Why Argue?

Angelism: Tighten your tongue or you will pay the price.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where verbal and physical fighting was non-existent. My parents created an environment for me that was safe, respectful, and peaceful. They were not perfect by any means but the “No fighting” expectation was enforced. My Dad rarely raised his voice and whenever my mom and I disagreed, we would walk away and wait until dad came home to play the mediator. I’m grateful for this sense of calm and structure in my life. I rarely meet people who know how to communicate productively when upset.

People yearn to yell, be right, justify, and judge in a loud, argumentative way to feel better about themselves. Arguing leads to nothing but hurt and pain for both sides. Show me someone who likes to fight and I will show you an unhappy person. People who argue often have huge egos they can’t manage, or are damaged in some way and the fighting is their protective wall to prevent further hurt. Someone who likes to fight will hang up on you, yell and scream at you regardless of who’s around, and walk away from you while screaming, “Eff off!” These fight or flight types blame you for the disagreement, immediately send you nasty emails and texts to continue the argument, and display a variety of emotions when verbally vomiting all over you. They quickly rally a “my side” troop of people to agree and justify their behavior so they don’t look bad or have to feel poorly about themselves.

If you are guilty of the above behavior then you should analyze why you behave so inappropriately in an argument. If you have friends or a mate like this, I wish you luck! There are times where people get heated and passionate about something and there is no other way to express their point of view than to get loud. When you believe strongly on an issue and go the extra mile to stick up for it, then that’s respectable and appropriate. These disagreements are acceptable, however, they should be few and far between. These fights should be shocking and outside of your character norm, not something people come to expect of you. If you have calm in your life and rarely argue then kudos to you.  

With the recent pandemic, 2020 has brought out the ugly in many people. As a country, we are united yet divided. We have job loss, racial injustice, media-madness, homeschooling, and work-from-home. We are being pulled in many directions all while having our normal life limited with constant changes to travel and social restrictions. The frustration within our homes is warranted and is much more difficult to manage at this time. Never forget though that taking your anger out on your loved ones can cause long-term damage. Divorce is on the rise, abuse and suicide are too; we must collect ourselves before engaging in hurtful argumentative interactions especially when those arguments happen around others. Children are genuinely confused about the changes in life, COVID-19 is hard to explain, constantly fighting on top of all this other confusion in life will likely increase their fear and worry.

For all my fighters out there, who argue for the sake of arguing, intentionally disrespectfully drawing attention, or seeking an opportunity to step in and be right so someone else can be wrong, please stop! If you are always in defense mode, I ask, “Are you happy?” Probably not. Get over yourself! Nobody wants to hear your ego’s aggression. Make a goal today to quit being ridiculous. Stop wasting your precious moments constantly trying to prove your point and get digs in on others.

In intimate relationships, do you ever find yourself fighting over the same topic again and again?

For example, do you get mad every day because each night after dinner your husband “forgets” to take out the trash? When he does this, do you go full speed yelling at him about how you do everything and he can’t even take out the trash? What a loser! This is not a good response at all. What you should do is either: (A) embrace the fact that your man is careless, or (B) Make a change that affects him; Say for example that he loves your cooking, tell him, “I have decided I will only cook dinner on the days following your trash run.” If he gets mad, keep your cool, state your point one last time and move on. Your job is to stick to your statement. If he doesn’t take out the trash then you eat your delicious dinner and he can eat his homemade PB&J’s and Top Ramen for as long as he chooses to be unhelpful. Eventually, he will miss you doing things for him. If it seems like he couldn’t care less about taking out the trash, even if it means no home-cooked foods, then know it will never change so stop arguing about it. Everything is give and take. You can’t expect him to change but you can change and set the expectation.  

Most people have high expectations of friends and family and the other person is totally unaware of it. When your emotions and feelings about situations and issues get heated all you should do is express it. Don’t fight. Express your thoughts in a loving, non-confrontational way. It is of no benefit to you, or the other person, to start a screaming match. So much more can be accomplished through calm communication.

