Negotiation and Taming Kids? Does it sound like two unrelated topics? Well then read on..
The official meaning for Taming is “to bring back from wildness”. And kids are wild, in their imagination as well as reasoning.
They don’t reason out, one bit the way we adults place our logic. They live in their own compulsions and tend to think those as more important than yours.
Well now it’s the turn for negotiation. Negotiation is nothing but a process involving two or more parties trying to engage with each other and attain a Win-Win scenario for all.
Is Win-Win possible at all in this 21st century where everything is aligned towards zero sum – “Today you win I lose, tomorrow I win you lose, eventually we both lose and start over again”. Or better yet, “today I win at the cost of someone, tomorrow I lose more than I won the previous day, net result I end up at square one (or minus one)”.
I hope I am making some bit of sense here, that negotiation is often a misunderstood term where people associate it to both sides of the table aiming to outsmart or con each other and win lopsidedly.
Well, that’s a myth. Negotiation is all about Win-Win, and another unbelievable fact about negotiation is, the bedrock of negotiation is “Truth”! That is, getting to the truth in dealing with each other. Let me explain this with a simple yet powerful story!
My kid is being down with severe bronchitis and temperature. Blame it on the changing weather – from winter to spring, which usually brings with it pathogenic attack on an unassuming immune system.
We are flooding her with both modern medicine and ancient Indian alternatives, with a bated breath to see her getting relieved of her condition as instantly as possible!
We also feel that she should bunk her school for a day and rest well to recuperate from all the bodily discomfort, else she stands a greater chance of prolonged illness resulting in longer days off from school.
This is our logic, parental logic, adult logic.
Now, we are on a Wednesday and come Friday she has her stage show where she has successfully auditioned to be a part of select group performance. That’s a big deal for her, as she’s going to perform in front of many people on a real stage.
Thursday (which is tomorrow that we are convincing her to take off) is her rehearsal day and the teacher in-charge for the show has laid out clear instruction of mandatory attendance for the same. Else, face the inevitable eviction from performing in the group!
How do I negotiate with my kid now? Given the gravity of both our genuine situations.
If I send her to school without complete recovery from her condition, she’ll get worse and undergo longer suffering plus long absenteeism.
If I don’t send her to school, she’ll curse me for depriving her chance of participating in the glory moment!
Let me tell you what I did, though I don’t know yet whether it worked or not as I am still writing this post on the same Wednesday.
I made a pact with her tonight before she hit the bed. And if she fulfills the same, she gets to go to school tomorrow. The pact (negotiation) comprises of simple set of conditions:
a) When her mommy wakes her up as usual at 5.00 AM, she does not have a snooze option even for 5 mins
b) She comes out of the bathroom after brushing and morning rituals, in exact 10 mins time as against her regular half hour ordeal
c) She reads up for her English test for 45 mins without getting distracted or needing constant nudging to get back to focus
d) She gets ready and dressed up by 7.30, well before her school van is due, without any intervention from either of us.
If she gets to breach any of the above condition, she doesn’t get to attend school for that day and gets to stay at home resting for another day.
Her win, attend the all-important rehearsal if she gets to follow the above conditions – which, if happens to the T would mean end of the world! 🙂
My win, if she can do all this gravity defying stuff, then well it actually confirms that she has gotten better of her illness and so fit to attend school. What a relief that would be, to see her back in her pink flesh!
I have little more than 6 hours to test this hypothesis, so wish me good luck for a WIN-WIN in taming my kid!
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