Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Art of Negotiation

I have a pretty good routine with the kids. I get off work, Molly, Zach and I head to the pool to pick Abby up from swim team, we come home, they get in the bath while I start dinner, I bathe them, they get dressed, eat dinner, I put Zach down, then the girls and I read 2 books, we say our prayers, I tuck them in and lie on their floor while Molly falls asleep. Quite often Abby will fall asleep too, but lately, with school out I've let her get back up once Molly is asleep (usually only takes a few minutes) and watch a bit of television until 8 or 8:30.

On Thursday night at 8:30 I told Abby it was time to turn the TV off and go to bed. She calmly came to me and asked if she could stay up a bit longer. I told if she could give me a really good reason why she thought she should be allowed to stay up I would consider it, but I really thought she needed to go to bed. 

She tried the typical, "because I want to" or "because I just want to watch one more show". Well, I wouldn't let her get away with those answers. I told her to really think about it and give me a really good reason why she should get to stay up.  She thought about it for a few minutes then said, "Mom, I think I should get to stay up late because it is the only time I get to be by myself. All day long I have to play with Molly and Zach and share and do what they want to do. This is my quiet time and I think I deserve it."

I said, "Sold, that was a very good argument, Abby. It was well thought out and well presented." I told her I was very impressed and let her stay up until 9:30. At 9:30, without me saying a word, she turned the TV off, came and kissed me and went to bed.  I explained to her how it is very important to learn how to "negotiate", how to be able to express yourself without arguing, but in an intelligent, thought provoking manner.  

I really think this was a great lesson for Abby, in a unique setting. I plan to use this tactic with her more and more as I do feel it is a very important skill to master.  I only hope it does not come back to haunt me!


Darkwulfe said...

hmm...why do I feel I am going to have my hands full? lol

Iris Silk said...

Very reasonable response from a smart Mom to a smart child.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

Very good lesson!