Coping with an Argumentative Child

Jul 11, 2013

You may be happy that your preschool child talks very much now. You will notice that he has an opinion about a lot of things. There is a fine line between talking a lot and being argumentative. Once a child crosses that line, you might need to step in and make some changes. Here are some ways you can make things better.

House Rules

Your preschool child needs to know that there are some rules that will not be open to negotiation. Things like safety issues such as not talking to strangers and not going near the gas stove fall under this. Daily routines like mealtimes, reading, bedtimes also fall into this category. If you stick it out long enough, your child will stop resisting these rules. If he does argue about turning off the iPad, don’t be tempted to go into a discussion. Just reinstate what has to be done (Turn the iPad off now) and follow it through by taking it from him.


Some preschool children need incentives to comply with some situations. If everyone except your daughter is planning to watch a movie tonight with pizza, let her pick the pizza toppings as a trade-off for agreeing to the movie even if she is not keen. This will show her the rewards cooperation can give. Create a reward system where your child gets points every time he gets out of bed without an argument. Trade these points for his favourite snack at the café or extra TV time!


Make your approach more personal by telling your child something gently and firmly rather than yelling it from the stairs. Instead of making a suggestion like ‘Don’t you think it is time to turn off the lights?’, make it direct like ‘Please turn off the lights now’.

Pick your Fights

With argumentative children, it is sometimes wise to let them have their way. Sometimes. Back down on the small stuff and allow him to make some choices about his life. Going to the park in sandals is fine if that is what he feels like today.

Happy Parenting!