Negotiating with your parents is a pretty daunting task, but every once in a while you need to stand up for yourself and do so tactfully! Your parents have so much control over your life that negotiating with them often seems impossible, but every teen can do it! Before you go storming into your mom or dad’s office, keep in mind these helpful tips for negotiating with your parents.
1. Prove You’re Responsible
Before you even think about negotiating with your parents, you need to prove that you’re responsible. For an example, let’s say you want to push back your curfew from 11 to 12. The first step will be abiding by the 11 o’clock curfew every time you go out. This will prove to your parents that you’re responsible and know how to follow their rules. Eventually, when you ask to extend your curfew to 12, your parents will be far more willing to negotiate than if you had been completely irresponsible under your previous curfew!
2. Have a Plan
Once you think your parents are ready to hear you out, you’ll need to construct a “game plan” for how the conversation might go. Jot down a few notes on your key arguments the day before you intend to negotiate with your parents. Also, make note of possible counterarguments your parents will have. For example, if your parents object to your later curfew because criminal activity gets higher as the night goes on, you’ll need a rebuttal such as, “I won’t leave the safety of my friend’s house until it’s time to come home”. Make sure that every counterargument has a logical rebuttal, and that you have enough support for your argument that your parents simply can’t say no!
3. Sit down
Now, when it’s time to actually negotiate with your parents, an important rule is to sit down. Literally, pull up a chair and sit to talk with them. Standing can make the whole deal seem casual, but you’ll still feel just as nervous. And, if you’re like me, then you shake all over when you’re nervous! But standing in front of your parents trembling like a leaf won’t help them take you seriously! If you want your parents to listen to everything you have to say during a negotiation, sit up straight in your chair and face them as you talk. This behavior will show that you mean business and assure them that you’re determined to get your way.
4. Be Mature
Being mature when you negotiate with your parents is critical, because you need to act like an adult if you want to be treated like one. Being mature means that you can’t whine or beg for the later curfew, the way you would demand things when you were a child. If your parents seem to be leaning toward a “no”, don’t throw a temper tantrum to try and get your way. That will ultimately have the opposite effect, convincing your parents that you’re too immature to deserve any freedoms you don’t already have. So approach your parents the way you would a job interviewer - as mature as possible!
5. Be Respectful
While you are negotiating with your parents, you need to be respectful of them. Parents hate dealing with disrespect from their children, because they know they raised you better than that. Plus, your parents deserve respect, so treating them accordingly is the right thing to do. Even though you may have a perfect counterargument for their every argument, you shouldn’t interrupt them when they speak. Don’t act impatient or careless of your parents' opinions, instead behave like the respectful daughter they raised!
If you sit down to negotiate with your parents about pushing back your curfew, odds are they won’t say “yes” right away. If you’re lucky they might, but most likely you’ll have to do exactly what you set out to do - negotiate. If your parents want to keep your curfew at 11 o’clock, and you are determined to extend it to 12, ask if they’ll settle for 11:45. They may say no to this time too, but you’ll simply have to continue negotiating until both of you find a time you agree on.
7. Be Patient
Let’s assume the worst case scenario - your parents say no. They won’t budge, not one bit. You walk away feeling defeated and open up the Ben & Jerry’s to wallow. But before you lift that spoon full of Chunky Monkey to your pouting mouth, remember this: be patient! Your parents may be iron-willed now, but give them a few days or weeks to chew over the ideas you presented. After they consider all of your past maturity, respect, responsibility, and have time to appreciate the arguments you made, they may just change their minds! So, while "no" does mean no, it may not stay that way forever!
If you’re at a point where you need to negotiate some basic rules with your parents, it’s important to be prepared for the actual negotiation. It may just happen that your parents totally agree with you, and eagerly switch up the rules to make you happier. But, most likely you’ll have to do some serious negotiating to get your way. What other tips do you have for teens negotiating with their parents? What do you need to negotiate with your parents?