homework, Working with teens

Negotiating homework: Part 3 – How to

The negotiation steps to gain your child’s permission to read at home more often:

These negotiation steps are written for a younger child but can also be used to negotiate anything with your teen, from driving your car, to completing all homework at high school, to studying more regularly for exams.

1. The soft sell: How to set clear and exciting goals you both want.

Agree about what you both want to change or both want to happen. As when you are selling anything to anyone – you have to get ‘buy in’. A good sales person gets their potential buyer to say ‘yes’ often. It’s called ‘the soft sell’. You make statements that they agree with and the buyer says ‘yes’.

However, what a very good sales person also does, is listen very closely to what the potential buyer is saying, and then incorporate that information in their talk with the buyer so that the potential buyer feels secure that the seller deeply understands their concerns.

If you were negotiating reading more at home, part of the conversation between you and your child might go like this:-
“You seem to dislike reading, is that because you find it difficult?”
Child responds and you listen carefully.
“ I think you said that you want to get better at reading, but the books are boring and too hard. Is that right?”
Child responds and you listen carefully.
“If I could help you get better at reading what would you like to be able to read?
Child responds and you listen carefully then repeat what you think they want and check. “So you want to read books by…. and books about…..is that right? I think we could find books like that, and I think I can probably help you read them more easily. Shall we see if we can do some reading together with a book you like?”

2. Come to a firm deal about homework with your child.

When you and your child both feel that you have understood their concerns (what they are worried about) and what they want to learn and why they want to learn it (their motivation), then you can begin to come to a deal with them. The emphasis is on ‘begin to come to a deal’. There is no hurry. If they are hurried they might back out, or feel pressured. Also if the process is hurried, you might agree to deals you will not be comfortable with. Respectful negotiation allows both the buyer and the seller enough time to make a considered decision. It is very important that your child, whatever age they are, continues to feel comfortable and willing throughout this process, and that you do too.

Always renegotiate from their response. The negotiating process is that you offer a deal. Your child responds to that offer. You listen carefully and respond to their response until you are both happy. Here is another website with good tips about negotiating with your teen.

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