How to Negotiate Effectively With Your Child

How to Negotiate Effectively With Your Child



“Negotiation” is a term you do not expect to hear when talking about kids.


After all, you will only hear it in the boardroom or in movies like S.W.A.T. Yet, this word is very important for children. This is also something that parents should learn when dealing with them.


Whether you like it or not, life with children involves negotiation. At worst, it can be a very challenging process. At best, it can be a great learning experience for you and your kids. It is in negotiating about little things that kids learn how to deal with conflicts constructively.


To make negotiation an effective process, parents need to keep their cool and learn to manage their own emotions and frustrations. Here are some pointers to help you:


  • When you want your child to do something, say it in a way that appeals to his need for control and independence.


This will make him more inclined to agree to your request and make him feel more responsible. For example, say, "Would you like to park your bike in the garage all by yourself?" rather than "Put that bike away now!"


  • Involve your child in the decision-making process


Make him feel that his opinion matters to you. Give him a chance to think on his own. For instance, say, "How many minutes more do you think you will need to wash up?" or "What punishment do you think you deserve for hitting your sister?"


  • For a child to have a full understanding on an issue, you must always explain your point of view.


Be ready for any response from your child!


  • When negotiating, you do not have to give in.


This is not about winning or losing. It is about meeting halfway. However, as far as health or safety reasons are concerned, putting your foot down and saying no is always the answer.


  • Use age-appropriate and fun ways to negotiate.


If your toddler refuses to eat, do not force him. Instead, present meals in fun ways. Cut up sandwiches into different shapes or write his name on an omelet with ketchup.


  • Give him a smooth transition from one activity to another.


Allot a few more minutes so he can finish what he is doing before moving on to another activity. This will lessen the chances of an argument. If it is almost dinnertime and your child is still playing, he will surely fight his way to continue doing so. Tell him he has two more minutes to play then it is time to eat. This way, he will feel that you respect his time.


At the end of the day, remember that you still have the final say. You are in charge. Make sure that you listened to your child's point of view and have a fair decision. Eventually, children will come to respect your decision. They may not like it but later on, they will realize that you were just being fair, after all.


When negotiating with your child, do not lose your temper. Take time to cool down, practice these tips, and you will come up with a win-win situation. After all, this is the essence of negotiation.