Deni- My oldest dd is so like this! She is 8 now and I believe she uses arguing to de-stress as well, whether it is conscious or not. My personal thought on that is that at home with me or her sister or her dad she feels secure enough that she can argue and lose her temper and release some of her tension on us, but she will still be loved and accepted no matter what. (We are having major issues with this right now though, but that I will post another thread on.
But, I totally agree with EnviroBecca about the no open-ended questions thing-we figured this one out when dd #1 was about 3 and it did help quite a bit.
One other thing though since you mention the argument is over bath time and teeth brushing.. With both my girls, we had issues about baths around 3-4 y.o. Not sure why, but they both went through periods where they did NOT want to get in that bath no matter what. What I did to alleviate the problem was to be slightly more flexible.
Now, the tooth brushing I am not flexible on-teeth get brushed and that is that but you can find more interesting ways to do it. For example, we would sometimes brush eachothers teeth-I would get to brush hers(=cleaner teeth
) and SHE would get to brush MINE.
The bath though, I found I could be a little flexible on-I know some people just can't/won't let baths be skipped, but it works for me some days. My kids bathe at night, so if it's Friday and we are planning a whole lotta nothin for Saturday and they don't want to bathe, well the world won't end and it is one less battle for me. When they were 3-4 though, they loved to take "bird baths" which was a compromise I came up with to reduce the number of bath-time battles.
The bird bath consisted of the child sitting on the edge of the sink on a towel (so it's not so slippery) and together we washed hands, feet, and whatever else we could get under the faucet or rinse with a wash cloth.It was fun, quick, and reasonably effective, and they love asking for a "bird bath" instead-my 5 y.o. still asks for a bird bath sometimes.
Obviously, it is not something that can be done every day, but if it takes away one bath time battle a week, it was worth it for me. I am a big believer in choosing my battles! I didn't mean for this post to get so long-sorry! Just some things that worked in those areas for me!