Parenting Mistake Renegotiating

Negotiations are a skill that many adults have to learn. There are classes one can take, presentations to attend, books to read, etc., all intended to teach us a skill that we have lost somewhere along the way.

Adults may have to learn (or acutally re-learn) the art of negotiating, but kids are born negotiators. I don’t know what happens that causes most people to lose that skill by the time they enter the workforce. Tell any kid that he or she can’t have something desired and you will immediately see master negotiation skills in action. In fact, if you analyze how your kids negotiate, you’ll wonder why your kids aren’t working in international political relations.

As an aside, I am not a fan of negotiating anything when it comes to a kid’s behavior. The authority figure should be setting the rules based on his or her (supposedly) superior judgment of the situation. That’s another discussion for another blog entry.

In this case, the parenting mistake of renegotiating comes when parents allow children who to rework an already agreed upon standard. Even worse is when this bargaining takes place after negative behavior has occurred.

Although I didn’t make note of the examples of this ineffective parenting role while I was listening to the CD, I think they were about the a kid being home on time or agreeing to do his homework and then going right to bed afterward. If parents allow kids who have broken these or other rules to try to change them after the fact, then what lesson will kids really learn? They will learn that rules you make and they agree to are pointless. They will learn to agree to anything to simply shut their parents up, thinking they will just change break, and then amend the rule later as it suits them.

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