How to negotiate with your teenagers without losing your mind!
Teenage years can be a turbulent experience for both parents and teenagers. Parents often wonder what happened to their teens who seem belligerent and noncompliant. Teenagers are often trying to break down the walls to independence and push the limits. In dealing with most of their teens’ demands, (i.e., asking for later curfew), parents can sometimes feel scared that their teens are heading for trouble. It is typical that the frequency of negotiation increases as kids get older.
It can be worrisome for parents because they have less control. Studies indicate that parents have greater influence on their teens’ lives when they give up control in small but steady pieces.
The key to effective negotiation is clear communication. Researchers have shown that teens who communicate openly with their parents are more likely to be academically successful, have high self-esteem and are less likely to abuse substances. It is absolutely essential that parents are able to negotiate with their teens so they can guide them through some dramatic changes and provide a solid and supportive presence.
Tips for effective negotiation with your teenagers:
- Negotiation is the basis for problem solving, setting rules and limits with your teenagers. It does not mean giving up or giving in. When dealing with conflicts with teenagers, parents who stay calm, model respect and follow through with some consequences, raise competent and successful young adults.
- Negotiation is a two-way process that encourages both parents and teens to participate in making decisions. Parents who embrace negotiation and value their teenagers feelings and thoughts are able to resolve conflicts and have a healthy relationship with their teens.
- Negotiation gives parents a great deal of valuable information about their teenagers’ values, interests and needs. It does not have to turn into a “win/lose” proposition. Blaming and accusing only builds up more walls and ends communication between parents and teenagers. Parents and teens have a healthy and successful exchange, when teens feel heard, understood, and with a sense of having a solution, that is “win-win” rather than “win/lose.”
- Negotiation is most effective when parents and teenagers are able to not only recognize and define the problem, but also reach a mutual solution. It creates a healthy balance between giving and getting.
Teaching your teenagers the art of successful negotiation is possible. Negotiation is a life-long skill that can be learned and practiced. If you are concerned about your teens’ behavior, please seek professional help.