Drop the Contentiousness (It’s Entirely Unnecessary)

It’s so tempting to fall into the mode of everything-I-say-to-you-is-a-matter-of-life-or-death.  We want our children to listen to us.  And so we find the best voice and posturing that gets us a sense that we are being listened to.  But if we are not careful, we slip into a much more contentious approach than we need to employ.  It’s entirely unnecessary to use contentiousness as a parenting strategy.  Our children will either choose to listen to us or they won’t.  And what will encourage them to listen better is not a greater degree of contentiousness from us.  Try to tone it down a little.  Just try.  Try to speak with some warmth and tenderness.  Just try.  Drop the contentiousness altogether.  Just try.  We act that way because we are (often) frustrated.  And we (often) feel disrespected.  It’s enough for us to recognize these things in our selves.  We don’t need to take our frustration or our sense of being disrespected out on our children.  This has a reverse effect than the one we are hoping for.  Yes, it’s okay for our children to see and hear our humanness, but this happens when we speak with calm assertiveness about what we are thinking and feeling and what we are requesting—not when we unleash the negative on them simply because we don’t know what else to do.  Our children will come around.  Sometimes it just takes some time and persistence.

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