I say ‘fruits’, my daughter says ‘chocolate..then fruits..’

Whether the kids are youngsters or adolescents, the tiny looking conflicts
and power struggles keep on occurring in every child’s and parent’s life.
The tiny size of the power struggle gradually grows to blackmailing…So it is
up to us, whether to ignore these small beasts or deal with them tactfully.

Some of the common negotiations the children learn easily are: ‘I’ll study if I get to
watch my favorite cartoon’, ‘I’ll do the household chores if you let me go for a movie with  friends’, ‘Can I sleep after I eat Ice-cream?’, ‘I’ll go for soccer only if they make me the goal keeper’ and the list is just endless….Well do we really do justice to these negotiations, or do we blindly accept them just because we are out of time and patience? Think about it…as our responses make the children learn the behavior…if we listen to the ‘can I watch TV before Homework?’, the child will keep demanding the same the next day, the day after and then may be forever….Children learn to pester and negotiate only after carefully observing our reactions and responses. The more you accept their negotiations, the more you are projecting to them your limits.

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But learning is reversible, and behavior can be unlearn. So let’s look at some tricks or rules which can be used effectively to SOS from the constant negotiations.

  • Rules are rules: take help from your child in designing the rules for every important tasks of the day. Also decide about rules that cannot be changed at any point of time, and rules that are flexible on weekends or on other such occasions. Be sure that the consequences are laid down and are followed firmly.
  • Reverse engineering..oops…reverse negotiating: Catch the moments when the child tries to take you on a ride. If the child says ‘Can I play for half an hour more?’ ‘say- 15 mins.’, if the child continues to negotiate, lessen the time even more, and see the magic….
  • Full and final: When the child asks the same question again and again, firmly tell the child ‘you have asked this once and I’ve answered it already.’ Use firm facial expressions and strong eye contact.
    g.: Teen: Can I get a tattoo done? You: No you can’t. It is harmful. Teen: But I really want to do it. Please???? You: did you ask me about the tattoo once? Teen: Yes. You: Did I answer it? Teen: Yes You: Then it is sorted and final.
    Answering the questions or giving different answers each time for the same questions will make your child understand that your decisions can be manipulated easily
  • Look for mutual gain at times: If the negotiation is genuine and you find that the child does not generally manipulate your decisions, you can look for a mutual understanding an crack a deal that is best for both of you. E.g.If you want to go out with your friends you need to sit for extra one hour and complete learning spellings from this chapter before you go. Be sure about whether your child is hungry, tired, bored or just want to trick you….and then respond accordingly…..

No repetitions. No lectures…firmly communicate. Do not negotiate!!!!

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