Adolescence is often known as a rebellious stage in life. Children go through a series of hormonal changes, and at the same time are searching to find their own identity. All of this causes them to desire independence. They start to believe that their parents don’t understand them and that they can control their own lives. Therefore, at this difficult stage of their lives, you need to learn the skills of negotiating with your teenager. You will certainly get fewer headaches when you negotiate with your teenagers.
Negotiating will encourage them to comply with the agreements you make. It will also help you to talk about and resolve the difficult situations that arise. But above all, it will help them feel loved.
Sometimes teens tend to become distant, and, as we don’t know how to approach them, they end up feeling very lonely. They feel their parents don’t understand them and that they cannot trust them. Therefore, here are some how to negotiate with your teenagers that can significantly improve these circumstances.
Negotiate with your teenagers: benefits
It can be hard to let go of your authority and let your teenage child have more say in decision-making. But your child needs to do this as part of her journey towards becoming an independent, responsible young adult.
If you use effective negotiation techniques, negotiating can help your child learn to think through what he wants and needs and then communicate this in a reasonable way. It also helps him understand other viewpoints, make good decisions, follow through with those decisions, and learn from the consequences of his decisions.
Negotiating with your child is about trying to find common ground and a win-win solution.
Negotiation techniques to use with your children
Setting the limits
Everyone knows that there need to be agreements, limits and certain rules that make living together easier and help the avoidance of conflicts. As we have rules with our partner, such as not stepping on the rugs with dirty feet, in the same way we must have them with our children.
We need to agree on a time that they have to be back if they go out with their friends. Also on certain prohibited activities inside or outside the home (smoking, drinking alcohol, friends sleeping over etc.). For each family the agreements will vary. The ideal thing is to negotiate, hear the points of view of the different members and establish certain rules that everyone considers to be fair.
You should also avoid any attempts to manipulate, as well as inconsistencies. If you have already agreed something, then you should never break that agreement. Many parents do, and try and justify it with statements such as “I’m not going to change what I’ve done my whole life” or “I can do what I want but you can’t”. These situations will just create anger and will drive your teen even further away.
The consequences of committing certain errors when negotiating with your teenager are that the relationship with them may be severely impaired. There will be no harmony or possibility of growth. We should remember that we can all learn from everyone. As a parent, you are also a guide. However, this doesn’t mean you should be authoritarian and impose things, and just expect your teenage child to comply. Why not talk about it and negotiate? This won’t mean you’ll lose their respect, nor will it make the relationship a symmetrical one.
Talk and listen during a negotiation
- Use a calm, warm and firm voice to set the tone. The idea is to avoid getting into a conflict with your child. For example, you could say, ‘Let’s talk about this’.
- Actively listen to your child’s views first without interrupting. For example, ‘So you’re saying that you really want to dye your hair pink for the dress-up party, even though it will stay that colour for a long time. You also know that it might wreck your hair a bit’.
- Express your views, and ask your child to tell you more about hers. For example, ‘I want you to have fun and see your friends, but I also need to know where you’ll be and that you’ll be safe. So tell me more about the bike ride’.
- Take a break if things get tense. For example, ‘I need some time out, so let’s work this out after dinner’.
Reach a decision you can both accept
- Be clear about what is and isn’t negotiable. Understanding your child’s personality and maturity will help you decide on this. The level of trust you have in your child based on past events is also important. For example, ‘I don’t want you to travel home from the cinema on your own. How about I pick you up?’
- Think of a range of options. For example, ‘I don’t want you to paint your room black because it makes the house feel too dark. Is there another colour you’d be happy with, or perhaps you could just paint one wall black? Do you have any other ideas?’
- Show that you’re willing to compromise and that you want to agree on something that you can both accept. For example, ‘I know you want to keep checking social media, but I’m concerned about you getting your homework done and getting enough sleep. How much social media time do you think is OK after you allow time for homework and sleep?’
- Be firm about your non-negotiables. For example, ‘It doesn’t matter what other people are doing. I’ll pick you up after the movie finishes’.