Negotiating – Is parenting mostly just informing our kids how many more minutes they have of something?

10 12 2012

I often wonder!

How much time do you spend negotiating with your kids?  I believe my household to be average with my husband being the more patient negotiator between the 2 of us.  Having been raised primarily to do as I was told and not question what my parents said, I have been significantly stretched in this area when it comes to my own children.  I often find myself questioning how to strike the balance between honoring my personal limits and acquiescing to what my children want.

Negotiating with my kids has always called to the surface my personal values, and beliefs and even more so with the holiday season upon us.  What comes to mind when you consider the following questions:

  • How do you negotiate the limits on your children’s Christmas gifts?
  • What’s the benchmark for how late your children can stay up for holiday gatherings?
  • How do you keep sugar levels at bay, and diets balanced and nutritious with the draw of extra sweets and holiday treats, as we’re putting on the extra pounds ourselves?
  • And my most challenging question, how do you preserve a healthy sense of altruism when children have so much more material wealth than ever before?

At the height of this year’s negotiating season, and before calling in the mediator, remember to breathe and consider how a coach approach can help you strike a win-win with your kids by following the RALI process:

  1. Establish Rapport – meet your children where they are;
  2. Build Awareness –  through questions and curiosity help your children define what’s driving their wants/needs/desires;
  3. Highlight past Learnings – have them recall a positive experience that may add a different perspective to the situation;
  4. Inspire action – based on their own learnings, empower and challenge  your children to take action on their own behalf and find alternate means of having their needs met.

Finally, I share for your consideration the following from the Twelve Exercises for Mindful Parenting by Myla and John Kabat-Zinn”Everyday Blessings – The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting”:

#5. Practice altruism, putting the needs of your children above your own whenever possible.  Then see if there isn’t some common ground, where your true needs can also be met.  You may be surprised at how much overlap is possible, especially if you are patient, and strive for balance.

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