14 answers

11 Year Old That Likes to Argue

So here is my problem, I have an 11 yo son that loves to argue. The only problem is he only does this with me. I am really at my wits end on how to handle him. I have tried ignoring him when he gets like this and he just keeps at it. I could say the sky is blue and he will follow me around talking about how the sky is a different color. If I agree with him, to avoid the arguement, he will switch sides and say it really is blue. The only time he doesn't do it is when my husband is home. He is not like this at school, at church, with his dad, grandparents, aunts or uncles. It is just with me. Has anyone else had this problem with a child? If so, how did you handle?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well, I have tried several things from walking away to listening to him and engaging in mild debate. Everything seems to encourage him, so I have just decided this is who he is and pick my battles with him. If it isn't a big deal I will debate with him, if he pushes it and becomes disrespectful I end it. We sat down and came up with a way that he would know he was pushing to far and if he continues there are set conseques such as losing cell phone and or computer priviledges for the day. I can't say the situation is any better, because he is now doing this with everyone. It has caused a few problems at school and with his dad and older sister. I have tried to explain that there is a time and a place, but of course, it starts a debate. :) So I don't know if I helped the situation or made it worse. I appreciate all the advice. You guys are great!

Featured Answers

When you find an answer let me know. I've heard of the same problem from all the moms on the other boards I enjoy. The ages range from 9 to 14. They have to be right and will push the boundries. I don't know how to stop it. I just sit down with my son and tell him it's disrespectful. So far, that hasn't helped much. LOL. Good luck!!! And like I said, If you get any really great advice let me know.

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More Answers

He argues with you because he knows you will be there no matter what. Kids act the worst sometimes with their parents because they are their safety net. He knows you will love him regardless.
That said, he also argues because he knows at some point you will cave.
You could do the love and logic approach, "I love you enough not to argue with you" and walk away.
However, I have never found that to work.
I would sit him down and talk to him about respect first. Then remind him people can have differences of opinion, that is fine, it is not fine however to be disrespectful to a parent. I would explain you will always listen to him if he comes to you in a respectful manner and stops trying to pick a fight.
I have many times over trivial stuff told my seven year old "you have a right to think that way, that is fine, however you need to sometimes remember I have been on earth a lot longer"...hee hee.
I would say start implementing the three strikes rule.
He has one freebie, he argues about anything, just simply say "well that was warning one, I am your mother and you will respect me and not argue with me"
Next time, then implement a punishment, "no watching TV the rest of the day if you say one more word"
Then thirdly, "guess what, I have listened to you and will always until you start to argue, I asked you to be respectful and since you cannot listen to me, then guess what, no TV or computer (or whatever works for him) the rest of the day".
I always remind my kids the next day they get to start fresh and get another chance the next day, I remind them THEY did this to themselves (as far as punishment), not me.
Good luck.
If you don't argue back then there is not an argument. He needs to learn that if he debates someone he isn't always right and that he needs to be respectful. It isn't easy!
Hang in there!

3 moms found this helpful

A.,
If he is only doing this with you, it might be because he is finding your response rewarding. Who knows why - is he wanting your attention? Does he just enjoy pushing your buttons? There could be many reasons, but until you figure it out, try the Love and Logic approach: simply repeat only these words: "I love you too much to argue with you." That way you are not ignoring him, invalidating him, or engaging him. I don't thin k it is enough to say it once and walk away, because he will just follow you. For awhile, it will be a whole new challenge to see if he can get you to move past that response. I just say the same darned thing over and over at appropriate intervals (like maybe every 5 minutes). I also don't curtail my other conversation (like if I am making dinner, I will still say: "please get the milk" or something, but in regards to the point he is arguing, I will continue to say: "I love you to much to argue with you." You can even say it with a sweet smile, and a peck on the cheek - that really throws off their game! After a while you won't even feel annoyed, because your energy will be focused on freaking him out by being sweet and happy while refusing to engage in his argument!

I also have an arguer (a future litigator, I think!), and it takes alot of discipline to avoid contributing to the argument, but practice makes perfect! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Most probably, A., he knows that you are the safest spot in the entire world, and this is where he can experiment.
Nothing wrong, absolutely, he goes through the stage of investigating, and he is not trying to annoy you or make you feel bad. In fact, as I said, he knows you are the safest person in the world, so in a strange way, it is a great compliment to you.
At diffeent ages, my son went through the time when he was telling me ALWAYS "yes-no", no matter my question or sentence that I posed him. He just said "Yes-no", or "I will- I will not" , "I want - I don't want".
Like:
"Do you want sugar in your tea?"
"Yes-no".
"Shall we go fishing this weekend?"
"We will - we will not".
And, I could not get any more reasonable response from him for MONTHS. I just had to make my own decisions.
Then, he grew out of it and started speaking normally again.
I guess, he was in the stage of investigating somehing, and did not make a big deal out of it.

