Negotaiting with your teen

I consider myself a good teacher. I pick up on the subtleties and am able to read the emotions in the children’s faces. I can even reason with them so that they see a different point of view. But have you heard of ‘being so close that you cannot see the forest for the trees”? Well, that is where I was.

I do not like confrontation. I am pretty easy going. It takes a lot before anything can rattle me. But I never realized how much time I would spend negotiating with my t(w)eens. Ai yi yi! It almost seems like every conversation is a negotiation. By the time the kids are into college I can probably handle labor union negotiations.

It was one of those incidents where my teen needed to be dropped off and since us parents still need to drive it was a simple – so what time can we leave? It does not seem to be a big deal, except this was for a practise for which we would need to drive 60 miles one way for three days in a row!!! If you have teens of your own, you will notice they are very good at sales. They make you think that it is in your best interest if you do as they tell you – after all you don’t want to embarrass your child now, would you?

Wait a minute – you almost committed to a time without thinking of all the other errands and schedules. Ah hah – that is when the tantrums start flowing – ‘but you promised’ will be the most vocal of them all. Don’t let it get to you, do not react and be firm.

‘I have to be at school in 10 minutes – so can you please hurry up and make your discussion and tell me what time we can leave?’ will be the next strategy. Don’t fall for it – be strong and say – we shall discuss it once we know the rest of the schedule. Interesting point to note is that they will only be talking to one parent.

Only when my spouse mentioned it to me – that is when I realized – present a united front. Safety in numbers especially for those of us who eat guilty pie real easy. Now the next question I asked is – have you asked your dad? If the answer is no – then of course all further discussion is suspended until further notice.

Ask for alternatives – that seems to work – you do want this to be a win win for all. I did present an alternative and asked my teen to come up with one. We did end up coming up with a compromise – in the end alls well that ends well. Phew! quite an exhausting experience.

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