As your children grow and begin to experiment with their autonomy, negotiation is the best way to ensure a balance between family respect and growing independence.
Negotiation is the best way to find a peaceful solution to a conflict. Negotiating with your children is a healthy practice that helps them achieve the agreements they need to feel at ease and strengthen their family ties based on respect.
Of course, negotiating with a 5-year-old child is not the same as negotiating with a teenager . As your children grow and want to be more independent, the art of negotiation takes on more complex edges.
Negotiate with your children: an effective tool
Negotiation means reaching agreements, based on the standards family and the particular interests of the children , which undoubtedly change as they grow.
To negotiate with your small children you will surely have a greater control of the demands that you need that your children fulfill. When they are already teenagers, the negotiation will involve giving up positions, without anyone, neither the children nor the parents, feeling winners or losers.
Negotiate while they are children
Although the dreaded tantrums of 2 to 5 years put us to the test, they are a situation that we can overcome in the process of helping our children to manage their emotions . The first three tips are inspired by the proposal that psychologist Rosa Jové exposes in her book The Happy Parenting .
As children grow older and acquire more skills in controlling their emotions, the three steps defined by Jové will continue to be useful. These allow a balance between the firmness of the parents in proposing their demands and the sensitivity and interest they should have towards the child’s position.
1. Understand your feelings
Regardless of whether the child is 3 or 10 years old,when you empathize with the needs of your child you achieve better communication and it is possible to better match your demands and demands.
If a child is upset because he does not want to do his homework, ask him if he is tired, how was that day at school … So you can recognize what state he is in and you can empathize with the feelings that seize him.
2. Educate and explain what you expect
Teach your child the importance of what you ask or demand and what are the reasons that motivate you. In this way you educate your children, you teach them the value of the rules and the importance of fulfilling what is theirs.
Following the previous example, educate your child about the importance of fulfilling their school duties. Teach him what his responsibilities are and explain the reasons why it is better to complete assignments on time, before leaving for the last minute.
3. Let him choose his own option or solution
Raising with affection and respect involves negotiating with the children. Parents who, after being affectionate and empathetic, explain their reasons and exercise moderate control over the options offered to their children, will surely achieve much more from the child. At the same time, they nourish their independence and cultivate respect .
To close the previous example: offer two alternatives to your child , or do the tasks at once to be able to go out to play, or take a break of half an hour and then comply with their homework.
Negotiate when they reach adolescence
When adolescence arrives, of course, the negotiation changes . Your children begin to make use of their autonomy and, obviously, there will be clashes with the rules and responsibilities of the family.
Negotiating with your teenagers is more demanding. It will involve a reformulation or combination of the three preceding steps, depending on the 4 tips that we offer.
4. Listen to your reasons
Even if you do not agree with their proposals, you should give them the opportunity to express their ideas . Avoid interrupting it even if you dislike what you hear. Of course, you should also avoid judging it, let alone preach it: this is not the time. It’s your turn to listen.
To open communication channels you have to encourage him to give his explanations and give him the time he needs to develop his ideas.
5. Explain your ideas without assuming positions of superiority
Forget about phrases like “when I was your age …” or “what you have to do is …” . To negotiate with your children you have to be at a symmetrical level to facilitate the dialogue . Reconcile with phrases like “What is it that worries you?” Or “I would like to hear your opinion about …”.
After hearing your son’s reasons, explain yours, without losing your calm or imposing your position. It is not necessary that you negotiate sitting facing each other; freedom of movement can facilitate the exchange.
6. Care for the environment and time of negotiation
To negotiate with your children you have to have the atmosphere and the mood conducive to dialogue . Try to be rested for negotiation; If you come from a tense day at work you can turn the negotiation into a war and with that no agreement will be reached.
Ideally, you can talk alone with your child, without the presence of siblings or even your partner. Your child will feel more comfortable if he negotiates with one of his parents than with both, since he would be at a disadvantage. Take the time you need and avoid interruptions (turn off cell phones).
7. Remember that you are the adult
Never disrespect your son, even if he has done it with you . Be a model of behavior. If the negotiation is becoming very bitter it is better to stop the conversation and postpone it for the next day.
It does not make sense to try the dialogue if tempers are heated. Take care of your vocabulary and your tone of voice, since they are two key tools to help you maintain control of the situation. The negotiation is conducted by you ; You are the one who takes the first step, precisely because you are the adult.
8. Agree and respect them
Respect for the agreements that are achieved will mark the success of the negotiation. The agreements have to be satisfactory for both . You must also establish what are the consequences of breaking agreements.
Encourage your child to propose agreements, which not only provide solutions but also establish for themselves what they will give up to attend to your explanations . In the same way, you will also yield, to achieve the agreement that satisfies both.
It is important that when negotiating both parties commit themselves to comply with the agreements reached. If your child does not do his part, you can not be flexible in applying the agreed consequences. If you fail to comply with the agreement, you will lose the respect of your son.
In cases where the negotiation is blocked (the teenager has a defiant attitude that can cause you to lose self-control), ask your partner to participate as a mediator . If this is not enough and the intensity of the debate is heated, it may be necessary to mediate another family member, a teacher or a psychology professional.