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This innate characteristic, which he defines as our "baby self," can damage or destroy relationships, especially with those closest to us. Our children, ages 7 and 10, love watching television.
The Principles of Argumentation
If allowed, they'd sit in front of the set until their brains melted. While I try to get them to stick to time limits, my wife is more lax about enforcing these rules. I worry they're becoming TV addicts and she thinks I should cut them some slack. But then she started letting them watch American Idol , which meant they stayed up past bedtime two school nights a week.
Rather than a levelheaded conversation addressing this particular difference of opinion, the disagreement escalated into a nasty spat that dragged in other conflicts and past grievances.
Filled with righteousness, I wanted not only to prove her guilty of this offense, but also of other outstanding crimes and misdemeanors, such as covert adjustments to various household budgets, using her car as a moving trash bin and helping the kids think of chocolate as a kind of daily vitamin. Wolf's advice is to stay on subject.
This was about our children and TV, not whether she overindulges them or I'm too strict or who needs more therapy. When my wife and I focused on the issue at hand, we realized we're both concerned about the kids turning into tube zombies. We agreed to have them watch most of their favorite programs on TiVo, eliminating commercials and cutting viewing time by 25 percent. Wolf also says it's not always necessary to resolve an argument, but that it must end—that is to say, it's essential to let it drop.
My wife and I both had to let go of the tempting but unproductive desire to get in the last word. Instead, we made sure that we each got to speak our mind. After that, the discussion was over. While we haven't totally resolved this issue, we've had our say, listened and disengaged.
Wolf reminds us that successful arguing isn't about being right as much as feeling all right about the outcome. Check if you have access via personal or institutional login. Log in Register. Christopher Kee , Deakin University, Victoria. Export citation Recommend to librarian Recommend this book.
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Argumentation: The Art of Civil Advocacy
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