Teenagers can be a tough to manage. Not only are they striving for independence and dealing with surging hormone levels, but they also spend their days in a social pressure cooker that would send any adult to an asylum.
Maybe you’ve successfully maintained the authority to lay down the law or maybe you haven’t. Either way, negotiating with your teen can be a successful option if you’re prepared and patient.
Some parents believe they should have the only voice on all matters. However, if that’s not working out well, it might be time to consider a different strategy. Be flexible and give negotiating a try.
- Make a list of the things you want to negotiate. Each negotiation is a little different. While a set of skills and strategies makes for a good starting point, the details can vary. A few areas you might want to negotiate include:
- Schoolwork / Grades
- Social events
- Determine what your child is really after. Your teenager might say that he wants to have his own car, but what is the reason? Is it the pride of owning a car? Independence? The unlimited use of transportation? Do all of his friends have cars?
- What need is he trying to meet? Figure that out and then, together, you can find a way to address that need.
- Listening skills are important when negotiating. Stop talking long enough to find out what’s going on and what you child desires.
- Many times, the best deals require both sides to give up something. Look for the middle ground and be prepared to give a little. Also expect your teen to give a little, too.
- Be respectful to each other. You might think that you don’t have to be respectful to your child if you don’t feel like it, but that belief contributes to many challenges. People are much more likely to give you what you want if you show them respect.
- People never forget the times they believe they were mistreated. This includes your children.
- At the same time, there are things that are non-negotiable. You might never consider allowing your 15-year old daughter to date a 23-year old. And you probably won’t let your 17-year-old son go to Bangkok with his friends for two weeks. Let your teen know upfront those things that are non-negotiable.
- Ensure that the final arrangement is clear to both parties. Ambiguity and vagueness leads to challenges down the road.
Put your negotiating skills to work with your child. You may have spent years honing your ability to put together corporate mergers at work. See if the same skills can be successful for you at home.
Negotiations don’t have to be a formal, sit-down, type of event. Casual negotiations happen all of the time.
For example, maybe your teen promised to wash the car today, but was just invited to go to the lake with his best friend’s family. You might reach an agreement that he’ll wash the car on Sunday morning before doing anything else that day.
If your teen has a history of not following through, you might even build a punishment into the deal if the car doesn’t get washed on time.
Try negotiating with your teen. It might ease the tension in your home and enhance your relationship.