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.

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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.

One thing to do to have a better relationship with my child

Over the last 10 years, I have tried very hard to have a good relationship with my children. But, as I reflect, I realised that there was one thing I could do to have a better relationship with my child.

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What was holding me back

If you’re like me, you love to have control over things in your life. One of the things I love having control over is my children’s behaviour and the choices they make.

I want my children to choose the things that I would choose. Mainly, I want them to obey me and do as they are told.

I like total and complete obedience. I want my kids to obey me right away with no argument.
After having many confrontations with my daughter, I realised that having this expectation of my children made things more stressful around the house.

My focus was on complete obedience and not on my relationship with my child. I had to learn to let go of some control.

But I have learned that this mindset does not lead to a better relationship with my child.

When I stepped back, I realised that I was not happy trying to control my child’s behaviour.

Since I stopped trying to control the outcome, it has helped me in disciplining my children and has given me a better relationship with my child.

My children are strong and independent and have minds of their own. That means that when I have an idea, they don’t always agree with me and always seem to have a ”better” way or another plan.

Before I started letting go, I found myself in a constant battle with my kids. It was exhausting.

So I had to decide that having a good relationship with my kids was more important to me than having control over the outcome or the situation.

One thing to do to have a better relationship with my child

1. I had to change my thought process.

To help me change my thought process, I tried to incorporate these 2 things:

  1. why do you want it done this way? Is it really that important?
  2. my child maybe 7, but maybe her way is better and we could do it that way.

To change my behaviour, I had to change my thought process.

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My motivation:

This first thing I had to do was analyse my motivation. Why was it so important that they I had to have this done my way?

After some soul searching, I realised that I wanted to feel control over the outcome. I was afraid that if I did not have absolute obedience right away then I was not a good “Christian” mom.

Leaving room for my child to question me made me feel like I was letting her rule the house. I was letting my fear dictate my behaviour.

My realization

The next time my daughter questioned me or did not respond to me as I wanted, I actually listened.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT MY CHILD HAS ABSOLUTE CONTROL OR THAT SHE RULES THE HOUSE … But it does mean that I have become a bit more flexible. Let me give you an example.

I say something like: Please set the table. She responds: I am just finishing drawing a picture!

I have 2 choices

  • Get mad that I was not absolutely obeyed on the spot.
  • Let my child finish her task and have her come when she is done.

This way, my child has no choice in the task I am asking her to complete, but there is a choice of when she can do it. She has some flexibility.

This may seem like a simple example. But there were dozens of these small moments during the day. I wanted something done a certain way and would get frustrated when it was not done to my standard.

By letting go of some control and giving my child more flexibility greatly reduced the amount of time I spend reprimanding her. Not only that, but it gave her confidence that she does have good ideas, that I hear her, and that her opinion matters to me.

I find that by giving her that flexibility has also made her more willing to obey and has also resulted in her doing things around the house without me asking.

In the comments below, share how control affects your relationships. Please share this post with others. Thank you.

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