Sunday, February 7, 2010

How to Disagree with Your Adult Child Without Straining Your Relationship


In any healthy relationship, disagreements occur inevitably. Disagreeing with your adult child; however, is something you would like to avoid as much as possible, but this is not feasible as there would always be specific instances that you have to disagree.

You can do this without creating fireworks or straining your relationship.

Here are some pointers that could be used effectively:

1. Always assure him that your primary concern is his welfare.

If you are disagreeing on a decision, point the detrimental effects it would have on him and his well-being. Let him understand the reasons why you disagree. You could write them on paper for clarification and explain them to him, one by one.
2. Do not launch a personal attack.

Don't say," you're thinking like a child." Or "That's a fool's point of view". Say instead, "You may have a point there, but you see" then continue to present the merits of your argument.

3. Do not shout.

You can disagree without raising your voices. Disagreeing does not mean having a shouting match. You can stress your point by speaking calmly. If he yells at you, remain in sotto voce' and don't do likewise. Eventually he would tone down if you continue to speak evenly. No rational person would remain screaming on top of his lungs when the other person he's talking to is so unruffled.

4. Refrain from making him as an example.

Disagreeing with him does not mean he is wrong. You have your imperfections too. Being older does not denote invincibility. Remember that he is arguing from his own point of view, according to his exposure and his own experiences. Ideas and opinions are relative.

5. Cite specific, true to life examples

You could convince him to your point of view by citing specific, true to life examples of famous people. Do not create fictitious character just to win an argument. Unquestionable facts and data would help you prove a point.

6. Have a sense of humor

Inject some humor into your conversation. This would imply to him that you are not in a "fight," but in a discussion. It would also break the ice and make things lighter.

7. Do not butt in while he is still taking.

This is a basic rule observed in any given oral interaction; it demonstrates respect for your child. You are teaching him good breeding. Don't interrupt while he is talking. He will take the cue and won't butt in too, when it's your turn to talk.
8. Be aware of your non-verbal cues.

Keep a minimum physical distance. Do not be feet apart from him while talking. Being physically distant signifies that you consider your conversation a barrier.
You can put an arm around his shoulder to show that in spite of the disagreement, this does not change your good relationship as father and son.

You should make your son aware that it is normal for people to disagree on certain things; that in spite of your disagreement, you are still his parent and he - your son; that you still love him no matter what.


4 comments:

jakill said...

Great article Jena. Lots of very useful pointers.

Virginia Gaces said...

Hi Jean,

Thanks a lot. I am wondering if you have already a teenager. lol all the best.

jakill said...

Oh Jena. LOL indeed. I have a teenage grandchild. My own two teenagers were quite a few years ago.

tashabud said...

Hi Jena,
I like this post. Even I could use some of these pointers, now that my children are adults.

You're a wise owl, Jena. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.

Tasha

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