Childrearing

Mommyish Poll: Do You Negotiate With Your Children?

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Parenting wisdom tends to change with the generation. From sleeping practices to discipline techniques, parents have always chosen to adapt. With that in mind, I think that we might be on the eve on a new parenting practice. Negotiating.

For years, I always heard that you shouldn’t negotiate with your kids. It taught them to debate any and all rules. It lessened your authority. It failed to teach moral absolutes. As a young mother, one of the most common pieces of advice I got was, “Don’t negotiate with terrorists.” I’ve always considered this to be pretty good advice.

It’s true, anytime I’ve allowed my daughter to debate the rules, its always opened up the floodgates for more negotiations. If I let her stay up ten minutes late, then she wants to stay up twenty. And she wants to read an extra book. And take a toy to bed. It’s always been the classic “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” routine. So I’ve worked hard to enforce the concept that what mom says goes, no negotiations necessary.

Then, CNN posts an article about how to effectively negotiate with your children. Whoa. Back up. It’s not if you should negotiate. It’s how to. This is suddenly an option? Did I miss a decade? Did we jump to this conclusion and forget to tell everyone? The article’s author, Katia Hetter, who calmly throws out her Harvard Business credentials, talks about negotiating with her daughter as if its the most normal parenting techinque in the world. Hetter believes that negotiating is so important because “children with authoritarian parents who don’t allow children to negotiate anything grow up overly compliant or overly disruptive,” and either outcome can lead to fear and anxiety later in life. While I’ve never been concerned that my daughter would become compliant, defiance is definitely a concern. Is it possible that our problems stem from lack of choices, as opposed to lack of discipline?

To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I just read this article today, but it’s given me plenty to think about next time my daughter wants to argue about cleaning up her room or when to leave the park. So what do you all think? Is this a new parenting trend that passed me by? Or is negotiating still a road to disaster?

[b5poll id=”bdeea8bae0df24d88947d28b9d571558″].

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