Hi, I’m Rosie, I therapeutically parent my two adopted brothers, alongside my Mum. Although I don’t always get things right, we have seen a huge improvement in our home since using Therapeutic Parenting and so I am sharing some stories from our life.
It can be very common for children with developmental trauma to argue back a lot when asking them to do something, when telling them not to do something, or sometimes just by looking at them! And of course, the children do it because they need to have control, they don’t know how else to manage their emotions and they are just creating the chaos they feel they need- BUT it’s not easy to live with! It can be constant, and it can be draining. I also think it can be difficult to accept as this isn’t something that would be seen in a workplace or with friends, which builds the belief that this is extremely rude behaviour.
The first thing I did was change my own perception- as an adult, I do not need a child to agree with me for me to be right. It sounds obvious, but once you switch this thinking, you will be drawn into far fewer arguments. When your child is arguing that the socks definitely weren’t in the draw when they looked earlier, you don’t have to engage with them. You can use a couple of key phrases and move on with your day. I’m sure you are busy and have lots of other more important things to think about rather than being dragged down with arguing- so don’t! It’s likely the child will never admit they were wrong, so just save your energy.
Some phrases I have found very useful to not be drawn into the argument but still engaging with the child are;
‘Fancy that’ when they are telling you something you know is absolutely not true.
‘Oh, right’ this is good for not agreeing with them but not telling them they are wrong either.
‘I have decided that…’ If they will not let it go, you can use this to make it clear you will not be persuaded, but you are not debating it either.
My personal favourite- ‘I love/care about you too much to argue with you’ this is great for shutting down the conversation whilst still being kind. And there
really is nowhere the child can take this- if they disagree, you can simply demonstrate your love by not arguing!
Now don’t get me wrong, this can all be met with some huffing, and eye-rolling and even some muttering under their breath, but I have already moved onto the next thing by then knowing I am right, and not feeling so drained.