What To Do When You Disagree

A Great Idea …

“So the issue is not whether you and your child will get into struggles; you will. The issue is how you will resolve them and how you and your child will feel when you walk away from the dispute…Children, in general, like to feel that their opinion was heard and considered (even if it didn’t carry the day), and they are more likely to comply in the future if they believe a dispute was handled fairly than if they think it was not.”  (Psychologist Laurence Steinberg, in his book The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting, pp. 98-99)

In Other Words …

Children need to feel respected just as much as we adults do. If our children don’t feel that they are being listened to, they will often become resistant, resentful, and rebellious. When we take time to understand and appreciate what our children have to say, they will be much more likely to respect our ultimate decisions. In our dealings with children, we are not only helping them make good decisions, we’re teaching them a process for understanding.

How This Applies to You …

The next time you and your child disagree on something, take time to hear and consider the child’s point of view. Describe back to the child what you like about his or her position. Then, if your view is different, tell why you favor the decision you do. You may not persuade your child but you can show respect.

To Find Out More …

For an excellent (and free!) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at and if your children are younger than six, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting by Laurence Steinberg or Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *