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Parent Articles


I love You Too Much to Argue with You.

By Chick Moorman


Children don't often come to one of my parent workshops. Parents attend. They come to learn new verbal skills, ways of speaking to their children that uplift, nurture, inspire, and motivate. They learn the 10 best and 10 worst things they can say to children. They learn how to communicate with respect even as they hold children accountable for their choices and behaviors.

It's not that children are not welcome. It's just that the evening program is designed for parents rather than for their children.

But there she was, right in the middle of the crowd. I noticed her four rows back, sitting next to her father. I spotted her half way through my two-hour presentation, "Parent Talk: Words that Empower, Words that Wound." She seemed to be listening intently. I estimated she was between twelve and fourteen years old, definitely an adolescent.

At the conclusion of my seminar, a line of interested parents formed to thank me for coming, have me autograph a book or answer a question they were uncomfortable asking in front of the whole group. It took a half hour for the line to dwindle to the last couple. I looked up to see the young girl. Her father was stranding a few feet behind her.

"I want to get your opinion," she began. "My mother says this to me often, 'I love you too much to argue with you.' What do you think about that?"

What I told her follows: "I think that sentence can be a valuable thing for your mother to say to you," I began. "First of all, she is saying she loves you. I hope you are hearing that. That is a very important part of the message your mother is communicating. I bet she means it."

"The second part of her statement," I continued, "is informing you, she doesn't want to argue. That is a piece of her message that would be useful for you to look at more closely. She is giving you some valuable information here. She is telling you that the way you are presently talking with her is not working. It is being interpreted as arguing."

I suggested, "Tell your mom you want to share your opinion. Let her know you are willing to do that without arguing. Ask for her help. Say, 'I want to share my thoughts and opinions with you. I want to be heard, even if you don't agree with me. Will you help me share my ideas with you in a way that does not come across as arguing? I love you too much to argue with you, too. How can I share so it doesn't sound like arguing?'"

"Your mom will probably welcome the opportunity to talk through a topic with you in a way that does not seem like arguing. Practice that with her a few times until you both get skilled at it. Spend some time after the conversation talking about HOW you were talking about WHAT you were talking about."

Soon the words "I love you too much to argue with you," will be replaced with actions that communicate, "I love you too much not to listen to you."