The Importance of Teaching Children to Negotiate
All children encounter moments in their lives when they need to negotiate. The truth is, parents already know that their little ones are excellent negotiators around the house. But what happens when they go out into the real world? Our kids will experience situations where their needs and wants come into conflict with those of others. That’s why we want to talk about teaching children to negotiate the right way.
Learning to handle these situations is a life skill that children need to learn to put into practice as soon as possible. Implement and reinforce the following principles whenever you can. That way, your little ones will gradually learn to defend what they consider what is right, fair, and just on their own.
How to teach children to negotiate in life
First of all, you need to keep the following in mind when it comes to teaching your children to negotiate:
- Help your children understand that life isn’t a competition. It’s not about getting everything they want. Rather, it’s about finding solutions where everyone can get what they need. Successful negotiating means that both parties make certain sacrifices, but both come out happy. And this is much better than if one party gets everything he or she wants while the other feels completely crushed.
- Emphasize the fact that it’s important to maintain a respectful attitude in order for negotiation to work. If either party feels under attack, then he or she won’t be willing to make compromises.
- Remind your children that one way to negotiate is to openly and directly recognize the feelings, needs, and concerns of the other party. For example, by using phrases like, “Feeling left out is awful. Let’s find a solution that’s fair for everyone.”
- Successful negotiation depends on listening just as much as talking. Encourage your children to ask questions that help them completely understand the other person’s point of view.
- Highlight the importance of keeping an open mind. Help your children think in a way that’s flexible and creative enough to look for solutions.
- Reinforce the importance of staying calm. When situations get heated, teach your children that the best thing to do is take a break to rest. Then, once they’ve calmed down, they can come back to continue negotiating.
Set the foundations for negotiation
You can lay the foundations for these skills even in small children by using games that teach them the value of cooperation and compromise in order to reach goals.
For example, comprehension and memory games in which players have to respond to questions about a story in exchange for candies or other prizes can also help children to listen attentively.
You can also modify simple games that involve collecting pieces so that children can exchange pieces. To do so, they have to negotiate and make compromises. When it comes to older children, games like Monopoly can teach them a lot about the principles of negotiation.
The importance of negotiating in life
When it comes to teaching children to negotiate, it’s essential that we promote negotiations that emphasize equality and putting themselves in other peoples’ shoes. Our children need to learn to negotiate in a way that produces results that are as favorable as possible for everyone involved.
When we allow and encourage our children to negotiate, even when they’re small, we empower them and give them independence and respect.
There are many ways that we can teach our children to negotiate and in everyday situations. For example, what clothing to wear, what to eat for breakfast, how to arrange their bedrooms, what time to do their chores, etc. This also teaches autonomy.
It’s important for parents to adopt negotiation and compromise as family values. That way, they’ll raise children who know that their opinions, feelings, and needs are honored and respected. And, in turn, they’ll be much more likely to demonstrate this same honor and respect when it comes to interacting with others.
Teaching children to negotiate may be difficult, but it’s not impossible
It may be difficult to see the relationship between successfully negotiating bedtimes with a 7-year-old and negotiating a curfew with a 16-year-old. However, the sooner you can teach this life skill, the smoother things will go when your children get older.
Respect, honor, and empathy accumulate during successful negotiations that take place between parents and children during early childhood. And, as a result, this leads to more pleasant negotiations and compromises during adolescence.
Remember that negotiating with your children isn’t giving up. Rather, it’s teaching them one of the most important lessons in life .