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Why I Want to Be Outwitted by My 3-Year-Old (Sometimes)

02/25/2015 05:16 pm ET | Updated Apr 27, 2015
Jamie Harrington

So maybe I am crazy, but I am all about teaching my kid to argue. I don't pick my battles, and sometimes, my daughter actually wins. Being able to effectively argue your point is a life skill I think we sometimes forget to share with our children, because -- hey, who wants to be outwitted by a 3-year-old?

Well, I do.

Before you think I'm nuts -- let me explain! I don't want her to stomp her foot and whine to get her way. I want her to logically explain to me why she should get to swim in her underwear instead of having to go inside to put on her swimsuit. If her argument is good enough, then she gets to swim in her underwear.

Why would I do this?

Because it makes her think, and that's something all kids should know how to do!

I'm not there on the playground when she has to decide if the best decision is to hit a kid or to convince them to give her the ball. Hopefully, the argumentative skills she's learned at home teach her to get that ball without being aggressive. And, I've been watching her with her friends lately, and she's becoming less of a tattle-tale and more of a problem solver, so I think it's working!

I am not saying this is the best answer for every situation, or anything. If your child is in danger, or even if you just don't have the time to live out a life lesson because you're late for an appointment and today is just NOT the day for this, that's OK. You don't have to do this every single time. You can always say to your kid, "This isn't up for discussion. This is a parenting decision," and let that be the end of that.

I encourage you to try it, though. When you have a little extra time, let them persuade you to do something. Let them give you their reasons, then really listen to them and think over what they have to offer. Is it a good deal? Are they going to follow through with their end of the bargain? That in and of itself is an amazing character-building lesson. You are helping them learn to be trustworthy, reliable people.

To me, it's all about learning to be yourself, learning to stand up for what you believe in and learning how to convince others to believe in you.

Because isn't that what we all want, anyway?

This post originally appeared on Jamie's website, TotallyTheBomb.com. Follow Jamie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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