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The Last Word

Children who are oppositional are often very intelligent, thus they can be fairly good arguers. Oftentimes their arguments do not hold water, but to them the arguments seem very logical. This makes it very difficult to apply logic in order to get results. Anything you say will be met with an argued response that is completely grounded in a child's way of thinking. For everything the adult says, the child will have a come-back that may not be logical, but is firmly held. Therefore, trying to reason with a child acting this way will only produce an oscillation effect where the adult says one thing and the child responds. The adult responds to that and the child responds again, getting nowhere, et cetera, et cetera. This can go on and on building up the stress level for both the adult and the child.

Try this: Once the discussion begins to oscillate, tell the child that he or she can have the last word. Let them finish and then quickly say thank you. Immediately walk away turning your head and eyesight away from the child. Go help another student, or do some other task that removes your attention away from the child. Don't be idle. Being idle will keep the door open for more agumentive conversation. The goal is to allow the student to feel as if their point was made, and if all goes well, he or she, and the adult, will be left without continued recycling of the argument. Oftentimes the child will be a bit bewildered, but he or she knows that the last word was theirs.

It does no good to continue arguing. No one will win. Let the child have the last word!

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Robert Scorby Copyright January 9, 2007 (all rights reserved)