The Age of Negotiation: 7 Ways to stop a Kid-Lawyer

teen-negotiatiorBoy, they’re good.  I mean really good.  I have watched some kids as young as 4, can manipulate their parents what top lawyers wish they could do before a big jury case.  In the online world especially, youth are exposed to new standards and norms for participation in online communities with collaborative interactions. Often helping teach negotiation skills.

How to Stop a Young Negotiator:

1) Don’t Let Them Tangent

Negotiators will often use the tangent tactic.  If they feel they are losing on a point, they will bring up another.  The most popular tangent tactic negotiators use is bringing up the past.  If you want to end a negotiation, do not let them tangent you.

2) Do Neutralize Their Arguments

You cannot engage a negotiator, because then you are stuck.  You are the parent, what you say, goes.  To do this, you cannot try to rationalize with them when they are at the heat of battle mode.  You want to neutralize their argument immediately.  Don’t match their level or allow excuses, this is engaging them, which is what mini-negotiators want.

3) Do Walk Away

If you cannot neutralize it with words, you can walk away from a brewing fight, or insist you talk about it later.

4) Do Correspond in Writing

Often, I find that it can be good to ask the negotiator to put their request/side in writing.  Often times they are too lazy to do this and the fight goes away, or if they do write it out it is more calm and focused.  Then you can respond in writing or calmly after each point is made.

5) Empty Threats are Broken Promises

If you threaten to do something, you must follow through.  If you don’t you are the one who will suffer next time.  They will learn quite quickly that they can talk their way out of a threat or punishment….and a negotiator is born.

6) Make the Consequence Harder for Them Than for You

I see parents follow through on threats that hurt the parents just as much (or more than the kids).  They might love watching TV, and you might love them watching TV just as much because it is your quiet time.  Therefore, if your punishment is not TV, you lose quiet time.  Then everyone suffers!

This is a pattern that can be broken.  It just might take a few bad arguments, but if you stand firm, they will learn!

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9 thoughts on “The Age of Negotiation: 7 Ways to stop a Kid-Lawyer”

  1. This is great info. I’ll practice these “tactics” with my 13yo daughter becuase she is an excellent negotiator and I fall into the pitfalls that are mentioned here. Thanks, Victoria

  2. At school I follow through even though I get a lot of tantrum throwing, screaming, and bellowing like a wounded cow. (I teach 3s through PreK) If they are waking all their classmates up during nap time, and I tell them if they don’t stop they won’t get ice cream when the ice cream truck comes on Fridays, they don’t get ice cream. I always hear, seriously from 4-year-olds, “Please! Give me one more chance!” I don’t want anyone reading this to think we withhold food, as in their basics. Every day they receive all of the menu items until they are full, even to receiving 3rds and 4ths if they want it. Ice Cream Day is a special reward and it is earned.

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