living with negotiators

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by threeCs, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. threeCs

    threeCs New Member

    There are days when i think i am qualified to negotiate the middle east peace talks having spent 48 hours with my difficult child.

    Scene 1

    The wall clock says 9pm. difficult child's at the computer. Me, weary mom is readying for bed.

    me: I want you in bed early tonight you have a big test tomoorrow.

    difficult child: how about shower at ten in bed reading at 10:30 lights off at 11?

    me: How about shower done before 10 in bed at 10 lights off at 10:30?

    difficult child: What if i take my shower before 10 and then i can IM until 1030 when i promise i will get right off and into bed?

    me: No, i want you off of the computer and hour before you get into bed.

    difficult child: That's ridiculous!...(20 minutes of obsenities and screaming--includes the lines none of my friends have to, stop reading those #$%^#@ studies about kids and sleep, i never get to do anything, you don't trust me to do anything, etc)

    me: It's now 9:45 Get into the shower.

    difficult child fumbles an mumbles around his room goes into the bathroom

    10:15 me: (to bathroom door)--why isn't the water running?--(peek in see difficult child sitting on toliet with psp)

    me: Give me psp now and GET INTO SHOWER!

    gsg: i'm pooping! can't i do anything in peace? Why are you always accusing me of doing something wrong? Why do you have to hover. I am sick of this :censored2:! (next breath) If i get into the show now, can i stay up until 11?

    scene ends hear shower running. clock on wall reads 10:50pm. Me: slumped on floor outside of bathroom banging my head against the wall.

    I keep thinking this constant negotiationg has to have some other pay off... :rolleyes:
  2. saman

    saman New Member's so not funny, but I understand the negotiations. I keep telling my husband that Parker with either be President or a Lawyer because he can BS his way in and out of almost anything...always an excuse or a reason for it being his way. I do try and step back to see his point of view, but man, most days it just doesn't make sense.

    These kids!
  3. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Actually - I think it is good to negotiate (some) with our kids. It gives them a sense of power over their own lives. The older they get - the more we should be open to hear what they have to say.

    I was a little too "it's my way or the highway". In hindsight - I see that was a mistake.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    It sounds like he had worked out a compromise that was what you wanted -- in bed and lights out by 10:30. At least then if he hadn't complied you'd have a good reason to say no the next time. If he kept his word and went to bed at 10:30, you'd have both gotten what you wanted.

    I know my daughter would offer compromises and I wouldn't really hear them because I was too busy getting my way. Not fair to her and caused a few battles that could have been saved.
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    threCs, I can't tell you how many times it's been me lying on the floor outside the bathroom beating my head. I feel your pain, having been there done that more than I care to think about.

    I agree with GG that it is good to negotiate (some) with our kids. However, right at the time that he's supposed to do something such as get in the shower and then off to bed is probably not the best time.

    For deadline-type things, we had our difficult child on a very strict routine and had scheduled posted for him (e.g. 6:45 pm. Clear away toys and prepare for shower, 6:50 pm, select clean pyjamas and go into the bathroom, 7:00 pm get into the shower...etc.) all the way up to bedtime. Same sort of thing for the morning tasks.

    If something was to be negotiated, it had to take place at least an hour before the scheduled activity. So...if difficult child wanted to watch a special TV program that ran until after bedtime, he would have to tell us at dinner so we had time to plan for it. We would then write the change on the schedule.

    For some reason, having it all posted on the wall took a lot of the heat out of the arguments. It was no longer "mom's picking on me, she never lets me do anything". It became, "this is my schedule".

    Best of luck and hang in there.
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I negotiate. I have to with my difficult child. She is a master manipulator. She has learned to compromise though. I give a bit and she gives a bit.

    The secret is to start off earlier than you want. If you started with in bed at 9:30 - you could have negotiated to in bed at 10:00 and he would think he won.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    been there done that.
    I give warnings now ... 15 min., then 10, then 5.
    If he doesn't take the shower when I want him to, I don't bug him. I just take away privileges.
    They can wear anyone out. They love the thrill of it. I hate it.
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I'm curious why showering has to be negotiated?

    If you set a time for showers for him every night - and stick to it - there should be NO NEED to get yourself upset OR argue.

    you: We're going to set up a schedule and try to stick to it as close as possible
    difficult child: OH great now you tell me when to poop and when to shower?
    you: No and yes
    difficult child: So when is my shower time?
    You: You can choose 10:00 or 10:30 - YOUR choice
    difficult child: Neither
    You: Run to the garage and get a 16' whip & run back in the house with your face covered with a Michael Myers hockey mask cracking the whip
    difficult child: ROFL
    You: (calmly) GET IN THE SHOWER NOW
    difficult child: Laughs too hard to ignore you and showers

