The Art of Negotiation Helps Reduce Power Struggles With Your Kids
In my previous article, I talked about reducing power struggles with your kids, and how negotiating with them is one of the best ways to reduce those unproductive power struggles. I covered “secrets” 1 – 3, which included the topics of:
- Managing your emotions
- Listening and validating
- Communicating with respect
In this article we talk about secrets 4 and 5:
FOUR: Define the problem clearly and offer solutions.
Be prepared to offer choices and alternatives you can deliver. To achieve this step successfully, you need two things:
First, make sure you and your kids are clear about what the problem is.
Second, know what motivates your kids. What is the THE thing they are willing to work for? Knowing what is important to them puts you in a position where you can negotiate.
Many times when parents and kids reach an impasse in an argument, it’s because neither party is willing to compromise or the parties involved are actually focusing on different problems. The latter is a very important factor. If you are not clear about the actual problem, then you you and your kid will end up going in circles and arguing without ever entering into a successful negotiation. That usually leads to both parties feeling even more unwilling to compromise. So, first establish in clear and simple language what the problem is.
You may be surprised that by the time you and your kid spell out exactly what the problem is, your kid has already come up with a reasonable solution. If that doesn’t happen, then go to the next step: know what motivates your kids. What are they willing to work for, or “earn”? That is what gives you negotiation power.
FIVE: Foster good choices by your kids and be willing to meet them halfway when you see they are…
- Participating in the negotiation appropriately
- Willing to compromise
- Willing to work for the incentive (alternatives) you offered
The art and process of negotiating has to be taught – usually over and over! This teachable moment is very valuable in your child’s life and it’s important to guide your kid through the process. Take a few seconds to give positive feedback. You can make comments such as, “I am impressed by how well you are negotiating” or “I see you are willing to make some compromises. That shows me you are mature enough now to have the privilege of _________.” Often your kids will follow what you model. When you remain calm, discuss the problem, and offer choices in a positive way, they listen and are more willing to learn how to negotiate.
In my next article I will share some very important hints for successful negotiations.
As a parent strategist, Dr. Sherkat has many tools to help you strengthen your parenting skills.
She speaks to various groups…you can hire her for your next parenting workshop, conference or parenting event.