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!