Angelism: The best action is to AGREE TO DISAGREE. If we were all alike, our relationships would be boring. The best way to learn, grow, and change, is to recognize your differences, accept them, and move along.

Relationships are successful when you embrace and nurture them instead of slamming the door and running away. The lesson all people should learn from this topic of fighting is: If you are surrounded by people that make you angry, disappoint you, don’t show up for you, or have negative opinions about you, then maybe the arguing is a sign that you need to disconnect. It’s hard for a non-fighter to get along with a fighter. Some people feel more alive picking fights and creating drama. If that’s not you, then a friendship or relationship with that kind of person will not last. Let fighters hang with fighters so they can act ridiculous together. If you have a higher expectation for yourself, then make a goal today to walk away and not engage in arguing.

When and if you do fight, journal it. Anytime you catch yourself getting annoyed and engaging in a discussion that is not addressing or solving an issue ask yourself the following questions:  

1) Why am I mad?

2) Why am I having the thoughts I am having?

3) When did my anger start?

4) Who started the fight?

5) Why could I not stay calm and walk away?

6) What did the other person do to get me to this point? How did I feel?

7) What did I say that I now regret?

8) Is this the first time I am mad about this topic or one of many times?

9) What are my thoughts now that I am calm about the situation?

10) Should I apologize?

11) Can I accept their apology?

12) How can I prevent this kind of fight from happening again?

13) Have things changed that caused this fight?

14) On a level of 1-10 (1: no biggie – 10: you’re dead to me), how bad was this fight?

15) Was I responsible for this fight or did I gossip with others making this person look bad?

16) Can I make a change that will make this situation better for this relationship?  

If fighting is your way of life, the only way to change it is to start within. Take ownership for your part in all arguments. Become aware and work towards creating peace, quality, respect, and love in all your relationships. Life will feel so much sweeter when you surrender the fight!

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Kids & Adults Today

Angelism: “Never underestimate the power of the question WHY? Spend one hour with a 3 year old engaging with them non-stop and you may begin to think you have lost your mind.”

Ever notice that everything an adult asks of a child, the kid does the opposite? I have realized it’s impossible to reason with youngsters. I don’t have my own children to compare this to, however I have spent a lot of time working with kids. I helped raise a few in my family, babysat in my younger years and have worked part-time as a nanny. Most of my observations come from everyday life. It’s fascinating to observe kids doing the exact opposite of what adults request of them. When you tell them to do something or stop doing something, be prepared for the question “WHY?” to follow. Every answer you give them will not be good enough and will be followed up with “WHY?” Before you know it your head will be spinning.

Here are some of my examples. I’m sure many of you parents will relate. Is there a logical explanation for this behavior? My conclusion is that kids are here to test your patience in every way possible regardless of how good you are to them.
 
Bedtime: You ask a child to go to bed and they say, “No, I want to stay up for 10 more minutes.” That 10 minutes turns into 20, which turns into 30, which is really just a way for them to get your attention every 10 minutes for the last hour of bedtime. When you tell them for the last time to go to get their butt in bed they ask “WHY?”
Washing hands: You tell a child to wash up and they may run a finger or two from one hand under the water. They show up at the table with that finger or two still wet and swear that they washed their hands even though they are still filthy. When you ask them to wash them again they ask “WHY?”
Taking a shower: You expect your little one to shower and get cleaned up, they turn on the shower, stand under the water for 10 minutes, never touch the soap or shampoo but assure you they are perfectly clean. When you ask them to soap up and get clean they ask “WHY?”
Doing homework: You have them sit down after school to do homework and what should take an hour, they somehow finish in 10 minutes. Kids often fill in the answers with a bunch of numbers and words that have no relevance to the assignment but it looks done and that’s all they care about. They assure you the teacher won’t mind but the mess they created is all because they refuse to read directions because all they can think about is playing. When you tell them to re-do it they ask “WHY?”
Putting clothes in the hamper: I don’t care how many times you ask a kid to use the hamper you will always walk in their room to find the clothes on the floor. When you tell them to put the clothes in the hamper for a third time they ask “WHY?” and claim they will do it later.
 
