Admittedly, it can be tricky to teach teenagers for several reasons. Primarily teenage years are marked by chaotic changes – physically, emotionally, and even cognitively- and often this means fluctuations in motivation, attention, and behavior. Of course, teenagers can and should be taught and there are several proven ways to do just that.
In particular, teaching your teenager negotiation skills is something that’ll come in handy for them throughout their lives in many different scenarios – from negotiating with a tiling installation service to communicating with a difficult romantic partner; kudos!
Here are 3 tips to help you out.
Model Effective Negotiation
Really, you want to model effective negotiation because children learn a lot by observing the behavior of adults, especially their parents. How?
It’s a good idea to explain why they should do things. For example, “You want to clean your room because then you’ll have a clean and organized space.”
Then, show your teenager how to actively listen by making eye contact, nodding, and asking clarifying questions. For instance, “I hear that you want to stay out later with your friends. Can you help me understand your reasons?”
You should even demonstrate the art of compromise. When discussing curfew times, say something like, “I’m willing to extend your curfew by 30 minutes on weekends if you can promise to check in with me when you arrive at your friend’s house.”
Role-playing scenarios mean your teenager gets to practice negotiation skills in a safe and controlled environment. How?
You want to select scenarios that are relevant to your teenager’s life, such as negotiating an allowance increase.
Also, play the other side of the negotiation and have your teen take the lead. Then, discuss what went well and what could be improved. Offer constructive feedback on their approach. For example, “You did a great job expressing your needs, but you could have asked more open-ended questions to understand the other person’s perspective better.”
It’s a good idea to teach negotiation strategies because it helps your teenager build a toolkit of techniques for resolving conflicts and reaching mutually beneficial agreements. How?
- Explain the concept of win-win, where both parties gain from the negotiation. For example, when discussing a family vacation destination, say, “It’s best when we find a vacation spot that we all enjoy, so we can have a great time together.”
- Emphasize the importance of preparation. Before negotiating a later curfew, suggest that your teenager should gather reasons and supporting evidence, like good grades and responsible behavior.
- Teach the power of empathy. Say they want to borrow the car, encourage them to consider your concerns and express empathy, such as, “I understand you’re worried about the car, but I’ll be careful, and I promise to refill the gas tank.”
Teaching your teenager negotiation skills it’s a very worthwhile decision that’ll benefit them for a lifetime. Try out these tips and make things easier!