Don’t Step Into the Ring
Do you ever find yourself battling wits with your child? Going ’round and ’round, arguing the same annoying point you’ve screamed over, er, discussed, a dozen times before?

Then, just when you’re ready to deliver your one-two punch (You cannot talk to Mommy like that… you’re in a time-out!) you hear a voice of reason, calling from the sideline: “Okay, you guys, enough already!”  Someone else intervenes as referee, because you were lured into the ring to verbally spar with your child.

Yep, we’ve all done it. We get sucked into an argument with our child(ren) because they’re miniature experts in the art of provocation. They know exactly which buttons to push and which cheeky tone of voice stops us in our tracks. Their taunting facial expressions challenge us, virtually guaranteeing our engagement. (Did you just roll your eyes at me?!)

The minute we step into the ring to spar, we suspend our authority to go toe-to-toe with a child. We set-aside our fundamental role as parent, provider, and protector, when we consent to fight.

Restoring what we’ve given up can be frustrating, for everyone. Avoid this predicament by 1) becoming aware of common argumentative issues, and 2) fine-tuning your Mom-Radar to recognize patterns that lead to destructive fights.

The biggest issues in my household are screen-time, bedtime, and homework resistance. Any time these events/issues are in play, I need to really focus on maintaining a calm and controlled manner to make sure I don’t fall into old patterns.

When I find myself in the midst of a battle, I simply lift my hand in a “stop” gesture and matter-of-factly disengage: “I am not going to argue with you. My decision is no. If you choose to argue you will go to your room.” While this approach most likely won’t end the conflict, especially at first, it will get you out of the ring.