When your child makes a request,
REFLECT: “You want to go to the store and get a new Jesse guy.”
VALIDATE: “You are saying this is very important to you because your Jesse guy broke.”
CONSIDER: Try to find a way to say yes. “We could go to the store tomorrow after school and you could bring your allowance money and see if you have enough.”
RESPOND: Clearly respond. “We cannot go to the store today.”
EXPLAIN: We have too many things we already have to do today like soccer and a doctor’s appointment.
NEGOTIATE: If your children are clever like mine, this step is sometimes followed by negotiating. “I will quit soccer so we can go to the store.”
CONSIDER: Again, consider their proposition. What they are doing here is problem solving. This is a very good skill to encourage. Try to find a way to say yes.
RESPOND: “We have committed to 4 weeks of soccer. Once the 4 weeks is up, you are welcome to choose a different activity. For today, I have really thought about our schedule and tried to find a way to go to the store today. But it just cannot happen today.”
This is where the negotiation ends. If my children ask again, they hear a firm, “Asked and answered.”
If you are new to this, you might be met with continued negotiation attempts. The most important thing is to stay in the state of my mind that you and your child are not on opposite sides of a battle field. You are on your child’s side. “Asked and answered. If you would like me to listen to you express your feelings about this disappointment, I would be more than willing to do so.” But the answer will not change. The negotiation phase is over. The answer is final. “I hear you. That is so disappointing that you had hoped to replace your Jesse toy today, only to realize that we can’t make it happen today. Waiting is hard, especially with a broken friend in your hand.”