Cambridge, MA (Vocus) February 7, 2008
Because I said so, that's why! Who among us hasn't heard an exasperated parent blurt out that statement? It can stop a stalemate, but it's no way to resolve a conflict. That closed-door policy may temporarily satisfy parents, but it won't teach children how to express themselves in stressful situations. In this case, neither side has negotiated their position effectively. Nobody wins.
Is it wrong to negotiate with your children? Not according to a feature article: "Negotiate Better Relationships with Your Children" in the February issue of Negotiation. Negotiation is a monthly newsletter that offers valuable negotiating tools and techniques developed by leading experts at the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School, a world-renowned university consortium including Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, Tufts University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The article outlines key steps in a problem-solving approach that can help resolve family conflicts and improve kids' coping skills. Scott Brown, a founding member of the Harvard Negotiation Project, which is associated with PON, the father of four young children and author of How to Negotiate with Kids…Even when You Think You Shouldn't, illustrates in the article the pitfalls of taking extreme approaches to parenting- like being a hard-bargainer or being overly accommodating. The Negotiation article guides parents toward relationship-centered goals and collaborative negotiation techniques that build trust and strengthen family ties.
Sometimes saying nothing at all is an excellent tactic in negotiation. The article points out the value of active listening, which can improve your counterpart's mood and cost you nothing but time. Yes, children are your counterpart- younger, less experienced, but still deserving of respectful, positive communication. Establishing healthy negotiating skills at an early age sets the stage for a lifetime of effective problem solving.
While the advice in this article is geared toward children between the ages of 2 and 12, these principles of negotiation apply to teenagers and adults as well. "Negotiate Better Relationships with Your Children" is available to download for free from the Program on Negotiation's Web site at: http://www.pon.harvard.edu.
The February issue of Negotiation covers a broad spectrum of topics, including advice on how to negotiate the best price for a new car and the article: "Tired of Fighting City Hall? Negotiate Instead." Whether you need a home building permit, you're being audited by the IRS, or your company is selling software to a defense contractor, sooner or later you're bound to find yourself dealing with some branch of government - local, state, or federal. This article examines successful ways to negotiate in these high-stakes, often nerve-wracking situations.
Negotiation newsletter is designed to help anyone from any profession master the art of negotiating at work, in the community, and at home. In a quick reading and practical format, each monthly issue features leading-edge negotiating strategies and tactics developed at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and from contributors around the world. Negotiation is published by the Program on Negotiation in a printed newsletter format with PDF and audio versions available and is distributed to subscribers worldwide. To learn more about Negotiation and download a free article from the current issue, please visit: http://www.pon.harvard.edu/publications/newsletter.php
About the Program on Negotiation
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (PON) is an interdisciplinary center focused on negotiation and conflict resolution. Drawing from numerous fields of study, including law, business, government, psychology, economics, anthropology, and education, PON works to connect rigorous research and scholarship with applied practice.
PON presents lectures, discussions, classes, and conferences in addition to producing publications and teaching materials like the Negotiation newsletter. Founded in 1983 and based at Harvard Law School, PON is a consortium of faculty, teachers, and staff at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and other Boston-area schools. For more information, please visit: http://www.pon.harvard.edu.
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