Sunday, March 11, 2012

#10: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

I learned something this week.  The one thing more exhausting than arguing with a two-year old is trying not to argue with a two-year old!  My principle of the week aligned perfectly with my life.  You see, Alan and I started our five-week "Parenting with Love and Logic" class on Monday night.  The first lesson?  How to handle whining and arguing.  A core technique in Love & Logic parenting is to offer your child choices whenever possible.  In my case, "Tyler, do you want to go potty upstairs or downstairs?  Do you want to sit down or stand up?"  The choices help avoid arguments ("I don't want to go potty - CHANGE DIAPER!") because a child feels like they are in control.  They have a sense of power.  I would be lying to say this choice technique works all the time.  It was hit or miss but, then again, my test subject was a two-year old.  I would also be lying to say that this is easy.  It's exhausting!  Formulating choice after choice takes a lot of brain power.  In the end, I'm hoping it will be worth it because I am teaching my son to feel empowered and capable while also avoiding some unnecessary arguments.

Of course, I don't want to avoid arguments only with my two-year old.  I also want to "keep the peace" in other areas of my life.  For example, I walked into the office on Monday fully expecting to be hit with a barrage of arguments.  I'm a Drake Bulldog in an office full of Creighton Bluejays.  After Creighton's Missouri Valley Conference title win last weekend, I was expecting the worst.  Yet I knew that Principle #10 was the name of the game this week ("The  only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it, Marisa.  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it, Marisa...").  So I decided beforehand that I would be gracious and complimentary.  When someone approached me about the game, I would tell them "congratulations" and "it's good news for Omaha."  The result?  Not one person approached me!  Maybe the "forces that be" protect  a person that takes the time to prepare a non-argumentative strategy.  More likely, my co-workers left me alone because it's the thick of tax season and they have no time for such frivoulous things!

Regardless, I learned something.  When possible, it's helpful to prepare for an "argument" by thinking through how you can respond in a non-argumentive manner (aka: how you can avoid the argument altogether).  In Dale Carnegie, we call this process "how to disagree agreeably."  I have found that when I respond in an agreeable way it keeps relationships intact while also giving me more confidence and clarity.  And who wouldn't like a little more confidence and clarity in life?!

1 comment:

  1. Well done, Marisa. We should all work to apply Principle #10.