How to Listen When Kids Are Arguing Or Disagreeing
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How do wise parents and educators respond when kids try to argue and manipulate? Their most effective responses are one-liners such as, “I love/respect you too much to argue,” or “I know,” or “What did I say?” They also resist the urge to think too deeply about what the child is saying..
Do we do this when kids are hurting? Do we employ this strategy when they’re respectfully expressing their opinions? No! We listen.
When I ask people to describe the parents and teachers they respected the most as kids, they almost always mention something like, “They were always there to listen.”
Listening means love. It means that we sincerely

care about others’ opinions and emotions.
Here’s the problem—many of us have a hard time listening when someone around us is emotional or is disagreeing with us. That’s why it’s helpful to have a few sincere statements or questions in our back pockets..
   Tell me more.
   Help me understand.
   What would you like to see here?
   How long have you felt this way?
The next time one of your kids expresses their opinion… or their hurt… be sure to lend a sincere and empathetic ear, showing loving interest by using the points above. Remember—the more you listen to them, the more likely they’ll listen to you. If the tone turns disrespectful or manipulative, you can always switch gears and repeat, “I love/respect you too much to argue,” or “I’ll listen when your voice sounds calm like mine.”
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay



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