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Disagreeing with Your Kids without Being Disagreeable

Maybe you were hoping when you had kids that you would never have a disagreement with them. After all, when they are young you can mold their mushy young brains to whatever you want them to be. Right? Anyone who thinks that has not been a parent very long. One of the truly wonderful things about becoming a parent is that you are in partnership with the Creator to bring another of His children to this world. A child is a real human being and is fully capable of independent thought. With the exception of the "terrible twos" children do not disagree just to spite you. As way of explanation if you have not yet had a two-year old, you will find that children of that age will sometimes disagree with everything you suggest to them. Not even reverse psychology works on them, so it can be very frustrating or very funny if you still have your sense of humor. At other ages children will disagree with you because they actually have an opinion and a way of thinking that is independent from yours. Most parents, ultimately, would like their children to grow up independent-minded. They probably will grow up to be independent-minded whether you give them permission to or not.So while your children are still in your home, what are some strategies you can employ to keep communication open while children are explaining how and why they disagree with you? First, acknowledge and allow your children to acknowledge their feelings. If something has made them angry, let them so say. If they feel something is unjust, let them explain why. Don't stop there, but encourage them to explain more by saying things like "tell me more about that." Occasionally echo what they are saying by restating in your own words what you believe you just heard them say. This will help you to truly listen and to show your children you are listening. If you can see this issue is going to be a big deal for your child, do not be so quick to jump in with your point of view. If all you can think of while your child is talking is how you are going to refute what they are saying, you may not be really listening.By giving your children plenty of time to explain their views, you are showing that you care about their feelings, thoughts and opinions on a matter. You might actually find out that your child has a valid point and that you were wrong in the first place! By hearing your children out you are showing that you are trying to be fair. Now comes the hard part for some parents. Sometimes even after all the discussion and talking it out, you still must remember that you are the parent. You still must say that you are the parent here; you have the final say because you have the responsibility to take care of your child. Be fair enough to your children to give them as thorough an explanation as you can manage and that they can understand. Sometimes you will need to explain to them that this is what it means to "agree to disagree."

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