Parents and Kids Who Compromise

05/17/2017 08:18 pm ET Updated May 18, 2017

Parents and Kids Who Compromise

Are you frustrated when your child or teen doesn’t do what you ask even after a few attempts at speaking nicely? Do you get disappointed in yourself because you can’t get your points across? Are you and your kid just not on the same page? How do you find a way to teach them (and yourself) to compromise?

It would be so easy if your kids and you found the same stuff important, but this isn’t often the case. Your trying to keep the household organized just as they are making a mess! You are living in two different stratospheres!

Often enough, what’s on your agenda is off base from your kid’s agenda. Neither of you seem to meet each others’ expectations. In fact, you might not clearly know each others’ expectations, they are mistakenly presumed.

So the first order of business is to find out what your child expects of you and what you expect of them. If you are miles apart, then it’s time to introduce the word, compromise.

Even little ones can begin to understand this means finding some common ground. But first, as I said, expectations and agendas must be clear so you know what you’re trying to compromise about.

Explain that both parent and child or teen have to give a little. Just enough to feel the other person really gets what each are going for. Once the goals are set, then you can itemize how to reach them.

This is the time for compromise. Compromises include finding a middle ground for when it’s time to go to bed, do homework, set curfews, clean one’s things, and any other sorts of daily activities. In order to compromise it’s imperative that both parent and child listen to each others’ rationales and take them seriously.

It’s extremely important to hear each other out without interrupting. Definitely avoid comments like, “that’s ridiculous,” “that makes no sense,” “there’s no way I can go for that.” Instead both parent and child need to have an open mind to each others’ needs. Only then will they find ways to compromise and really feel heard without judgment.

The great thing about compromising is it leads to important conversations. Much more is learned than is anticipated about each other’s wants and needs. You actually get to know each other much better. Learning to compromise leads to stronger connections between parents and kids.

Compromising is about building a parent-child relationship because each gets to know the other’s thoughts, feelings, ideas and needs that lead to the ways they want to get things done and get along together.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit her website at www.lauriehollmanphd.com.

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