Now, for you, what to do?
1. you van join the game, but do not make it upsetting, know when to stop, to show him only that you ALSO enjoy this research, so to say. BEFORE he gets a chance to oppose you, catch the moment and do the same to him: he will definitely say something, any word, and you PLAYFULLY turn it around. If he will not get VERY annnoyed, you may continue adopting him game for longer. See what happens.

2. BE CREATIVE! For instance, you can QUIT TALKING for three days to a WEEK!!! Write him notes, hug him when approving, frown when in disagreement, and do not speak at all. I wonder if he will start carrying his research on to your facial expressions and written notes as well. If he does, you can also take it to extreme. Having a great sense of humor, can you imagine what will happen then:
you frown, he smiles. You frown more 'severely' he laughs. You stomp your foot, he will roll on the floor with laughter...
Well, this is but one of the options, right, but now you suddenly fall on the floor laughing hard also, and it will be his turn to stopm his feet anf frown.

This kind of approach will convince him in one thing : YOU ARE THE COOLEST MOM IN THE WORLD, because YOU UNDERSTAND!

Warning: by no means, never ever do not start punishing him, do not get upset, do not try to prevent it from happening. It just won'r work for good. He is a great enthusiastic creative kid, your task is to catch up with him, and join HIS team: it will play miracles in the long run. remember: you two are friewnds for a lifetime, right?! It is not about who wins now, it is about how to be happy together.
His brain is developing, going through many stages of adjusting to this world, and he learns to cope with it, to react and act accordingly: where would he gain his experience of how to interact here, if he does not experiment. He chose you as a safe field and companion for experimentations, do not puch him aside, this is a gift: you see what is going on, you can very subtly monitor it also, retaining his trust, and seeking for the ways of guiding him, slowly but surely, to wisdom.
yes sometimes we need to sacrifice our comfort, but trust me, it is well worth it. Just, change the point of view now on this situation, and look at him as a little scientist who is exploring the socio~psychology of the world... and help him on his road.

M.

2 moms found this helpful

I really got a lot out of the book "How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk." It's been out forever and you could find it at the library or cheap online. It has helped me avoid a million circular arguments that weren't getting anyone anywhere, just adding contention. Sometimes people just need to be heard, and this book taught me how to validate that in my kids without getting sucked into an argument. I often say, "You really feel strongly about that!" or "I can tell you've really been thinking about that," or, "I wonder about that, too. What do you think? How do you think other people see it?"
Good for you for being a responsive, available mom! Your son wouldn't talk to you at all if he didn't trust you to love him. . . I hope the argumentative phase fads so you're not going crazy. ;)

1 mom found this helpful

He's discovered how to get your goat! This is kinda typical of boys this age. It's fun, for some reason, for them to irritate someone like this. So just don't let him see you irritated.

If it's something incidental (like the color of the sky) just say "ok, if you say so" and end it there. If he continues to bug you (follow you around the house etc) look at him directly in the eye, use his name, and say "that is enough." Be very firm but not mean. Let him know you are done with it.

If it's something really important (critical for health/safety or family rules, for example) tell him, again very firmly, looking right at him, and using his name "that is how we do it in this family. You don't have to like it, but I expect you to follow our rules." Don't bend, and don't be afraid to enforce consequences if he doesn't show you the respect you are asking for.

1 mom found this helpful

My little brother does it to me. You can either ignore it, go send him to another room, or you go to another room, something like that. You can't ever win, so there is no point in still talking to them about it. Sorry, I know it isn't much help, but it's better than losing your temper and yelling at him.

1 mom found this helpful

My now 16 year old DD was and still can be that way. I KNOW your frustration, everything I said was "up for discussion". Really all of my kids have done it to some point but she was the worst. As hard as it is simply say "I am done discussing this with you, maybe later, if you have something new to add we can talk about it some more", and the hard part is DO NOT DISCUSS IT ANYMORE at that point, if he comes back 3 hours later to restart the conversation, have it, but once you are at the breaking point make it clear that the topic is closed for good. It doesn't always work and there was a time or two where I would just send them to thier room. But once they figured out that when I said I was done and meant it, the arguing slowed way down.

As a side note and a good thing, my DD is a fabulous debater, and does extreemly well in anything that requires a pro and con type answer, it's a good thing when they enter high school!! So that could be your silver lining.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
My guess is that there is an underlying issue with your son.
When was the last you agreed with something your son said.
Is there a possibility that both of you are playing the "right" game? I am inviting you to sincerely find something that you can listen to and agree with, with your son. Since it is only happening with you, perhaps it is something that you can change.
With my whole heart,
C.

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