Throwing out trash: Wrappers, papers, bottles and any other thing that is trash will end up in places you don’t want it. A child would rather leave their trash in your car or purse then take it with them to throw out. You tell them to pick up their stuff and throw out their own trash and they ask “WHY?”
Watching television: It is impossible to get a child away from the TV. When they are glued to a program you could say the house is on fire or a superhero is at the front door and they would not budge nor look away from the TV. If you tell them, “It’s an emergency!” they will ask “WHY?”
Noise level: A child has no sense of quiet or how to remain quiet for the sake of others. Their volume is always at the level of screaming and yet they expect you to listen to them when they never listen to you. You request that they be quiet so their little sibling can fall asleep and instead of respecting that request they ask “WHY?” and go right back to screaming.
Telling the truth: Truth is not an option. It is the job of the adult on duty to play investigator. All kids lie about everything – Where they were, what they were doing, who they were with and so on. Researching and interrogating is the only way to ever know anything. When you express to them that their story doesn’t make sense and you don’t believe they are telling you the truth they say, “WHY?”
Meals: All kids are picky about food. They want only what they like and half the time you make what they want and that isn’t good enough. At dinner all they can talk about is dessert. A kid will never be hungry enough for dinner but is always starving and screaming for dessert. Watch out if you have a dog because it’s likely the dog is getting more nutrients from the meal than your child. If you tell them to finish their dinner or they get no dessert expect them to ask “WHY?”
Shopping: If you need to shop for adult stuff, you must bargain with your child to get them to go. Then you are challenged with getting them to behave well and stay calm during the time you need to run your errands. However if it’s shopping for them, (Toys R Us for example), what’s in that for you? Absolutely nothing but an empty wallet and a child who can’t make up their mind because there are too many toys to choose from. You tell your child to pick one toy and they say, “WHY? I want all three.”
Toys: It is impossible for a child to appreciate a toy for longer than a week. You buy these plastic pieces of junk against your will and after the thrill is over you have more trash in your house. You tell your kids to respect their toys and they break them or sometimes lose them on purpose so they can get new ones. If you tell them they will not get a replacement toy you will get a big fat “WHY?” in return.
 
Brushing teeth: This is much like washing hands. I think the toothbrush is what really gets clean. It gets toothpaste, gets dipped in water, then has smeared toothpaste on it, then gets rinsed. I think kids believe that since they put the toothbrush in their mouth and tasted toothpaste for a second then the job is done. I’m shocked kids even have teeth since they put so little effort into brushing. If you tell them to brush harder and better they say, “WHY?”
Personal details: You tell your children some family matters are private and should remain in your own home. Out of the blue your in-laws call you wondering why you and your husband are fighting so much in front of the kids. Way to go kids! Sharing fight details with grandma because Dad came home late totally wasted which worried me is none of their business. When you tell your kid they did something wrong and should not share that personal information with family ever again they ask “WHY?”
These are a few things that kids and parents/adults can’t agree on. Did I miss anything? Don’t get me wrong, kids are great and there are plenty of things they do that is precious and wonderful. I really adore children and am always inspired by them because they see things in such a dreamy way. I simply find it interesting that no matter what the situation, kids will test your patience and push your buttons in ways you never thought possible. Take a deep breath and remember, it’s “time outs” now, no yelling or spanking allowed. It will be interesting to see how the new generation of children grow up. They are in control, not the parents. One spanking and they are turning you into Child Protective Services. When I was growing up I had to do everything my parents told me 24/7 and if I didn’t I got spanked, got my favorite things taken away, or was grounded. I wasn’t rewarded for being good, I was expected to be good. Now kids run the show and parents bribe them with candy, toys, play-dates and money to get them to do things. Times have definitely changed. It’s a new way of thinking. Only time will tell if its better or worse.
To all Moms and Dads, I admire your work and your willingness to face the challenge of parenthood. It’s truly the hardest job in the world. May your minimum 18 years of raising your kid/kids be amazing and memorable and may you not lose it when your children ask you, “WHY?”