It’s either their way or our way! In our generation we used to easily give in (to our parents) and now we still give-in (to our children)! As parents, you have said these words a million times.
Life with children is an ongoing negotiation; be it about sleeping on time, studying, watching TV, or spending time on the computer. The word, negotiating, sounds like a ‘bad’ word. Should you be negotiating with your children at all? But whether you like it or not, we are all doing it. So is there a way where one can negotiate successfully with their child?
Let’s look at some of the negotiating skills we can use with our children especially our teenagers –
1. Initiate a discussion
You could start the discussion with something like, “So, here’s a situation. Let’s figure out how we should resolve it.” By not accusing the child of having a problem, you are avoiding a situation where the child might get defensive right at the start. The problem / issue is not with the child – its an issue you are dealing with together.
2. Identify the problem clearly: It’s important to state the problem clearly. If the problem is that the child is watching TV for three hours every day then say it. But at the same time, remember not to club issues together.
3. Write down everyone’s ideas: Make a list of all the ideas proposed during the discussion. Remember not to reject or criticise any idea, however bizarre it may sound.
4. Discuss all ideas and narrow down to a solution: Once all the ideas are on the table, you can start to narrow down to a solution. With consensus, delete, add, or club ideas to identify a few possible solutions.
5. Assign responsibilities: Once the solution is decided, it is important to run through how it will be implemented so that everyone knows what they are supposed to do.
6. Propose a review of the solution: Propose a review date for the solution to see how well it is working. This gives you an option to revisit the solution and if it is not working, you can suggest some changes to make it more effective.
Here is what this approach does…
It targets the problem and not the persons involved; parents or children. This prevents any resentment from brewing between the two.
• It derives solutions through consensus, making the children feel involved in the decision-making process. This makes it more likely to succeed.
• The ideation and open discussion helps build trust between parents and children.
• Also, it trains them in resolving issues amicably in life!