5. Disagree with Me? Tell Me “why.”

Long gone are the days of blindly following what mom says. My girls, like most girls, are little bundles of developing opinions, and my goodness are those opinions strong. While I frequently disagree with their opinions, I know it’s because mine are formed by 30+ years of life experience, and their view of the world is totally different. And that’s okay. Rather than letting these differing opinions turn into complete household meltdowns, I encourage them to be the gateway to communication. My children know that I’m not always right and that I am open to hearing why they disagree with me. The key is the “why.”

If they want to be taken seriously, they have to present their argument – and not just argue, but debate.

I want them to know their opinions are important and deserve to be respected. I also want them to know that they need to support their opinion with reasoning, rather than just gut emotions. This is a lesson they’re going to need in the real world, when they’ll need to disagree with a professor or a boss, or someone else in a position of authority. I’ve learned (rather painfully, might I add) that approaching these discussions with emotion is the quickest way to have your opinions dismissed. While our house still has to occasional emotional meltdown, we are opening the pathways for peaceful disagreement and reason-based dialogue. By listening to my kids, I’ve learned that they are wise beyond their years. By me listening to them, they’ve learned the value of approaching a conflict calmly and with a rational point.

That’s a Good Question, and I Don’t Know. Let’s Look into It
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