HANDLING KIDS NEGOTIATING
By BOB LANCER
Why do kids around 5-6 years old act like "little lawyers" always pleading their case and managing to find loopholes in everything in order to get their way, and is the best way of handling kids negotiating?
The challenge of handling kids negotiating usually starts between 5 and 6 years old, when the child's mind goes through a metamorphosis.
During the first six years you will hardly, if ever, need to handle this form of child behavior. The child's imaginative and reasoning capacity does not emerge as a major power for the child until around 6.
By around 6, however, the child's abstract mind emerges, and the child awakens to the power to employ reasoning for persuasion. Often, kids begin negotiating at this point for the sheer delight of using this new faculty that has unfolded.
When kids negotiate and see their parents react with frustration, overwhelm and powerlessness, the kids see negotiating as a tactic that for dominating their parent. This further encourages them to use this tactic in annoying ways to get what they want.
One effective way of handling this form of challenging child behavior is to NOT contend with it. Just allow the child to argue for his point, to repeat himself, to retort your reasoning until he tires of it. By not treating a disturbing child behavior as a big deal you remove the chld's power-incentive to repeat it. Remember that you do not have to argue with your child or go on explaining yourself. Just do what you believe is right.
Remember also that kids' negotiating is not all bad, however annoying it may be Try to enjoy, respect and honor the value of this new development. It is a sign of your child's healthy maturation. Understand that the child needs to practice it to develop the reasoning and communication power he will need for a successful life.
When your child negotiates, calmly provide him with one clear reason why you are not giving into his demand (it needs to be valid and connected to the child's true needs), and then avoid repeating yourself or arguing about it.
Patiently hear the child's arguments, and reflect those arguments back to show you hear them accurately, without necessarily wavering (unless the child's reason really does trump yours).
Eventually, kids' negotiating winds down, as the newness of it wears off if and as you demonstrate the self-control to not react to this form of child beahvior with stress and strain.
Learn how to better handle kids negotiating and develop the self-control you need to more effefctively solve every child behavior problem that you might face in Bob Lancer's book: Parenting With Love, Without Anger or Stress.