I Figured Out the Root of All Arguments – for Grown-Ups and Kids

As I was just putting my daughter to bed and sitting silently in the dark as she drifted off, I was thinking about why she always asks for one more story or for me to just sit there until well after she’s asleep.

She wants to know I’m still there, looking after her.

But then, as my mind wandered further I thought about common arguments or usual discussions that happen as part of any relationship.

“Where do you want to eat?” The classic evening back-and-forth where no decision is made. But the choice in a restaurant isn’t what is really discussed when it’s boiled down to the raw feelings.

How about fights about money? “You spent how much? On that? Are you kidding?!” At first glance, it sounds like a heated conversation about wasting money on something potentially awesome but the other person doesn’t share that opinion. It’s not about the money though.

They’re all about wanting to feel secure. These are all about wanting to be taken care of, even just for a few moments in a day when you’re making all the decisions.

“I don’t want to eat there” – This person just wants someone else to provide for them, just this once, just right now. The solution, assure them that it’s ok and you’ve sorted dinner. It’s on the way and they can just sit back, knowing the other person has handled the details.

“Why did you buy that?” – This is being asked of the spender because they’re trying to make sure they have enough for a rainy day or to be able to afford an upcoming bill. They just want to make sure that their money is going to the right place, to know that they’re not going to go into debt or have to go without.

“Just stay a little longer, Daddy” – She just wants to know she’s safe and looked after. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her, she just wants to fall asleep knowing that I’m nearby.

The future is uncertain. Be someone’s reason to feel safe and loved.


  1. Teresa

    September 23, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Awe I love this! My kids are the same way, I like the perspective from which you looked at that moment ❤

  2. Reg

    September 23, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    This was eyeopening. I think we’ve all had the situation where we’ve responded in a way that’s not how we truly feel. This was a great post James.

  3. Susan Carraretto

    September 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Wow. That is deep stuff. You’re so right… we all need to feel secure.

  4. Tairalyn

    September 24, 2019 at 9:32 am

    Never thought of it that way. That’s interesting. It’s very much about security!

  5. Janette Shearer

    September 24, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Love this post! My youngest calls for me several times before she finally falls asleep and by that time of day I’m usually pretty burnt out! This is a great way to shift our mindset less about what is happening to us but happening for us or them in this case! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Tamara

    September 24, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Yes! This post is spot on. I’m trying to be more in the moment with my kids and focus on their needs.

  7. Salma

    September 24, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    That is a really great perspective. I like that it’s not only with the kids but looks at it more broadly

  8. Michael Kwan

    September 24, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Right on. I feel like this ties into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Before we can take care of anything else, we need to ensure that our physiological needs are met and that we feel safe and secure.

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