The Value of Negotiable Rules and How to Negotiate
From Jean Illsley Clarke’s book Growing Up, Again.
Also read her book How Much Is Enough?
- Parents learn to be flexible and responsive to child’s developmental changes.
- Nonnegotiable rules become negotiable as child matures to adolescence.
- Child learns to think clearly and to develop responsibility.
- Child learns how to work out differences with others. An essential skill for the workplace and future family relationships.
- By age 18, consider having all rules negotiable. Gradually give more freedoms so they will be prepared for decision making at this age.
- Brain maturation involves lots of practice making decision, making mistakes and having successes. Maturation last at least until age 25 if not longer. .
- Neuropsychologist Alexander Luria states that a child’s ability to combine new ideas partially results from maturation of three special systems in the brain he calls “functional units.” Source: 1994, Your Child’s Growing Mind, Jane M. Healy.
- 1st unit regulates consciousness and paying attention.
- 2nd unit converts information into meaningful signals, analyzes, organizes, and completes the understanding.
- 3rd unit evaluates information and then plans action based on this new information. This very mature process is being developed over a lifetime.
- BRAIN FOOD for optimal brain growth: 1. new life experiences, 2. challenges, 3. problem solving, 4. discussions, 5. questions, 6. new information.
Keep in mind while negotiating with children
- Know your child by spending time listening to their thoughts without correcting so you gain a better understanding of their brain maturation.
- Respect their current abilities.
- Don’t expect a child at any age, even teenagers, to act like an adult. They will act according to their age.
- Learn to love the developmental stage of your child. Focus on growth not your perception of what you want them to be so parenting will be less work.
- When given a new freedom and they make a mistake; let them know the impact of their behavior on others and tell them they can try again later.
- Listen openly to their requests.
- When you have concerns about their abilities, state them. Tell your child how they need to convince you to give them more freedoms.
- Gather accurate information upon which to base your decision.
- If you are not ready yet to negotiate, let them know that you will in the future. Then, you have to be willing to self reflect and possibly let go of unfounded fears or handle the anxiety that comes along with adolescence by releasing your tensions with other adults.
- If you develop a parent-child contract of reward for learning a new skill, make sure you keep your part of the contract. Ex: If you do your laundry for 2 weeks, then we’ll go out to a movie. After the contract, the child is expected to keep up this behavior.
Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 341.0779 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.