How NOT to Argue

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a good person. Or, at least, an emotionally balanced one.

No, seriously.

Let’s take a step back.
So, after living with someone for a number of years, you get to a point where you learn things about them and about their personality.

Illustration:
I live with a man who is brilliant, smart, funny, infinitely logical/analytical, and impressively determined.

He’s also stubborn. As stubborn  – no! more stubborn – than long-ruling dictatorial regimes that think they can continue to stay in power and determine the fate of their people without repercussion.

Needless to say, I’m not much of a pushover, so this state of stubbornness tends to cause many a “heated” discussion in our household.
It’s gotten better with time though, where I’ve learned to sometimes just let things fly right over  my head.
I need to REALLY be in a good mood for that to happen, though, since my fuse is usually so dangerously close to the explosiveness that is my brain. This means I’ve gone on many passionate tirades where I take a comment he’s made and, within minutes,  work myself up to a point where that comment has just caused the earth, moon, and sun to stop revolving, dooming us to imminent death and destruction.

Over the last 4 years, I’ve discovered that when it comes to child-rearing, we are generally on the same page – i.e. we both want to raise a respectful, considerate, emotionally intelligent, confident person.
We disagree on pretty much everything else.

Case in point:
1) Me: “I don’t want our son watching violence on TV or in video games.”
Husband: “There have been no scientific studies that prove that watching violence in TV or video games makes children more violent.”
Me: “I don’t care about the scientific studies, it just makes logical sense that the violence from the screen is unnecessary and is not age-appropriate, and I don’t want him watching it!”
Husband: “Meh.”
Me: “#*%&#*&#_(@^&#@()^*#@(^#@_&^(#@&@#(_!!!!!!!!”

2) Me: “We need to be more strict about speaking Arabic at home, in order to give our son the advantage of being as close to bilingual as possible!”
Husband: “Let’s get a Chinese tutor for our son!”
Me: “It’s important for his sense of identity that he can connect to the Arabic language and understand it!”
Husband: “Identity bla bla bla. Let’s get a Chinese tutor for our son! Chinese is going to be the language of business and the economy in the next century! Who needs other languages?”
Me: “It would be great if we could teach him Chinese, but SERIOUSLY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU CAN’T YOU JUST PRETEND TO LISTEN TO WHAT I’M SAYING AND JUST RESPOND TO HIM IN ARABIC?! It’s NOT that hard, you grew up speaking it, remember?!”
Husband: “Meh. I’m going to go check craigslist for Chinese tutors.”
Me: “OMG! ONLY if you promise we will spend time with him to teach him Arabic!”
Husband: “Meh.”

Fast-forward to the other night, when we were having a similar discussion on the importance of a set bedtime.
You can guess which one of us thinks that having a set bedtime is important to ensure a child gets enough sleep and is used to a certain routine/pattern, and which one of us thinks he should just go to bed when he finally claims he’s tired. Which, for our son, will probably never happen, since he equates admitting tiredness to admitting full and complete failure to be in control of everything. (I’m so sorry for passing on that gene, baby).

So, the summary of this whole story, and why I question whether I’m a good person (or emotionally balanced), is the way I handled the discussion. I resorted to the lowest of the low of argument immaturity.

Husband: Walking out of our son’s room, after going in to “check on him”, which he does about 20 times a night, just so he can steal kisses and look at our son’s sleeping angel face. “By the way, he’s still awake. Even though we put him down like 40 minutes ago.”
Me: “That’s because you keep going into his room and bothering him.”
Husband: “He’s not tired. We shouldn’t put him to bed when he’s not tired, or else he won’t sleep well in his bed anymore.”
Me: “No. He needs to know that there’s a set bedtime and his body will get used to sleeping at or around that time.”
Husband: “Bedtime is overrated. He shouldn’t go to sleep unless he’s tired.”
Me: “Ok. THAT’S IT. LISTEN TO ME: Do you want to know what happens to kids who don’t go to bed at or around a consistent bedtime? Do you? Do you?”
Husband: Silence…
Me: “THEY TURN INTO PORN STARS. DO YOU WANT OUR SON TO TURN INTO  A PORN STAR?”
Husband: …………………………”I think you should go to bed. You look kinda tired.”
Me: “Fine! GOOD NIGHT!”

I think I may have been able to handle that one a little bit better, don’t you?

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10 Responses to How NOT to Argue

  1. Oh my goodness!!! I love the last part… is it true? Is that what kids turn into when they don’t have a set bedtime??? That explains a lot…

  2. Angela says:

    OMG I think this is one of your best posts.. Eva. Love you!

  3. Karwan says:

    OMG that’s amazing!! Loves. It.

  4. The daddy says:

    Well, for the record, I only defended violent computer games, not violent TV :) And StarCraft is barely violent. At least I don’t let him play Call of Duty (aka…Call of Doodie)

  5. wintersamar says:

    Porn Stars? How did you get that connection?

  6. kinziblogs says:

    Hala, shu hilarous enti.

    I was thinking about writing a post about an argument the Hub and I had last month. It was not pretty, but what we learned from it we practiced yesterday when things started to ramp up. If you learn from it, fights are worth having.

    love the late to bed/ porn star connection. BUT, some truth there. Late-to-bedders watch more ot it, and one is the star of it when playing along.

  7. loolt says:

    LOL! fantastic! Must remember to thank my mum for being strict about my bedtime, “thanks Mum for not turning me into a porn start :)”

  8. kinziblogs says:

    Hey Hala, I tagged you ;)

  9. halasaleh1 says:

    @samar: I can’t explain the conclusion, you just need to know that it’s TRUE ;)
    @kinzi: I’ve been so so swamped lately and JUST realized last night that you tagged me!!! Will get to it today, I promise! I am honored :)

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