contend for 争夺；
contend (that) 声称，主张；
contend with 必须处理，不得不应付[困难，窘境]
To defend a belief or keep affirming that it’s true is to contend. People used to contend that the earth was flat, but eventually, when no one dropped off the edge no matter how far they traveled, the “round” theory won.
One of the meanings of contend is from the French “to strive with,” and it is a literal fighting, as in “to contend with fists.” Most contemporary uses of the verb contend illustrate competitions of proof or defense, where a person will contend that something is true, or better, or wrong. It is still a striving but more of a verbal kind, where what you contend is what you hope to convince others is correct.
what to use? contend with / cope with / deal with | WordReference Forums
If you ‘deal with him’ it suggests that you have found some sort of solution to the problem. For example “we tie him to the chair” or, perhaps less extreme, “we tell him to sit quietly”
If you ‘cope with him’ you really mean you are coping with the outcome of the situation e.g. the noise, the disruption etc, so you don’t have a solution but instead you find a way to ignore it. Another way would be to “put up with him”.
If you ‘contend with him’ it suggests that there is an element of struggling to find a solution. It could mean that you are looking for a solution but don’t have one yet.
If you say “I don’t deal/cope/contend with him” etc it implies that you take no action to resolve the problem. I would use “I can’t deal/cope with him” which means you are unable to deal or cope. I wouldn’t use “I can’t contend” as that implies an unwillingness to address the problem.