The Art of Parental Negotiation

“I did the last one”

“You had a lie in last Saturday!”

“Because I’m always cooking the bloody food.”

Just three examples there of the negotiating tactics employed by me and my husband on a regular basis (mostly weekends and holidays).

Negotiation has become a key element of our relationship now that we have two small children. In fact, I think it should perhaps become part of pre-natal education. The NCT could easily slot in a session like so:

Session Three – The Art of Negotiation

In this session, we will explore how best to navigate the daily minutiae of raising a child so that chores are fairly balanced and each parent experiences the same level of shit (literally). You will learn how to:

  • Strengthen your memory. This is crucial, as you will need to remember every single time you feel you have taken on more than is fair in order to throw it back in your partner’s face. This is a strong and effective negotiation tactic and they are less likely to be able to argue against cold hard facts.
  • Graciously and breezily agree to your partner having a big, fun, grown up time away (i.e. a whole weekend stag do) and use this against them when needed – including when least expected. Never forget the power of surprise!
  • Negotiate in front of the kids without raising your voices, but hissing instead.
  • Hold your nerve. It can work out better for you to change five dirty nappies in a row rather than demand taking turns. You will be equipped, and entitled, to then request a bigger favour later on.

**Of course, I’m kidding. Parenting children requires mature, fair and rational communication at all times. Ahem.



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