When teenagers begin to cut the apron strings during adolescence, parents often long for but are at a loss to know how to connect with their teenager. Lighthearted negotiating can be one simple and fun way to connect with your teenager and teach a valuable life skill at the same time. Teaching your teenager the fine art of negotiating can help him or her feel in control, teach a valuable life skill and put some fun back into parenting!

With so much of a teen’s life being dictated to him, it’s important for a parents to find ways to help him feel in control of his own life. One way to accomplish this is through what I call lighthearted negotiating. There are issues when it is not suitable to allow negotiating such age appropriate things, however, whenever the stakes are low, playing "Let’s Make a Deal" with your child can help him feel empowered, learn the fine art of negotiating, and appreciate the value of compromise.

Why is it important for parents to find opportunities to empower their teenager? When you think about it, teenagers are just a few years away from becoming adults and adolescence has forced the desire to become independent to the top of their priority list. But poor decisions and many other factors can leave can leave a teen with feeling of despair and powerless, which left unchecked, can spark teenage rebellion.

Despair and powerlessness is at the bottom of the scale of human emotions; not a good place for anyone to be, especially a teenager entangled in the complexities of adolescence. So to help your teen climb the rungs of the human emotion scale to the #1 slot where he can feel joy, knowledge and empowerment, playing "Let's Make a Deal" is not only a fun option but can provide a way to make a valuable parent-child connection.

When your teenager comes to you with a new request, if you are feeling playful and adventurous, strike up negotiations with an invitation such as, “I would be willing to strike a deal with you!” “Do you want to play “let’s make a deal?” “Care to bargain a little?” Statements like these never fail to carve a smile across my teenage son’s face! We both like to ‘suit up’ for a verbal sparring match which is highly entertaining as well as provides a practice field for learning negotiating skills which will serve him well throughout the rest of his life.

Listen in on one of the latest deals that my 15yo son Mitchell and I arbitrated. Late one evening he come into the media room and announced that he wanted to watch a movie. Now my husband and I were about to engage in our nighttime ritual of watching our previously recorded soap; so I told him we could watch a movie after AMC, to which he began to beg me to talk Dad into watching the movie first. Here's how the high negotiations went:

Me: Okay Mitchell, I would be willing to strike a deal with you.
Mitchell: Okay- what?
Me: I’ll lobby for the movie first if you will quit dogging on my cat! (Brinkley) (He loves to tease me about what a loser my cat is:)
Mitchell- lol! lol! No- but I might could go 3 days.
Me: Nope! Not enough. It just must not be that important to you!
Mitchell: Okay- 4 days and an apology to Brinkley
Me: 7 days and heartfelt apology- no sarcasm!
Mitchell: 5 days and a HEARTLESS apology
Me: 6 days, HEARTFELT apology and YOU make the popcorn
Mitchell: Deal

Yes, we were negotiating about apologizing to a cat, but more importantly, Mitchelll felt empowered and I thoroughly loved having this time to engage with my son. (When children become teenagers, you take it where you can get it:) We both enjoy stretching our wit with a smack-down brain to brain to see who will end up with the better deal. Typically we both end up feeling like we “got the better” of the other one. Here is another example.

Again- Me & Mitchell
Me: I have a money making opportunity for you, son. I’ll pay you $10 to load the hedge clipping into the back of the truck, take them down to the dump site.
Mitchell- "Hummm...I think I can do it for about $15"
Me: "Naw...it'll only take you about 45 minutes so it's really only worth $12"
Mitchell: "Well, in that case, I can do it for $13"
Me: "Deal!"

We both laughed- I got what I wanted and he learned to draw out the best possible deal! The bonus was that we both enjoyed the bantering. I'm pretty sure that because I have taught Mitchell the fine art of negotiation was the reason he was voted "The Most Likely to Become a Politician" his freshman year in high school. And I am confident that while it seemed like we were just playing around, I have helped him learn how to compromise, and develop powerful negotiating skills to successfully manage his life.

Author's Bio: 

Deaunna Evans, CMC, is owner of Super Moms Coaching and is a peaceful parenting expert.