Negotiating agreements with kids

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As our children get older and demonstrate they can be trusted to follow the rules, we can involve them in negotiating agreements to give them more responsibility for their own behaviours.  For example, they might negotiate an agreement with you as to when they would do their chores or how much screen time they can have during the week as opposed to the weekend.

The term ‘agreement’ suggests a ‘negotiated arrangement between parties, as opposed to the term ‘rule’ which suggests a more rigid approach with little room for negotiation or the handover of these responsibility. The best thing about   agreements is the more your children are involved in the negotiation, the more likely they are to stick to them. In fact, parents often comment that the kids soften suggest even harsher consequences than they would have.

Negotiating agreements with your older child provides you with the opportunity to teach them self-discipline while also allowing them the opportunity to prove to you that they can be responsible.

Here are some examples of family agreements: 

  • Beds made each day and room tidy before activities
  • Screen time and technology use – Agreement on time spent online.
  • Schoolwork completed before online game time
  • All Phones/devices on the kitchen bench at bedtime
  • Completion of chores before activities/screen time

Top tips for negotiating agreements

  • Discuss and negotiate more agreements according to the age of each child. As they get older demonstrate that you are listening to and appreciating their growing need for more independence.
  • Be firm, fair and consistent in applying agreements and consequences once you have all established your agreements.
  • If they break an agreement calmly remind them of the agreements you made and why they were agreed to, then move to the consequences that apply.
  • Generously praise responsible behaviour: Let them know you are proud of the way they are honouring the agreements and showing maturity.
Have you enjoyed this article? Explore expert advice tailored to fathers, and gain a fresh perspective on instilling discipline while nurturing a strong and loving relationship with your kids. Discover more behaviour and disciple advice for fathers on our blog.

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