Dear Dr. Debra,
I have three
children whom I home school. My oldest son is in eighth grade. Heís
a very argumentative boy. Some of it seems like his personality. But
lately heís wearing me out with all the debating. He likes to
discuss politics, and Iíve tried telling him he needs to look up the
facts first, not just let loose with his opinions. Iíve recently
given up on the idea of home schooling him through high school, and
told him that next year, Iím sending him to our local Lutheran High
School. But in the meantime I need some suggestions on how to handle
child develop negotiating skills is important. However, your son
already sounds gifted in this area. Perhaps he will grow up to be a
lawyer or politician, where his debating skills will be valued. But
until that time, you have to find the energy to both be a parent and
a teacher to him.
setting limits on issues on which you donít intend to budge. Say,
ďThis is not open to debate.Ē But at other times, be willing to
listen to his opinion and allow for a compromise.
Iíd give him a
forum for his political debating. Pick a night where he can give his
own presidential debate. The family can be his audience. Tell him in
order to give his speech, he first needs to do his research. Arrange
a ďpodiumĒ for him so he feels like an actual candidate.
Then listen to
his philosophies, and applaud when he is finished. If anyone chooses
to counter any of his points, he or she must go to the ďpodiumĒ and
meantime, if he tries to argue politics with you, remind him he has
his scheduled debate time. If he persists, tell him he will lose his
performance privilege if he continues arguing.
Iím going to
make a larger suggestion that Iíd like you to consider. It might be
a good time to send your oldest son to the Lutheran school now,
instead of waiting until next year. This would remove you from the
role of his teacher and leave you to just be his mother.
If you donít have to do both, you will have more energy in
dealing with him and in home schooling your two younger children.
Your son would
probably thrive in a private school environment. There he can
practice his debating with his teachers and fellow students. Heíll
be stimulated, but will also experience losing arguments to others
with more knowledge or oratory skill.
Feel free to
write me with your questions.
Debra Holland, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist
who specializes in relationships and communication techniques.
To read previous 'Ask Dr. Debra' articles, please
where Dr. Debra is a regular contributor, or
click here to view
the archives. Dr. Debra Holland is also a regular
contributor to the
Noodle Posse Blog.
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