Monday, February 23, 2015

Raising an Only - The Argue Factor

I would love to say that I've raised my daughter as a diligent Christ follower who is sweet and kind and doesn't debate with anyone.

I'd be snorting the coffee out my nose if I said that!

Well, yes she is a Christ follower, but the sweet/kind/doesn't debate.... Yeah.  The fact is that one of the drawbacks of raising an Only Child is that they don't know how to argue.

Yes, I hear some of you Only Raisers arguing (ha, get it?) "oh, Land's Sake my kid can argue, what are you talking about?"  But hear me out.

I'm saying they don't know how to effectively argue.

Big difference.

This came to light this last year at our teenager's high school conferences.  English Lit class is all about debating and conversing and opinions and all.  One day I noticed that my daughter got an F in participation.

Say what?  4.0 kid with an F in participation?

When this was nicely brought to the teacher's attention, she kindly remarked, "K didn't raise her hand and join in the discussion.  She's an only child, isn't she?"

Say what?  What's that got to do with it? (and yes, it's taken me fifteen years to get here)

My has-19-reasons-why-she-can't-unload-the-dishwasher kid wouldn't express her point of view?

The journal I purchased for my
teenager so she could write down
everything we are doing wrong.
I figure it saves her time in therapy.
No, because she doesn't know HOW!  As an only child, who does she have to argue with?  No one came along and stole a toy from her mouth at three months (or three days).  No one has ever walked into her room and copped her favorite shirt from her closet.  No one else in the family got the bigger piece of cake.

So my Only doesn't know what it's like to have to scrap and fight for what she wants.  There's no learning how to effectively debate, "mom, brother took the last bag of Doritos and won't let me have any."

This has led to the opposite side of the milk-toast pedilum where she is completely harsh about expressing her point of view.  She screams her "side" because she is not used to having to defend herself.  So then she sucks at it and it has the reverse effect that she wants.

It is a line we often have to walk in having to teach her about a world outside herself.  She has joined the debate club in high school and seems to be getting better at viewing her side of things.  We are constantly using the phrase "rephrase that so I want to hear you." so she can go out in public and not bowl people over.

So those of you who are tired of the multiple-kid-bickering in your house; it's actually helping to create a healthy base for conversation later in life.  Just keep duct tape and/or earplugs handy!

This Series Started Here:  Raising an Only - No Do-Overs

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