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Raising Self-Reliant Kids, Part 2

Three more essential and teachable skills in a two-part series aimed at helping our kids become independent, self-reliant, resourceful and resilient. 

Skill #4. Show how to negotiate

It’s a typical Saturday morning with another sibling battle. Today’s war: which of your two kids, ages 4 and 6, gets to choose the TV show. As usual, your kids expect you to be the negotiator.

Wrong move if you want your kids to be able to solve their own battles. After all, a big part of becoming independent is learning how to deal when disagreements with others arise.

Your new tactic: Teach your kids how to negotiate so when the next war breaks out you can tell your darling cherubs to work it out on their own. Just imagine: peace on the home front.

A few ways to get your kids started: Your first step is to cool the kiddies down. Tell them, “You can’t work things out if you’re upset. Walk away from each other until you’re calm.” Then explain the new skill: “You need to learn to negotiate. That’s when you agree to work out a deal so you’re both are happy.”

Next, teach your kids a few old but good “deal breakers” such as “rock, paper, scissors,” drawing straws, flipping a coin, or the rule: “Who went first last time, goes last this time.” Oven timers are also great for reducing squabbles. Just show your kids how to set it, and it can be a great sanity saver. “I’m setting the timer for five minutes, but when it goes off, it’s my turn to play.”

Don’t forget to set clear ‘negotiation behavior: “You must take turns listening to each other. And there is no interrupting, and no put-downs. Only calm voices are allowed.” If needed, be sure to make one more rule: “No TV for the day if you two can’t work this out peacefully.”

That one can produce amazing results!

Skill #5.  Teach how to resist peer pressure and not always conform

Your 10-year-old begs that she “has to have”  pricey new sneakers. “All the really ‘cool’ girls wear them,” she says, “and their moms let them, so why won’t you?”…

Read More: Michele Borba,


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