Stay respectful with your teen throughout the whole homework negotiation process, and never give up!
Don’t hurry homework negotiations. Even when feeling provoked, impatient, annoyed, attacked…stay respectful. If the atmosphere becomes tense between you both, slow down the negotiating process, but without intending it to stop. Believe that there is no hurry – that time is still on your side even in the face of their tight deadlines and impending exams, and you will relax and stay calm and sure of yourself.
When you step back from the negotiating process a little, you are giving your teen the room to think about why you are wanting them to do more homework on particular subjects. This gives them time and space to face their own fears and concerns about failing that they have perhaps buried, without the pressure of defending their perceived right to keep everything as it is. Let them know that you are still negotiating, but that you are letting them have time to think. Your teen will appreciate your calmness and persistence, and at some point walk towards you and begin to negotiate. To stay persistent, remind yourself why homework is important.
When they do walk towards you again…..Keep negotiation times as brief as you can, and be prepared to negotiate over time, which also gives your the time to think things through before you agree to a deal. Take your time, especially when your child is an excellent and ruthless negotiator. I suggest you confer with a more skilled negotiator in between negotiations to make sure you are getting teh clearest and most useful deal you can, and that all loopholes are closed.
What do they really really want? Think carefully about ways more homework can be an inviting prospect for your teen. A good sales person doesn’t pressure, she invites. So make the deal you are offering your teen at least one of the following:- worth their while, interesting, or enjoyable. This approach works particularly brilliantly with stubborn children and teens who want to stay in control, but I tend to use it with all students whatever their age, because it gains their permission to do homework they mightn’t want to do, but that they know they should be doing in a respectful and gentle way. Here are some more ideas on negotiating with respect.
Offer something they want when they are particularly reluctant to work with you. It is perfectly okay to involve pocket money, extra computer time, use of the car, and anything that your teen particularly wants and you don’t mind giving, as part of the negotiation process.
Start small. Don’t offer too much of anything. Allow some room for your child to negotiate up.
Remember – no coercion. Always get permission. When a student says ‘no’ at any point, my first response is to say ‘okay’ and my next is to ask with great interest, ‘why is that?’ Then I listen very closely to understand. When I have listened well and thoroughly understood any concerns, we can always begin finding possible solutions that work for us both.
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