Arguments are normal. Arguments with children are also normal. Arguments with alienated children happen all of the time and can be very emotionally draining, and confusing for you and your child.
Do you believe there’s anybody who has lived a complete life without getting into an argument before? Of course not. We are all unique individuals with differing views on matters. We can’t help but find ourselves in arguments or even escalated fights.
When this happens, it’s comforting to know that it is a one-time event most of the time. When it turns out that it isn’t, one effective strategy to stop this is to leave. That’s to either avoid the person or avoid being there when fights are likely to occur.
It may not be a fool-proof solution, but as some will testify, it works – unless the person is someone you can’t avoid, someone like your child. If asked, most parents will say they love their children. Only a few will admit that dealing with your child can be challenging. When you are dealing with an alienated child this can be even more challenging.
What do you do when the person you’re raising to be strong-willed, decisive, and independent turns these traits on you? What can you do if you and your child can’t stop fighting about everything especially when it is being prompted or created by a high conflict coparent? The power struggle might get exhausting. As mentioned earlier, though, you don’t have the luxury of running from these encounters.
Have you wondered if there is a way out?
Consider some ways to stop the constant fights:
- Remove yourself from the fight. It is not wrong to walk away sometimes. Some psychologists have this to say: They think that sometimes children drag you into an argument in order to wear you down until you give in to what they want. We see this frequently during high conflict custody battles and the children are forced into the battleground by one and sometimes both parents.
- So, your child may argue about a responsibility they might have but want to get out of. Or they might argue to get you to do something you disagree with. They may do this as a poor way of problem-solving because they don’t know any alternative methods.
- An excellent way to stop these kinds of fights is to disengage. Suppose the argument results from something your child needs to do but doesn’t want to. Let there be consequences for their refusal.
- Avoid arguing with your child. Instead, let the consequences of their actions take effect when necessary. Parents find this hard to do when they are divorcing because many parents are making decisions out of fear and not love.
- Many parents struggle because they have allowed things to spiral out of control with a high conflict or narcissistic or borderline co-parent and they allow their fear to manage the situation. As a parent it is your responsibility to learn and master healthy conflict resolution skills so that you can model them for your children. Don’t wait until things have spun out of control before you take action.
- Know your triggers. Sometimes, as much as you’d want to disengage from fights with your child, it can be challenging. Everyone has something that sets them off.
- Maybe you’ll think, “What will my kid be doing when I get home? Lazing around as usual.” Or an action: that eye roll. It could even be a particular time, like when you get home from work and have to interact. Whatever it is, it’s there.
- Take a good look at what triggers you into fighting with your child. Then put up a plan to keep yourself in check when there’s a good chance that you’ll lose your cool. It is an effective way to stop yourself from getting into heated arguments with your child.
- Set a good example. Be an exemplary role model. If you do not want your child yelling, arguing, and fighting all the time, avoid doing it yourself. Show them effective problem-solving methods.
- Have reasonable discussions with them about their frustrations. As you do so, allow them to express themselves. Above all, show them that fighting is not an effective way to resolve issues.
- The only way they’ll learn to do better is if you show them by your actions how to do better.
- Treat your child with respect. Your child might be young, but they also have views on some matters. Show them that you respect their opinions. Don’t always try to be right or have the final say.
- Let your child know that you recognize their views and will consider them. The goal is to make them feel included, not like subjects in a dictatorship. There’s a better chance that they won’t fight against you as much when you do.
We love our children, even those we find hard to deal with. Taking these steps will bring the peace you seek in your home. It will help your children grow to be friendly adults with qualities that will help them thrive. Alienated children can be some of the most difficult children to deal with when you are not healthy and have not healed from your own emotional trauma from your divorce. You owe it to yourself and your children to do the healing work required to assist your children in shifting to a health post-divorce separated family.
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For more in-depth support and guidance, chat with a member of our team. We are here to help.