Tag Archives: communication

How to squelch an argument


Ways to calm down an argument


What is an argument? In my opinion, an argument is a class of competing idea for supremacy. When a person argues from a particular point of view, that person puts himself on the line and therefore the ego is involved. It is a common human trait that we all want or need to be right and so we are sometimes prepared to argue to unrelentlessly to maintain our position.  However after a protracted argument in which each person is trying to justify his or her position and to support that position no matter how illogical or wrong it might be, the parties stop listening to each other and only to themselves. At that point there is no use to present facts and figures but just to end the argument.  But with each party so heated, how do you end or calm people down.


As a mediator within my community when people lock horns in this way.  I stop and rephrase what I have heard. In rephrasing what I have heard I try to do several things:

1.         Get each party to stop talking and take a breath

2.         Highlight common grounds things they both agreed upon

3.         Extricate values they both may share

5.         Choice of words is important. It is important to use words that promote peace, harmony, unity not words that are likely to escalate the argument

4.         Areas of disagreement


One surefire way to help to calm people down or to end an argument that has escalated out of control is to get people to focus on their underlying interests and to move away from positions.  When people are stuck in their positions they cannot move but a skilled mediator will highlight the interest beneath that.  Chances are both parties are interested in the same thing but have different ideas how to achieve it.  At this point brainstorming ideas might be useful, taking into consideration the suggestion of both parties and possibly combining then to form a better one.


Encouraging people to have an open mind at this point is useful to getting them away from judgment to curiosity. Asking questions, probe for more information behind the questions are great ways to expand the mind and build consensus.


Children’s Rights

Dear globalcounselor

How much right should I give my 16 year old? I told her to put the computer where I can see what she is doing on it and to make sure she is not looking at any of those bad sites. She told me she has rights and has a right to privacy. I get scared when I read about all the things that’s happening to children on the net. The latest one is the university student who was moonlighting as internet porn star then she is found dead. How can a parent protect her child.  What are my rights.


Dear rights,

Your 16 year old has a right to privacy.  However if the computer belongs to the family then putting it in a centrally located place is your right. The thing is to maintain a healthy relationship with your child, trust is necessary and to build trust you have to find ways to communicate with your child.

Sometimes it is difficult to get your child to talk. One good way is inviting them outside the house for a meal – that always seem to work. Have that one to one time and share some of the things going on in your life to open the way for your daughter to share and listen, listen carefully and do no judge, no matter what you do. Teenagers are allergic to judgments.

If you feel your child may need to see someone or to share some information she may not be comfortable sharing with you suggest some resources in the community that may be available. Always keep the respect and keep the lines of communication open.