    YOU: Sit at the computer and write to us about exactly how it played out

    difficult child: Gets showered and THEN can have game time until 11:00 depending on when he takes his shower. If he CHOOSES to take it at 10:00 he can have from the time he is done in the shower (after inspection) to play games. If he chooses to take a shower at 10:30 and takes a 15 minute shower HE only has 15 minutes until you unplug the computer promptly at 11:00


    You are still getting him bathed and HE thinks if he takes his bath first - he thinks he gets more computer time. NO more negotiating about showers unless he's willing to "trade" you for not negotiating on something

    TAKE OUT THE TRASH - no negotiations? Fine then that is the choice you have made and shower time will be from 10-10:30 your choice and you can stay on until 11:00

    You should have seen the night I ripped through our house with a HusqaVarna chain saw sans the chain screaming "TAKE A SHOWER" - I rounded the corner with the hockey mask on totin' that chain saw and difficult child laughed so hard he said "I'm not even going to argue with you about the shower anymore are a nut." DF said "Well I guess the peace talks are out."

    (He doesn't know how right he was)

  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We have a regular routine. On nights when the routine is disordered (such as tonight) we have to negotiate a bit, but the regular routine is a lifesaver. And we negotiated that with him, too.

    When we've negotiated the routine we try it out. If something is not working, we modify it. Again, with negotiation.

    For example, tonight - we just got home at 9pm. difficult child 3 is tired, wants to go to bed. No shower tonight, we won't insist even though he is sweaty. But he MUST clean his teeth. We just had a long to-and-fro discussion which in days prior to Explosive Child would have led to meltdown, all about getting teeth cleaned. He finally did it, being unpleasant about it while husband (to his credit) stayed calm and polite, finally pointing out that only ONE person was being disagreeable, with no cause. difficult child 3 finally relented and apologised. And the teeth got cleaned.

    We based what we wanted in the routine on our observations. We noticed that when difficult child 3 played certain computer games before bedtime, the ones where he was tense and fighting an enemy, for example, he didn't sleep well. Some games played any time would give him nightmares, so they were banned until he was older.

    To work out a good routine, you go backwards.

    The routine - he has an earlier bedtime because regardless of when he goes to bed, he gets up early. Always. So to make sure he gets enough sleep, it's lights out at 10 pm. In order to ensure he is ready to sleep, it's "in bed by 9.30 pm". To make sure he is ready for bed and his mind settling, it's "All games to finish by 8.30 pm. He may stay on the computer to do homework or to chat, as long as he is COMPLETELY ready for bed."
    To make sure he is ready for bed, he must be fed, in his pyjamas and teeth cleaned by 9 pm. For THAT to happen, he has to begin at 6 pm - organise the bath (which can mean run it himself, or ask someone else to do it and make sure it gets done); have his bath, eat his dinner, get his own dessert and eat that then go clean his teeth. To make sure everything happens, all games stop at 6 pm unless there is a delay in the routine not of his making, which means he cannot progress in his routine (for example, dinner is late). Once he is completely ready for bed, he can play computer games until 8.30 pm and do other stuff after that as long as it's not gaming. Reading a book is recommended.

    Does that make sense?

    difficult child 3 wanted to modify his routine - originally, all games had to stop at 6 pm, but when he was able to show us that he could keep going with his routine and still play games after 6 pm, we relaxed that one. When he stopped having nightmares or being unsettled by certain games, we let him play them again. But the earlier bedtime makes for easier negotiations, because it means he's not nagging us while WE'RE tired!

    We negotiate by daylight. We sit and discuss the issue with him, ask him what he feels is reasonable. When difficult child 1 was playing too much on the games, I asked him to set his own limits. Since he had NO idea how much computer gaming he was doing, he set a figure which he clearly thought would give him as much gaming as he wanted; I readily accepted and made him keep a logbook of when he played, so he wouldn't go over his daily quota. He was horrified at how quickly he racked up his gaming hours. And from THAT point, I had more bargaining power because my original claim that he had been gaming far more than he realised, had been borne out.
    Another trick I did (and will work towards with difficult child 3) was to insist that equal time be given to schoolwork that is given to computer games. And the time has to be spent with the same enthusiasm regardless of which it's for. For example, the same intense concentration he puts into playing games, he also has to put in to his schoolwork. And if the work all gets done and he has nothing left to do - he can read a schoolbook, he can watch an educational DVD, he can do some research.

    By letting him set the rules, we all win. And back when he first negotiated for his later bedtime, he was always too tired to stay up that late. For example, it's now just after 9.30 pm, his light has been out for fifteen minutes and he's already sound asleep.

    I win again.

  10. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Uh-oh! Has he been officially diagnosed?

    We have had the exact same symptoms since difficult child 1 was 2 years old. It's horribly debilitating because they can't control it. It's primarily something that lingers, gets them into more and more trouble even though it starts BEFORE they have a problem because they're trying to "pre-empt" your answer.

    Yes, I'm talking about something that happens to almost every difficult child.

    It's: premature negotiation....