Monday, September 7, 2009

Negotiation Kinder-Style

Negotiation comes naturally to a kid. If you're a parent, I need say no more. For all the non-parents, newsflash: Bargaining with that cuddly loving 'slice of heaven' child is torture because the last thing you'd expect is to have to deal with a pro.

Here are some - inborn? - tactics that my son has been using for the past two or three years (professionals, heads up!):
  1. Appeal to a separate authority - often granddad, grandmum or the other parent (sometimes Nicky ropes in his 3-month old sister as a last resort; obviously he understands the thing about "balance of power" even if he can't quite define it yet)

  2. Say No from the start - forcing you to backtrack, throwing you off balance; notice how it's EASIER to keep saying No as opposed to finding new ways of encouraging a Yes?

  3. Persevere, persevere, persevere - when he wants a Yes, he too knows about switching personalities and approaches, repeating the same request a dozen times in as many seconds, wearing the other party down (with shades of Luke 18:1-8?)

  4. Set the terms and conditions - see no.2, Nicky also doesn't often let me get away with making him submit free-of-charge; he usually demands a 'fee' as part of the deal. Makes you wish there were more chapters on Bartering in child-raising books, eh?

  5. Go CUTE mode - turn up that pout, speak softly and gently to get more people (incl. the separate authorities) to go awwwwwwww... seek pity points and leech on the sheer sentimentality of others!

  6. Go BERSERK mode - they somehow came across the parents' manual and memorised that part about parents getting tensed up when their kids go nuts, not to mention the Conclusion : When parents are tense, consent follows easy.

Keep the list going if you can. I'm making notes to secure that next million-dollar project...

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