8 Reasons Why I Encourage My Child To Disagree With Me

by Pamela Li for Fatherly
Originally Published: 
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I let my daughter talk back. In fact, I encourage her to talk back. I believe there are great advantages in allowing your child to do so. These are some valuable lessons that I think my daughter can learn from being encouraged to talk back:

1. Disagree Respectfully

My daughter learns to express her disagreement without using any insult or attack. Instead, she learns to calmly and respectfully state her objection.

2. Respect Others

Because I respect my daughter and her opinion, she learns to respect me. She’s never been intentionally disrespectful to me or her father. Even when she sometimes displays seemingly disrespectful behavior, it’s because, at 4 years old, she doesn’t yet understand that it’s disrespectful. I just need to point this out to her, and she won’t do it again.

3. Be Assertive

It is important for kids to learn to be assertive, but even more so for a female to learn this and not be afraid to speak up.

4. Think Critically

If my daughter gives me good reasons, I will change my mind about my decision, too. If not, I tell her why. She learns to think about an issue from multiple angles. And for me, hearing her side of the story also allows me to understand things from her perspective, and reevaluate my parenting decisions and things that I may have forgotten to consider.

5. Think Creatively

When my daughter knows my reasons, I encourage her to come up with a solution that will make both of us happy. She becomes so creative that we arrive at a solution more often than you would think.

6. Communicate, Debate And Negotiate

Self-explanatory, I hope.

7. Regulate Emotions

Anger usually results when people—kids or adults—feel that something is wrong or unfair. Letting her think through the reasons helps her understand why I say or do certain things. With understanding, she learns to think about a problem instead of letting her emotions run the show.

8. Understand That Authority Isn’t Always Right

Parents are not omnipotent. I make mistakes too. Just tell me, and I can apologize or reverse my decision. I teach my daughter not to accept something just because a certain person says it. I encourage her to use her own intelligence to judge.

Basically, I want her to be a leader, not a blind follower of parents’ commands.

But this doesn’t mean that I’m permissive. I usually have pretty good reasons for what I say or do, and I stand my ground when it’s the case (again, teach assertiveness by being assertive and having good reasons!).

One reason we have a great relationship is because I’ve always treated her as an equal and rational human being. Of course, I don’t know whether this will last. Maybe in the future, she will come up with something I absolutely hate but cannot refuse. (Ask me again when she’s a teenager!)

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