Negotiating with Your Child: When You Should and Shouldn’t

Does it seem like every time you tell your child “No,” it turns into a tug-of-war? One mom shared with us recently, “Absolutely everything’s an argument with my son. Even the simplest request. He just can’t take no for an answer. It’s so frustrating!” Many parents find themselves in a negotiation with their children when they are met with any kind of resistance. Negotiating is an important life skill. By definition, it means coming to an agreement through discussion. It’s about finding a middle or common ground. But negotiation can also mean to get over or around something, such as negotiating the vacuum around the furniture. When it comes to children, they often try to negotiate “around” us to get the result they want. Discussions with your child that take place after you’ve given your decision are not negotiations! What’s happening in those cases is that your child is negotiating “around” you. They are trying to get their way, not find common ground. My Kid Should Be a Lawyer Someday Sometimes talking to your child—especially if she has a personality that tends to be oppositional or defiant—can feel like you’re in a courtroom. Having just told your teenage daughter no, she can’t have a friend over, she immediately puts you on the witness stand. “Isn’t it true that just last week you told me I need to start finding...

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