Parents need to know how and when to walk away. When your defiant child or defiant teen is gearing up for an argument with you- being abusive to you, calling you names, being rude, or being disrespectful- you must maintain control and put an end to the abusive child behavior. The easiest way to do this is by leaving the scene.
Parents get sucked into arguments with their children. They feel obligated to address the talking back, fighting, and arguing. They view it as their obligation to “correct” their children and demand the respect they deserve. As a result, parents get stuck in these battles of power and will by arguing with their children instead of just simply walking away.
What happens when you engage in a verbal battle with your child is that it destroys your authority and reduces your dignity. In effect, you allow yourself to descend to your child’s level. This creates a situation where you and your child are arguing back and forth as peers. This is not appropriate for you and it is bad for your child. It is something you cannot and should not do as a parent.
You cannot get sucked into an argument.
What you want to do when your child talks to you inappropriately or disrespectfully is say to your child, very clearly,
“I am not going to accept that behavior from you, I am not going to accept that language from you.”
Then you turn around and walk away. Do not take two steps and turn back and argue again or try to get in the last word. You just need to completely disengage and walk away. Go somewhere else. Leave the scene of the argument. Your child cannot argue with you or talk back to you if you are no longer there.
What this does is it establishes that you have certain standards of conduct you expect your child to meet. If your child fails to live up to those standards, you will not engage him anymore in a conversation. You just walk away. Walk out of the scene.
Walking away empowers you. It gives you much more strength in the relationship with your child. Your child will have no alternative, but to stop arguing. He can yell after you, but basically it puts you in power. As the parent, you should be the one in control of the relationship with your child.
The reason some children act abusively toward their parents is because their parents allow it to happen. The parents give the child this power by acknowledging the child’s disrespect and engaging in the argument. When you disengage and walk away, you are claiming the power back from your child. You, the parent, are in control.
And this is how it should be. You must be the one in control. You are the parent. Your child needs this. Walking away is a very powerful technique to maintain control and dignity, even if you have an oppositional defiant child or teenager.
There you will discover “the One Word” that will:
- Control Any Argument with Your Child or Teen
- Give You Authority
- Command and Demand Respect
- Increase Your Dignity
- Show Your Child or Teenager that You’re the One Who’s in Control
Anthony Kane, MD is a physician, an international lecturer, and director of special education. He is the author of a book, numerous articles, and a number of online programs dealing with ADHD treatment, ODD, child behavior issues, and education. You may visit his website, ADD ADHD Advances, and sign up for the ADD ADHD Advances online journal.