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The Art of Negotiating with Kids


Mom: We're leaving in five minutes. Boy: Ten Mom: Seven. Then it's time to go.

There Are Times to Negotiate and Times Not to Negotiate

"None of us has time to negotiate every conflict but we all negotiate our way through parenting whether we realize it or not. So, the question is not 'Should I negotiate?' but 'When and how?' Keep in mind that some issues are not negotiable (safety, health) and some times are not appropriate to negotiate at all."

Scott Brown

Author, How to Negotiate With Kids Even When You Think You Shouldn't

You say, "It's time for bed." "It's time to go." "It's time for homework." "It's dinnertime!" But your child says, "Five more minutes." You are tired of saying "No" and tired of fighting. So, what do you do? Give in? Blow up? Or — negotiate?

Life with kids often involves negotiation, whether we like it or not. According to Scott Brown, author of How to Negotiate With Kids Even When You Think You Shouldn't, "The negotiation between parents and kids can actually be a great learning experience for your kids. If you don't negotiate, your children may not learn how to deal with conflicts constructively. If you don't teach them how to work with you, they may never learn how to work with others."

However, negotiating with kids is often a challenging process. "Parents need to learn how to manage their own emotions and frustrations. One thing we know from observing negotiators of all ages is that when emotions run high, negotiating skill drops dramatically," says Brown, who has worked internationally in conflict resolution.

Before you enter your next negotiation with your child (and that could be in five minutes!), click "Next" below and get pointers for negotiating with kids and more.

Strategies for Working It Out

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