What Parents Need To Know About Negotiating

by drjim on August 18, 2017

Sometimes the toughest negotiations happen at home

Sometimes the toughest negotiations happen at home
Image Credit: More Good Foundation

When we think about negotiating, we often picture it happening in a business setting. On the table before us are things such a prices, delivery dates, and quantities. However, it turns out that we use our principled negotiation styles and negotiating techniques all the time and not always at work. As parents, we spend a great deal of time negotiating with one tough customer: our children. This type of negotiating requires special techniques in order to get the outcome that we want.

You Need To Distinguish What You Want

When we enter into a negotiation with our children, we need to understand that there are a number of things that actually are very similar to what goes on in a business negotiation. One of the most important things is that we need to make sure that prior to starting the negotiation that we fully understand is what is really important to us.

Sure, there are a lot of different things that we probably want our children to do (“don’t wear those clothes outside!”). However, what we need to keep in mind is that the things that we want can be separated into two groups. The first group is nonnegotiable items and the second group we can negotiate on. The reason that the first group is nonnegotiable is often because the health and safety of our children is involved (don’t use drugs, don’t drive drunk, be nice to others, etc.). However, we need to understand that everything else is up for negotiation.

Get Rid Of The Peer Group

When we are negotiating with children, one of the most important things that we need to keep in mind is that we are not just negotiating with the people that we can see in the room. Their peer group and their standing in that group can play a key role in how they approach the negotiations. This is not all that different from when in a business negotiations the people that we are actually talking with are simply expressing someone else’s opinions.

In order to successfully negotiate with your children, you are going to have to clearly establish that you will only negotiate with them and not their friends. The phrase “but everyone else is doing it” must be banned from the negotiations. All that matters is what you are going to be willing to negotiate with your children. What their peers have been able to negotiate with their parents may be interesting, but should play no role in your negotiations.

Always Get Timely Information

When you are negotiating with children, one of the most important things that you need to keep in mind is that things can change. In fact, things can change during the negotiations. If you child wants to go to a concert, just exactly who is going with them and how everyone is going to get there may be very fluid. You need to make sure that you are always getting timely information.

Early on in the negotiations you need to establish ground rules that state that you’ll be informed when things change. Without this knowledge, you can’t hope to negotiate an agreement that you’ll both be able to live with. If things change and you are not aware of the changes, then the agreement that you’ll reach with your children will be moot the moment both of you agree to it.

What All Of This Means For You

The world of business requires constant negotiating in order to arrange for the purchase and delivery of goods. Although this can take up a lot of our time, there is another type of negotiating that can take up just as much of our time. Our children often want to do or get things that will require negotiating with us and we need to be ready for these types of negotiations also.

One of the most important things for parents to realize is that when they are negotiating with their children, not all items are the same. Instead, there are two groups: non-negotiable and negotiable. You can’t yield on the non-negotiable; however, everything else is up for grabs. Peer groups play an important role in our children’s lives but we need to take steps to make sure that they don’t play a role in our negotiations with them. Information is key to reaching an agreement with your children and so they need to keep you informed if things change during the course of the negotiations.

The good news is that parents have been negotiating with their children since the beginning of time. What we need to realize is that the skills that we’ve developed in order to negotiate in the workplace can be used when we negotiate with our children. Take the time to use these tips and you’ll discover that it may become easier to live with your children!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: If you decide that you really don’t want your children to do something, what negotiating steps should you take to talk them out of it?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we are preparing to negotiate, we tend to focus on the things that we can see such as the negotiation styles and negotiating techniques that we’ll be using. However, it turns out that in order to be successful in a negotiation a great deal relies on what is going on inside of our heads as much as what is happening at the bargaining table. How can we master our thoughts in order to be successful negotiators?

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Caption: Success in a negotiation is based on both identity and morality

Caption: Success in a negotiation is based on both identity and morality
Image Credit: Herry Lawford

When we think about what it is going to take for us to be successful in our next negotiation, we often think that what we need to do is to master some more negotiation styles or negotiating techniques. It turns out that this is not the case. Instead, what we need to do is to take a moment and look internally so that we can have a better understanding of what the other side the table is hoping to get out of the negotiations. If we can understand what they want, then we can determine how we can help them to get there. Identification and morality can play a key role in making this happen.

Identification

Often times when we sit down to negotiate with someone, we really don’t know them. Sure, we may have done research and talked to other people who have negotiated with them, but we have not had a chance to spend any time with them before this negotiation. This is the time that we want to try to exert what is called “referent power”. In order to make this happen, what we are going to have to do is to try to get the other side to identify with you.

What you are going to want to make happen is to get the other side to understand the situation that you now find yourself in. You are going to want to be broadcasting empathy to them. Ultimately what you are trying to make happen is to get the other side to share both your current feelings and your aspirations. The ability to make this happen is something that we are not born with, it’s a skill that we need to develop.

How we choose to conduct ourselves during a negotiation is what is going to cause the other side to cooperate with us and to show us some respect during the negotiations. The way that you can make this happen is by preparing for the negotiations. You’ll need to ask yourself two questions: what can I either do or say to the other side in order to create a trusting relationship with them? Finally, you need to ask yourself how you can approach the other side during the negotiations so that they will emotionally identify with both you and your position.

Morality

I guess that we could all agree that the perfect negotiation would be one where we were negotiating with ourselves. We’d understand where the other side was coming from, what they wanted and the normal set of communication problems would eliminated. Since that’s never going to happen, we’re going to have to hope that the person that we are negotiating with is a lot like us. We’re going to have to hope that they share a similar set of ethical standards and values.

If this is the case, then we’ll always have a final fallback position that we can count on in our negotiations. If it becomes necessary, then we can always ask the other side simply to be fair. If you make a request like this, then you are going to have to be careful about how you actually state it. You are going to have to be humble when you make your request for fairness. When people receive a request like this, they generally respond positively.

This tactic goes by a number of different names, but one of the most popular is “the surrender tactic”. What you are basically telling the other side is that you are going to allow them to determine the type of deal that they are going to be willing to present to you. They need to understand that they are now in a more powerful position; however, with that power comes a great deal of responsibility to not abuse it. They will find that their options are now somewhat limited and they will be forced to provide you with a deal that you can live with.

What All Of This Means For You

In your next negotiation, the only way that you are going to be successful is to get the other side to agree to what you are asking them to do. There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this, but connecting with the other side using identification and relying on the other side’s morality can both play a role.

In order to get the other side to agree to the proposals that you are making, you are going to have to get them to see the world the way that you do. This means that you need to use “referent power” to try to get the other side to identify with you. If you find yourself in a position where you don’t appear to have any way out, you need to realize that you have another option. You can simply appeal to the other side’s sense of fairness. More often than not, this works out for you.

The good thing about any negotiation is that you have a number of different ways that you can use to reach where you want to get to. Connecting with the other side and using their sense of fairness are just two of the ways that are available to you. In your next negotiation, keep in mind that you have these options and then go ahead and use them when the time is right!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Negotiating Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if the other side does not seem to be acting fairly?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Negotiator Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Negotiator Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we think about negotiating, we often picture it happening in a business setting. On the table before us are things such a prices, delivery dates, and quantities. However, it turns out that we use our principled negotiation styles and negotiating techniques all the time and not always at work. As parents, we spend a great deal of time negotiating with one tough customer: our children. This type of negotiating requires special techniques in order to get the outcome that we want.

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