ar-gu-ment n. [ar-gyu-mehnt]
- a reason given in proof or rebuttal; discourse intended to persuade (Mirriam-Webster online http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/argument
- a coherent series of statements leading from a premise to a conclusion (Mirriam-Webster online http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/argument
- a reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory (from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/argument)
When I hear the word "argument" I think of the personal, verbal sparring I try to avoid - the personal kind where emotions (and often) voices are high, there is often some sort of confrontation, and while they may at times enlighten, they usually don't - instead they leave me emotionally spent (albeit often somewhat relieved). In writing this, though, I realize that when I think of 'argument' I often think of 'fighting' BUT argument' does not need to entail fighting.
Furthermore, there is something to be said for arguments.
- opportunities for clarification,
- opportunities for problem solving and brainstorming,
- opportunities to sharpen social skills,
- are the ground work for debate,
- and sharpen communication skills necessary to relay and convince
- clearly and succinctly relay and express your position - addressing one point at a time,
- control the emotional component to arguments,
- optional (but equally powerful and important): add some humor or related vignettes, making it easier for listeners to comprehend, internalize and acknowledge (albeit not necessarily agree with)
"An argument is a collective series of statements to establish a definite proposition...it's an intellectual process"So with the argument clinic behind us, enjoy this Python classic example of argument which further illustrates its intellectual component as well as provide superb examples of literary devices such as metaphors, alliteration, palindromes, puns and personification:
I realize now that while I was raised by parents who avoided confrontations and as a result tend to shy away from arguments, there is something to be said for them - at least for those arguments whose purpose it is to clarify, expand, explore and define scientific, intellectual, social, or verbal nuances about the world around us.
There are times though, especially in interpersonal relationships and parenting, when arguments aren't intellectual or humorous.
Dealing with non-intellecutal, non-humorous arguments (to avoid a subsequent fight):
- try to keep an authoritative not authoritarian voice;
- focus on one topic at a time;
- keep the argument concrete - focusing on the issue(s) and not on making personal / emotional judgements - don't name call, curse, or add negative emotions to what should be a discussion;
- when arguing with your child be consistent but add options and compromise opportunities (avoiding power struggles) ;
- take and give time outs where neither side speaks - avoiding saying things that will be regretted, while calming tempers (but don't just walk out or turn a back - explain that you need time to think this out or to cool down);
- acknowledge feelings while disagreeing with positions (it's amazing how far and how important it is to separate feelings from the reality of the situation while validating or at least acknowledging those feelings)
- recognize that there is a difference between fighting and arguing - while fights often involve anger and rarely lead to consent, arguing can be healthy ... cool down fights.
- An abridged test (10 questions, five min.): http://cl1.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=2982
Let me know what you think - about arguing, how you argue, or your thoughts on these links.