The One Word that Will Allow You to:

  • Control Any Argument with Your Child or Teen
  • Give You Authority
  • Command and Demand Respect
  • Increase Your Dignity
  • Show Your Child or Teenager that You’re the One Who’s in Control

  • When your child argues with you, it can:

    *    Destroy your authority
    *    Erode respect
    *    Frustrate you
    *    Leave you feeling helpless, not knowing what to do

    Even if you get your way, the mere fact that you need to argue with your child takes away from your position as the parent, the one in charge.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    You can maintain control even when your child is arguing with you.  And you can do this with one word….

    The word is ‘and’…

    Here is how it works:

    Let’s say that your child is arguing with you about something.

    Let your child state his case without interrupting.  If your child is really heated up about the issue he may go on and on. You can tell that he is out of ammunition when he starts to repeat himself.

    Once your child has finished venting, now it is your turn.

    You reply in a three part sentence.

    In part one you address your child by name and restate your
    child’s position.  This establishes that you are listening.

    Part two is the word ‘and’.  The word ‘and’ is better than ‘but’ because ‘but’ implies conflict where the word ‘and’ does not.

    In reality you are not in conflict.  You both want what is best for your child.  You just have different opinions of what that is.

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    Part three is what you want your child to do and that he is expected to comply.  There is no further discussion on the point, no further debate, and no negotiating on the matter.

    How is your child going to respond to this approach?

    He is going to hate it. Your child will be upset, he will argue, he may scream about how unfair you are.  However, the most you ever do is to restate your original three part statement.

    There is no negotiating and explanations here.  You may even leave the room if you need to do so.  Just don’t get sucked into an argument.

    So this is what it sounds like:

    “Mom, you are so unfair.  All my friends are going away skiing in Vermont this weekend and you are not letting me go.”

    “Yes, Suzie, you feel that I am being unfair not letting you go and I maintain that you don’t go.”

    “I can’t stand it.  You are treating me like a little child. Why can’t I go?”

    “I understand Suzie that you feel that I am treating you like a child and I am refusing to let you go.”

    “I hate you. You let Brad do anything he wants but you never let me do anything.”

    “I understand, Suzie, that you feel that I let your older brother do things and I don’t let you do them and I am saying you cannot go.  Now please excuse me.  I need to go to the kitchen to get dinner ready.”

    Is this going to work every time?  No.  Nothing will work every time.  There is no magic here.  However, what will happen is that you will not get side tracked onto other issues.

    You will walk away from these confrontations feeling empowered and dignified, rather than feeling like a worn out rag.

    The power of this strategy is that even when it doesn’t make a bad situation good, it does make it better than it would be if you get sucked into the conflict.

    Another great thing about this approach is that it works for all ages.  You can begin using this approach as soon as your child is old enough to talk back and continue using it until your child is old enough to move out of the house.


    Anthony Kane, MD

    Please place your comments below and let me know how you like this

    If you would like to have a quick step-by-step plan on how to end your child’s difficult behavior forever and your child is between the ages of 2 and 11:

    Please go to:

How to Improve Your Child’s Behavior