"There are no argumentative children; only adults who argue with children."

She's (M)Asking for Trouble

Question

My 9 year old daughter called me dumb this morning because we had a disagreement about the way you put on a mask. I was very upset and blew up and lost it on her. She was right about the mask and how to put it on, but her calling me down is not appropriate. How should I deal with it? I admit I did lose control.

Answer

My first question: Did you "lose it" because of her using disrespectful language ("dumb") directed toward you? Or did you "lose it" because you thought she was wrong about how to put on a mask? I'm going to assume you "blew up and lost it" because of her disrespectful tone and language. Therefore there are a couple things at play here:

1. I sense you regret "losing control".... It sounds like you don't feel justified or righteous in losing your temper to the extent that you did. If that is the case, a heart-felt apology may be in order. And obviously, you don't want to role-model blowing up and a lack of emotional resilience during intense discussions.

2. But of equal or more importance, your daughter should never disrespect her mother (or anyone) using such a hurtful word as "dumb." The 3 D's of Disrespect, Disobedience, and Defiance cannot be tolerated and should be taken as a serious offense. You are right: her calling you down is totally inappropriate. Whether one is right or wrong concerning the issue of mask-wearing or any other issue is irrelevant. Can you imagine if she called a future boss "dumb" to his face, just because he made a decision or policy with which she didn't agree?!? But nowadays, parents consistently allow the 3 D's to occur, thinking they can't do much about it.

Discuss the idea of the 3 D's with your daughter, and let her know that any misbehavior of that sort will be dealt with seriously, and the next time she resorts to using any of them toward you, enforce a consequence--one that is memorable, and causes some emotional pain; the goal being to eliminate that kind of serious misbehavior. Good luck!

Mike Smart CLPC
"Parenting OutSmarted"
smartmike@gmail.com

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