Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: The art of the deal

Posted September 25

When did everything with teenagers become a negotiation?

I remember when I was growing up, my parents told me to do something and I never asked why, I just did it. But somewhere along the way, kids decided that they weren't going to just take: "Because I said so," for an answer.

"You need to be home by 11:45," I texted my oldest daughter.

"Why?? 12:30?" She replies. I realize she's going high, so I decide to meet in the middle.

"12 is my final offer."

"12:30, please?" she says, boldly putting the original offer back on the table.

"Why?" It's my turn to ask.

"Because we're having fun."

"Nothing good happens after midnight," I reply, hearing my mother's voice in my head.

She goes on to disagree with me and sends me a laughing emoji with tears coming out of it eyes.

And it's not just about curfew, it's about everything. If I do this, what will I get in return? It's as if everything has to be a quid pro quo. If I fold the laundry, clear the table or take my sister somewhere, what's in it for me?

How about this: You get to live here rent free and have all your food and basic necessities paid for. Does that sound like a good deal to you?

The truth is, often, I'm just too exhausted to negotiate and I give in. It's the same way we all sometimes gave in to our children when they were toddlers who had temper tantrums. We just wanted them to stop, and so we handed them the sippy cup or the toy we had just taken away as punishment.

I know I am raising headstrong girls who will hopefully be able to handle themselves skillfully in the real world. Surely, these negotiating skills which give me such headaches now will eventually serve them well in whatever careers they choose to pursue. But until then, I must resign myself to the fact that I am living with two sharp deal makers who are likely to hoodoo me if I'm not careful.

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.


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