As soon as Turo’s language skills exploded, he started working on his negotiation skills. I tell him what we are about to do; he has a counter-proposal. In his comebacks, he tosses things like “No, I’m the boss,” “you are a mean girl,” “I have a great idea,” and the classic “but at Anna Maria’s house.” The attempt at deal making happens for things big and small – how many books we’re going to read, what we’re having for dinner, our agenda for the day, how long I’m going to cuddle with him at bedtime. Some days it drives me batty.
And I think the problem is that I’m not always consistent with my follow-through, so it just fosters more negotiation. Because he knows that sometimes I can be swayed, so thinks he should try to get his way. Every. Single. Time. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like a big deal if he asks for one more book even though I’ve said we’re only going to read three. It’s one more book, right? It probably is nice to feel a little in control as a kid. Yet, when it’s time to eat lunch and he asks if we can play outside first and then he gets mad because I say no, I get irritated. I don’t want to always be saying no, no, no to all his ideas. But I also want him to realize that sometimes he just has to go with the program.
I think I just need to ask him for his ideas upfront on things I’m willing to alter. This would give him that sense of control that I think he wants from the negotiating. And then if I don’t solicit his thoughts, I just need to stick to my original plan (even if changing it wouldn’t be a problem) and not enter into the back and forth with him.
Why haven't I been doing this? How have I let things turn into a daily power struggle? As I type this out, it seems so logical. So simple.