world!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I read somewhere that whispering something was way more effective then yelling 😉

  18. Marisa Avatar

    These are such helpful tips! Giving direction is something I need to be better about. I sometimes unintentionally confuse my kids with my directives, giving them unclear ones, or too many at one time. Then I wonder why they aren’t obeying! Thank you for sharing your insight. 🙂

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Sounds like me too! I often wonder why my child is not doing what I want them too and then I realize it’s because I was not clear

  19. Sue Avatar

    Give them grace- that’s a great tip and I kno I have to show more of it! Loved this post!!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s for sure one I have to remember every day! Easier said then done 🙂

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