The thought of arguing with one’s kids is about as appealing as eating a bowl of cold lima beans, but if you’d rather not spend a lifetime enduring arguments that make you want to pull your hair out and maybe even give them a leg up in life, Jay Heinrichs at Figures of Speech Served Fresh has some great advice on how to teach them well.
After all, if you know the arguments are going to come, why not make the best of it?
Aristotle’s Guide to Dinner Table Discourse
1. Argue to teach decision-making. When you argue the various sides of an issue with your kids (“Beach or mountains this summer?”), they are learning to present different options (“Both!”) and then decide which choice to follow.
2. Focus on the future. Arguments about the past (“Who made the mess with the toys?”) or the present (“Good children don’t leave messes.”) are far less productive than focusing on what to do or believe: “What’s a good way to make sure that toys get cleaned up?”
3. Call “fouls.” Anything that impedes debate counts as a foul: Shouting, storming out of the room, or recalling past family atrocities should instantly make you choose the opposite side.
Raising smart kids.
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