When I *need* an argument...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BestICan, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Last night difficult child was tired and stressed (a big report took up his evening so he didn't get his screen time). He started a little bit of a tantrum, which I ignored, and he sorta got over it. Then he became very oppositional - won't put his jammies on, won't brush his teeth, blah blah blah.

    I was prepared from a recent therapy session to ignore, sidestep, etc., his comments. I didn't engage.

    His response was, "Geez, Mom, when I really need an argument you never have one with me."

    This stopped me in my tracks. I asked him what he meant, and he said that having arguments makes him feel better when he's feeling bad. I know this is the motivation behind a lot of the teasing he does with his little brother, and I know he gets oppositional when stressed, but it was very interesting to hear it in his own words.

    So I praised him for being "so smart that he can say how he feels inside" and left it at that.

    Guess it's all fodder for the next therapy session.
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    A good counselor can have a hayday with that info. Kudos to your dude for putting it into words. Recognition is the first step!
  3. Coookie

    Coookie Active Member


    "Geez, Mom, when I really need an argument you never have one with me."

    Isn't that amazing... :smile: Such truth spoken. :smile: That was one of the techniques I used (still do) with my difficult child to avoid meltdowns. Not letting him drag me into an argument. Didn't work all the time, but more times than not. :smile: It seemed that when he could drag me in he felt more powerful.. and he was.. :slap:

    Out of the mouths of babes. :smile:

  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Yup, nothing like an adrenaline rush to make you feel better. I know my daughter is an adrenaline junkie. She thrives on chaos. It took me awhile, but I've learned to ignore a lot of it. It is making a difference in her demeanor. It seems as if she doesn't need the adrenaline as much now, but there are still the occasions when she. just. won't. quit. until she gets her argument.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    WOW! Bravo! For both of you.
    I have a friend like that. Used to be my best friend... now being phased out, for obvious reasons. I am SO glad your difficult child has you for a mother, to help him learn more constructive ways to deal with-his emotions. Kudos to you! And hugs.
  6. PersonalEnigma

    PersonalEnigma New Member

    Something I tried with difficult child just for fun was to set up a debate with him. Just pick any subject and have him argue one side and you argue the other. There's no personal feelings in it (choose a subject not too close to heart or at least make him/you argue the side you don't believe in) so the argument isn't emotionally painful. You do, however, get the "kick" of adrenalin from the arguing part of the debate :wink: difficult child loved the idea - I need to try it some more still, but it seems like a good idea when he just wants to "argue for the sake of arguing".
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Chalk up another mark for another parent who's child for whatever reason is a chaos junkie.

    It was semi-explained to my semi-understanding that the brains of difficult child's are NOT like other peoples and it's really a zooming, speeding mess up there. To have peace is a lifetime achievement some never have. A work in progress for sure. But My son was a lot more comfortable when there was Drama, chaos, and yelling. When we removed ourselves from the equation = it literally meant that he was hell-bent and glory bound to FIND or CREATE the same comfortable chaotic atmosphere where his brain felt normal.

    Learning effective communication techniques, and applying them were very helpful. I would NOT want to know what life with Dude in our house would have been if we hadn't learned it. I don't know what is under hell - but that's where we would have been.

    Good job mom ! :warrior:
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    difficult child's therapist actually prescribed arguing therapy at one time when difficult child was doing this. I'm sure you know what it's like to have a kid that can and would argue with a wall. Nothing I said or did was right. If she asked me what time it was and I said 3:00 she'd say, no, it's not; it's 3:01. :faint:

    She recommended I say to difficult child that it seems like she really needs to argue so ok, let's argue. And then make up some mock thing - kinda goofy even - to argue about. It really took the wind out of her sails. She didn't know how to respond. Then she tried to be annoyed, but she couldn't keep the smile from creeping onto her face. Then I'd say, oh no. No smiling allowed. We're arguing. Then, of course, she'd start laughing.

    It might not work with all kids and not with all moods. I really had to watch how difficult child's mood was before using it. If she was really over the top, it would just push her all the way into a rage. But, if she was just arguing for the sake of arguing it would work.

    Sometimes I think it's a habit they get into. They're so used to using that as their outlet, that they don't know any other way. I guess it becomes a coping mechanism. For everything. difficult child still argues with me, of course. But not over everything. It helped her to find other ways to diffuse the situation.
  9. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow, you have just spoken for our household, for sure. difficult child just picked a fight with me, after a 3 day self imposed "peace vacation". Really.........I know he does it just to vent! Like a volcano that can only be calm for so long, and then explodes spewing molten lava on innocent civilians. Makes me crazy! And then again, I am the one who so easily takes the bait. Sigh.
    Good ideas on how to alter these episodes guys. Thanks.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good for you for not engaging and good for him for putting into words how he was feeling. :bravo: