It usually happens when you least expect it and, more importantly, don't have time to deal with it. Something as simple as what you've made for breakfast or a request to turn off the iPad quickly escalates into an all out battle and you find yourself fighting with your child. How did we get here again? No one wants to have these fights with their kids, but as parents we realize there's a fine line between laying down the law and keeping the peace in our house. Every parent needs ways to end a fight with your child, because no one wants to feel like they're the mom that sends their child to time out every day.
Depending on the situation and the child, you might need a whole bag of tricks to stop those fights. What works for one kid might not work of another. Saying "it's my way or the highway" is not going to cut it when you're going head to head with a fiercely independent child that knows exactly what she wants. So having a few different ways to diffuse an argument will help end those battles and restore peace in your house, at least for a little while.
1. Stop What You Are Doing
If an argument starts, stop what you're doing — looking at your phone or making dinner — and focus on what is happening with you and your child. Often parents are so wrapped up in multi-tasking that they miss some important details that could stop a fight before it starts. Give yourself a moment to come up with a plan before you react and ask yourself a few questions. Is this something you're willing to fight about? Should we wait until we're home to discuss this? What usually works best with this child?
2. Give Options
You want your kids to think for themselves and make decisions on their own, so don't be surprised when you say no and they put up a fight. Give them options. If it's a fight over breakfast, let them have a say in what they eat, as long as it's reasonable, or ask them to help you make breakfast. When you have independent kids, let them feel like they have options and choices.
3. Distract Them
Sometimes you know you've lost the battle and just need a quick out. That's when distraction are a perfect option. "Look my shoe is untied! How did that happen? Can you help me?" or ""Oh my! Look at those blocks. I bet you could build a really big tower. Let's see." Fight? What fight?
4. Diffuse With Humor
You know that super silly dance that keeps your kids in stitches? Now is the time to bust out your best moves. Make them laugh. Make yourself laugh and that fight will be a thing of the past.
5. Use Your "Teacher Voice"
When enough is enough and the argument needs to end, bring out the teacher voice. Get close to your child, look them in the eye, and use a firm voice to tell them the argument is over and their behavior needs to stop. Be short and concise. Think about teachers you had that could command a room just by the tone of their voice, not yelling but the tone. Because this voice is so different from your natural voice, you'll have your child's attention.
6. Don't Poke The Beast
There's a point where you know a fight with your child will not end well and you'll probably be the big loser. Are they tired? Are they hungry? Do they not feel well? You need to pick and choose our battles. If you know something else is going on with your child and that a fight will end in tears for everyone, take a step back, don't poke the beast, and maybe end it all with a few snuggles. This way, everyone ends up winning.
7. Validate Their Feelings
Everyone wants to feel heard, even young children. Get down to their level and calmly tell them you understand what they're saying and what they want, even if it's ridiculous like they want potato chips for breakfast. Let you child know you hear them. Now this doesn't mean you are going to give them what they want or that breaking rules is acceptable, but it can descalate the situation to a point you can find a resolution.