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Mother and Baby

Get Any Argument With Your Partner Sorted

Squabbling over dishes, nappies and the DIY? We show you how to manage any tricky arguments. And win, obviously

The nappy bin needs emptying, but he’s watching Newsnight. Plus, the dishes need washing from dinner but, yep, still gawping at Newsnight. Before you consider starting WW3, sort your parental problems calmly to get your voice heard, not your anger.

Talk it out

Yep, that old chestnut, but this time, do it with a difference. ‘Don't accuse your partner of things he hasn't done or got wrong, instead talk about how you feel,’ says psychologist Gladean Mcmahon. ‘Say “I feel” not “You make me feel” as that shows you are speaking about your feelings not blaming him.’ Trust us, he’s more likely to listen and less likely to get angry.

Set a time limit

Arguing for too long can mean you both get frustrated and end up going round in circles. ‘Set a time limit to have a chat. If it's still unresolved after 10 minutes, come back to the convo at a later time when tempers are a little less heated,’ says Gladeana.

Stick to the point

‘Discuss and resolve one item at a time. You can come back again another time to deal with the next topic,’ says Gladeana. Before you sit down to chat think about the most important thing to resolve – and stick to it.

Perfect your pitch

Keep your tone steady and the speed of your voice slow throughout your exchange. ‘The higher pitch you squeal at or the faster you go, your point will be lost and you'll be accused of being aggressive or argumentative, which won't get you anywhere,’ says Gladeana. Your neighbours won’t be too pleased either.

Write it down

If your brain turns to mush whenever you're seething, pen your problems. ‘Write down every point you want to make in a bullet-point form. Read it over and organise your thoughts so you make some sense when you talk it over,’ says Gladeana. And delete any expletives, obvs.

So the next time the dishwasher needs emptying/baby needs changing/dinner needs cooking – you should be calmly able to return to Paxman unscathed. Phew. 

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