Do you often end up in never-ending arguments with your strong-willed child, where finding solutions feels tricky? Maybe you’re frequently dealing with power struggles. If these situations sound like something you go through, know that you’re not the only one. Let’s look into practical ways on how to stop arguing with your child and bring back balance to your relationship.

Two Simple Steps on How to Stop Arguing With Your Strong-Willed Child:

1. “Do Not Negotiate with Terrorists

Trying to negotiate with a stubborn child can feel like negotiating with a terrorist. This strategy suggests a big change in how you behave by not getting into negotiations that reinforce challenging behavior. Instead, set clear rules and avoid bargaining. This creates an environment where working together is not just encouraged but works well. Remember, when you negotiate with the terrorist’s tactics, you encourage more terrorist behavior.
(I’m gonna make that decision with myself, which means if she is whining, or demanding, I’m gonna cut the conversation off right there. – “Honey, I’m not gonna keep arguing with you.”)

2. “When You Keep Getting to the End of the Rope, (losing your patience) SHORTEN Your Rope

Getting to the end of the rope means yelling, losing your temper, and/or saying things you regret.
So as counter-intuitive as it might seem, I find that parents are more likely to keep strong kindness, when they stick with strong firmness. To explain a bit further, I mean that when we don’t repeat ourselves 10-15 times, and instead move into “2 Roads”, we likely speak more kindly. This is what I call, “Shortening your rope”:

Here are some steps to follow for success: Make a plan in advance, giving the child a clear description of “2 roads”: a “Happy Choice” vs “Sad Choice.”

– If they choose the sad choice, follow through on the sad result (maybe the truck they just threw across the room goes on a break on top of the fridge).
– Let, “If you do that one more time…” actually be only 1 time.

Additional Transformative Tools:

1. Name It to Tame It

Every time you name an emotion, that’s a repetition towards the child learning to name that emotion themselves.  When we can identify what we are really feeling, we are able to seek more effective solutions.  If we label all feelings as “mad”, it’s easy to think it’s everyone else’s fault, and others need to keep from “making us mad.”  When we start naming things as disappointing, frustrating, sad, confused, etc, we learn to understand the complexities of that pounding in our heart and the hotness on our cheeks and chest. When you name a feeling correctly for someone, it helps that feeling’s intensity to decrease.  Something in naming it helps to tame it.
ie. You can say: “You seem so (feeling/emotion – frustrated, disappointed, sad)”.

The Gottman Institute Wheel of Feelings

Free to download at

2. 30-second Silent Hug

For an extra way to ease tension, try the 30-second silent hug. This involves hugging your child without saying anything for half a minute. Physical touch can be a strong way to show that you understand and support them, creating a space where you both can find common ground. This non-verbal action helps to make your child feel secure and emotionally connected.

Negotiating with a difficult child doesn’t have to be a constant struggle. By not negotiating when it’s not helpful and being more understanding, you can turn conflicts into chances to connect. These easy but powerful strategies give you the tools to handle disagreements with your child well, making your relationship healthier and more cooperative.

Try out these strategies to break free from arguing all the time and make parenting more harmonious. Turn conflicts into moments of understanding and connection, creating a positive bond with your child.

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