What do you picture when you hear the word “negotiations”? Is it a group of important businessmen or politicians sitting around a big round conference table and discussing important matters? It might be.

But the truth of the matter is that we are all involved in some kind of negotiations every day. We negotiate with our partners, colleagues, children and even ourselves. Every relationship is a negotiation, a process that never ends.

Negotiation means reaching some kind of agreement. But how to make compromises with noncompliant children who want what they want and when they want it? Usually this “when” means “right now”.

Children do have a legitimate right to question the limits and expectations that we lay on them but we as parents need to stay focused and keep in mind what we want to accomplish. We need to choose our battles wisely.

There are situations when we need to realize that there is no need to get involved in power struggles and that it is better to back down.

When we know what we want out of a situation and we want to make sure that the interests of both sides are taken into account, we need to allow our children to participate in decision making. This will help them become more independent and not merely obedient. However, we should carefully structure the choices that we present to them. These choices need to be age-appropriate. When children see that parents listen to them and take their views into consideration, this positively affects their self-confidence.

Sometimes, however, a firm decision and a quick solution are required, but we need to make sure that we don’t use the “because I said so” sentence too often because our children will tune us out.

And remember these wise words: “Compromise is not about losing. It is about deciding that the other person has just as much right to be happy with the end result as you do”. (D. Martini)