Solutions For Parents

Middle Childhood » Discipline and Guidance

Ten Year Old Argumentative

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Dear Dr. Susan:

We have a 10-year old son who enjoys fighting with us. He has no problem at school, at after school, or in his other interests (he takes karate). But - when he gets home he argues with us - it is a constant battle. We have tried to talk with him about it - to no avail. We have taken away privileges (like allowance, TV, video games, etc) - to no avail. He tells us he doesn't know why he argues and usually he blames others( like us or his teacher of a friend, etc.) We are concerned that his behavior is due to some other reason and this is the way he is expressing himself - but we are at a loss as to what to try. We believe that we spend a lot of time with our children (we also have a 13-year-old daughter) - help with homework, eat dinner together, go to movies, watch TV, play outside, play games, etc.

Todd and Jane

Dear Todd and Jane:

Ten-year-olds use verbal skills to get what they want. They argue and talk you to death if you let them. Your son is using his arguing to push your buttons. Just walk away and tell him when he is ready to have a conversation, rather than an argument, you will listen. Do not stay in the situation, say, "I will be in the kitchen; we will talk about this when you are calm and can carry on a conversation." Do not engage him in a debate of any kind. You are the parent; you are in charge. You have the ability to control the situation and it is your responsibility to do so. Your children are at ages when they need to express themselves constantly, but there needs to be guidelines and way to do it appropriately.

Susan H. Turben

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