Every day, you likely find yourself locked in tough negotiations with less than reasonable, extremely emotional partners—your children. Regardless of how old your kids are, you won’t always be on the same page about issues both big and small. Thankfully, with the right skills, you can rise to the occasion to handle tricky situations with your children more effectively. Let’s explore some tips to help moms ace negotiations with kids of all ages.
Get a fix on your own emotions
Negotiation skills training experts maintain that taking charge of personal emotions is central to securing win-win outcomes. Managing your emotions means finding ways to:
- Prevent outbursts.
- Express emotions in a healthy way.
- Choose your words carefully.
- Notice how those around you are feeling.
When kids are being difficult, it helps to get ahold of your emotions before anything else. Outbursts can spark a chain reaction that pushes the situation further downhill. So, how can you prevent your emotions from flaring up and bubbling to the surface?
Some introspection can help to figure out the major league issues that press your buttons the most. Once you figure out your hot-button triggers, you can leap ahead of them before they strike. One key example is taking a pause and using breathing techniques when you start feeling overwhelmed.
Give your kids a sense of ownership
Being told what to do and when to do it can cause some resistance and friction, especially as children grow older. So instead of always telling your kids what to do, it helps to train yourself to skillfully structure your instructions in a way that gives your kids room to decide.
For instance, if your child is flat out refusing to get ready for a shopping trip, you can choose one of two options to respond. Option A: Put on this dress we need to go. Option B: It’s time to go, but which of these two dresses would you like to wear?
If you use the first option, you’re likely to stoke the fires of defiance. With option B, your child is more inclined to feel like they made a valuable decision. As a result, you can make your kids follow the plan minus all the drama.
Look at issues from your child’s point of view
Before you engage in negotiations with your children, it helps to stop and consider what may be driving a particular behavior. For instance, your kids may be deliberately delaying getting ready for school in the morning or sports training because of an incident that happened the previous day.
It pays to step back and consider the reasons for the behavior. Ask open-ended questions that can help your child open up about the real issues. Once you dig deeper to uncover the root cause, you can address the problem and, as a result, reduce clashes.
Practice active listening
Expert negotiators agree that active listening skills play a role in securing win-win outcomes.
Active listening involves more than hearing the words coming out of your child’s mouth. For instance, if your child wants to put on a superhero costume everywhere, there may be a reason for it beyond the child wanting to get their own way.
It could be as simple as the child having positive associations with wearing the costume due to a happy memory. It could also indicate something more profound, like a hidden fear that the superhero persona helps them to feel more in control over.
You can pick up on the intent by listening actively, so train yourself to:
- Read between the words.
- Watch their body language, and be mindful of your own.
- Show that you’re paying attention—for example, by keeping eye contact, leaning in or nodding your head as you listen.
When you take time to hear your child out and see the whole picture, you can uncover their needs and wants. Once you know what they want, it’s easier to reach a win-win outcome. This works because you’re able to offer something that will be valuable to them which is of less value to you in return for your desired outcome.
For instance, allow one hour of playing their favorite video game if your child agrees to an equivalent time playing outside—a win for everyone.
Help your child deal with emotions
Scientific studies have shown that emotional control is linked to the development of neurological pathways.
The wiring of the neurological pathways that regulate emotional control isn’t fully complete until about 25 years of age. That’s why children tend to display more uncontrolled emotions than adults. Often, the key to successful negotiation with kids is giving them the skills to cope with and understand how they feel.
If you counter an emotional outburst with straight talk and logic, you risk alienating your kids further, which can exacerbate the problem. So, allow your kids to express emotions and give them a safe space, free of judgment, to learn how to deal with underlying feelings.
Once your child feels safe, they’re more likely to willingly engage with you more reasonably.
Be open to answering questions
Children are hardwired to explore and learn how the world works. Babies, toddlers, and teenagers alike often won’t simply bow down to what they’ve been told.
A common recurring question that moms have to deal with when negotiating with children is the repeated “why?” It can be frustrating to explain yourself every time, and it’s often tempting to respond with “because I said so.”
However, to win at negotiating with kids, train yourself to answer cordially, regardless of how irritated you may feel. When you make it clear to your kids why they have to do what you say, it helps show that you have their best interests at heart so you can see eye to eye.
All in all, it takes effort and patience to master the skill of negotiating with children. However, with small, everyday interactions, bit by bit you can grow your negotiation skills and foster a better relationship with your children. Remember, children learn by observation, so by modeling how to effectively handle situations with others, you’re setting your kids on the right path for their future success.
Find here – the Most Important Negotiation Tips for Moms