How to Negotiate With Your Children According to Their Age

Your child is likely to cry or protest more than you want, so it's important to learn to negotiate with your children. Keep reading.
How to Negotiate With Your Children According to Their Age

Last update: 29 December, 2021

Your child is likely to cry or protest more than you’d like, or to engage in inappropriate behaviors such as hitting another child or not wanting to lend their toys. But you can relax! All conflicts have a solution; you can always negotiate with your children.

Psychologist Rosa Jove, the author of books such as Dormir sin lágrimas (Sleeping Without Tears), explains that when a child is angry or irritable, they only seek to satisfy their unmet needs.

“These tantrums are the child’s own ideas confronted with the wishes of their parents: They don’t understand what’s happening, they become confused and emotionally explode,” says the expert, who recommends that parents first try to understand their child.

Rest assured: Know that as your child grows older, the tantrums will pass. However, family conflicts are still part of living together, and you must learn to deal with these situations and negotiate with your children.

Regardless of age, explains Jove, parents should see conflict as a learning opportunity, as they’re an essential part of their growth.

In her books, the mother of two also offers advice on how to overcome tantrums, conflicts, and behavior problems. Here’s a summary.

The stage of misunderstood ideas

This is a stage that occurs between 0 and 20 months of age and can manifest itself, for example, when your baby is bothered by their diaper. As a result, they communicate with the only language they have: Crying and complaining.

It’s difficult to know why a baby cries, explains Jove, who invites parents to find out, trying to see what happens. The most frequent causes of babies crying are usually physiological: Hunger, sleepiness, dirty diapers, some discomfort with clothes, an itch, etc.

If not, she suggests staying close to the child. She also recommends breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a unique pain reliever for children in this period. In addition to solving hunger, it fulfills the need for contact with their mother ”.

A toddler girl sitting in her crib.

The terrible 2 years, hard to negotiate

In most psychology books there’s a chapter entitled: “The ‘no’ state”, “The terrible twos”, or “The age of tantrums”; as this is the time when tantrums usually appear.

These usually stop before 5 years of age and begin because the child’s beginning to experience independence.

“The only problem is that this implies an important emotional conflict for the children because, as the parents don’t understand what’s happening and usually get upset with them, they notice that they’re facing the beings they love the most and this causes them an ambivalence of feelings ”, conceptualizes the child psychologist.

In one of the chapters of her book, La crianza feliz ( Happy Parenting), Jove summarizes what to do:

In the event of a tantrum, apply the three-step technique: First, understand the child; second, educate them and explain what’s expected of them, and third, let them choose their own solutions.

Here’s a dialogue that exemplifies the three-step technique:

– Mom: Honey, Aunt Marta arrived. Come give her a kiss.

– Child: I don’t want to.

-Mom: Oh, it seems that you don’t want to kiss Aunt Marta. (Step # 1, understanding: We acknowledge their feelings).

-Child: Right.

-Mom: When people visit someone else’s house, we should welcome them, even if at that moment you don’t really want to, did you know? (Step # 2, education: We explain what’s expected of them or what’s happening).

-Child: No. (And if he says yes, the process continues the same way).

-Mom: What can we do to make Aunt Marta feel good without your kiss? (Step # 3, we let them choose an option. We can also give them two of our own and let them choose).

-Mom: What would you rather do? You could give Aunt Marta a welcome kiss or you could blow her one from the door while saying: Hello.

-Child: I’ll say hello and I’ll blow her a kiss.

-Mom: I think you found a good solution.

A young girl puckering her lips.

From 5 years on

From 5 years of age on, coexistence problems arise, which are normal and unavoidable in all families.

To deal with them, Jove recommends that it’s better to follow democratic guidelines in the family, in which everyone can participate and feel heard. To solve problems in the short term, it’s best to follow the three-step technique to negotiate with your children.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.