You know the kid I’m talking about… it’s the one who can argue that the sky isn’t blue and that up is really down. You try as hard as you can to present a logical and rational perspective, but this kid is having none of it!
This is where side 2 of the triangle is so powerful (see “The Restitution Triangle” in this site’s sidebar if you are unfamiliar with this strategy). When kids argue with us, we often give fuel to the fire of the argument by presenting a different perspective, which the child just fights back against. But when you think of it, how willing are you to accept another person’s perspective when you think they don’t understand you or the situation you are in?
Side 2 of the triangle is about validating. This is not the same as agreeing. I can understand the urge to punch someone in the nose – but that doesn’t mean I think it’s a good idea.
When we demonstrate to kids that we truly understand what they are feeling, arguments get diffused. How can you argue with someone who is simply saying “I get it.”?
Next time you find yourself in a power struggle with a child, instead of putting your energy into convincing them of the error of their ways, try instead to show that you understand their point of view. At the very least, you won’t perpetuate the argument. But you may find that you have a child who all of a sudden becomes much more open to discussing alternatives!