An argument takes place when two people follow their Shady’s advice. Shady is the part of you that is scared you are not loved and worthwhile so he or she tries to prove that you are.
What better way for our kids to prove their worth then to get mum or dad to lose control in an argument! ‘I am more powerful than mum because she ‘lost it!’’
You will win every argument with your child if you stop doing what Shady says and start doing what Sparky says. Sparky is the part of you that knows you are loved and worthwhile no matter what!
Say for instance you are trying to help your 12 year-old understand the importance of helping around the house. If the dishwasher is empty before dinner it makes it easy for her brother to stack it after dinner so you say, ‘Can you do the dishwasher now please?’
Then your daughter starts with, ‘Can’t I do it later? I’ve just started my homework.’
This is the point at which the argument could start. It is your choice! If you don’t argue you and your daughter both win!
But that’s hard isn’t it because in your head you can hear Shady saying, ‘She has to do it now otherwise her brother will start yelling and screaming after dinner. Then they will be yelling at each other and I’ll have two to deal with.’
Instead of going straight to autopilot and saying that out loud to your daughter, ‘No, you have to do it now!’ just ask in your head, ‘What now Sparky?’ and listen.
Sparky will give you the best solution for you, your kids and your family! For this example my Sparky said to say, ‘Good on you for doing your homework, okay keep going and I’ll swap you a job. I’ll do the dishwasher now, then after dinner could you wash up the stuff that doesn’t fit please?’
Your daughter may agree or try to start an argument again, ‘Why do I have to do anything to help? Can’t you do all of it? You don’t have to go to school all day and then do homework all night!’ If she argues, she is on autopilot doing what her Shady says!
Again your Shady will be saying, ‘Are you kidding me you ungrateful cow? I have way more work to do than you, I’m trying to keep this family going and run my own business… ‘Empty the dishwasher NOW!’’
If you let yourself go off on autopilot the argument is on! Again it’s your choice!
Realistically when you are tired, worn out, hungry or hormonal it just happens, doesn’t it? Before you know it you have said the Shady stuff out loud, she has said the Shady stuff out loud and you are both yelling at each other. So when you realise this is happening do the same thing, stop yourself and ask Sparky, ‘What now?’
Sparky will probably tell you to say something like, ‘Sorry honey I’m tired and hungry, that was incredibly Shady! How about we do it together?’
Even in the worst-case scenario, you storm off and totally lose it, yelling and swearing at her about her being ‘an ungrateful cow and having no idea’ you can still win by apologising later. It is never to late to listen to Sparky!
In summary, you can win every argument with your kid when you do what is best for both of you (at any stage in the argument). You do this when you stop doing what Shady says and start doing what Sparky says!