5 Strategies for Negotiating with Your Teen
Talking to your children about complicated issues is not only a daunting task, but it can also seriously damage your relationship with them. Knowing the art of negotiating with your teen in a healthy way is key to building strong family relationships and effectively managing conflict.
Why is negotiating with your teen so valuable?
Negotiation is a process in which there are two different positions about the same issue and both parties are interested in reaching an agreement. In such an agreement, each side will have to compromise and make proposals.
The only healthy negotiation is one in which both parties win. To ensure that you guarantee a healthy negotiation with your child, it’s necessary that mutual compromises are made.
According to Gabriel Bello, a clinical psychologist specializing in adolescence, negotiating with your child is a way of educating for peace. By negotiating with your child, you develop a mutual moral commitment, which will strengthen his or her maturity and tolerance.
The benefits of healthy negotiation
- If your child wants to express their opinion in the most reasonable way possible, negotiation will help them think through what they want and need.
- Negotiation undoubtedly encourages your child to mature in the whole process of proposition and surrender, which is fundamental to adult life.
- Negotiating with your teenager teaches them how to compromise. This involves knowing how to take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions.
- Development of empathy. Negotiation teaches your child to understand other points of view and to consider the position of the other person.
Strategies for negotiating with your teen
Prepare for negotiation
Talking to your partner or a family member and asking for their advice will help you to be ready when the time comes. You should also reflect on what you would like to discuss with your child.
In addition to that, you need to prepare yourself emotionally. Maintaining patience, showing empathy, and tolerating frustration are key to negotiating.
Sometimes conflict can arise unexpectedly and there’s no time for preparation. In these cases, you should try to postpone the time to deal with the conflict. It’s very important that you agree to negotiate as soon as possible. This will increase your child’s confidence in you.
Willingness to find a win-win agreement
According to Gabriel Bello, if you want to succeed in the negotiation, you must be willing to agree on a solution. You can’t start negotiating with your child if you’re only set on getting your way without listening to them.
On the other hand, Bello stresses the importance of patience. After the first negotiations, your child will most likely find it difficult to keep the agreement. However, the key to success in negotiating with your teen is second chances. Gradually, your child will mature into a responsible and committed person.
Agree on a time to negotiate with your teen
Agreeing together on the time and place for the negotiation will help your child prepare mentally for the situation. It will give them the opportunity to organize their ideas and to be able to reflect on what they want.
Also, agreeing on a specific time for the negotiation will help them to collect their emotions for when the time comes. Failure will be assured if we try to negotiate in the heat of the conflict.
Take turns talking during the negotiation
Taking turns during a negotiation when expressing opinions not only helps to keep a calm and relaxed tone in the conversation, but it’s also the best way to be able to express ideas in a clear and reasoned way.
During the negotiation, ask them to let you know if they’re comfortable with the conversation. Ask them to tell you what they think about what you’re saying. This makes it easier for your child to know that you’re listening and paying attention, and that their opinion is important to you.
Not everything is negotiable
Your teen should understand from the beginning that there are issues that cannot be negotiated. Respect for family members, such as siblings and parents, is a non-negotiable issue.
Times they can stay out till, weekly outings with friends, time spent on the Internet, etc., are some examples of issues that are clearly negotiable.
Negotiation is the best option
In short, teach your teen that negotiation is the best way of resolving conflicts. Help them understand that reaching an agreement and seeking a solution together is the most effective way to deal with conflicts.
Knowing how to negotiate in a healthy way will not only improve the relationship with your child, but will also provide them with some very valuable skills for their personal and professional future.
“Good habits formed in youth make all the difference.”
– Aristotle –