Friday, February 5, 2010

Negotiating with Terrorists

It is becoming clearer to me everyday why the US has a no negotiating with terrorists policy. Once you start, you can't stop. There was never any question that a child of Chad's would be anything other than a shrewd negotiator. (Have you ever won an argument with Chad)? I had braced myself for the teenage years, grateful that Chad would be by my side to help. I am a terrible arguer. I just didn't expect it to begin so soon. Andrew already attempts to negotiate all aspects of his life, bed time, meal time, getting dressed time. I try very hard not to fall into his traps, and usually I do a very good job of holding the line. But the fact that he hits a brick wall every time, doesn't keep him from trying to climb over the wall. And sometimes he just makes way too much sense. Take Tuesday for instance. The kids had been allowed to watch A LOT of tv during the snowed in week! I could begin to see a toll it was taking on them. They were grouchy. I told the kids on Tuesday that they could choose one 30 minute show (which is our normal rule) to watch that day, and only one.

Andrew-But MOOOM....I NEED to watch Chuggington AND Dinosaur Train. I can't only watch one of them. That is not fair! (foot stomp)

Mom-That is the rule. Watching too much tv makes your brain sick, and you won't be smart anymore. I want you to be smart. It is my job to keep you healthy, including your brain.

Andrew-(knowing from experience I wasn't going to budge tried a different strategy...a polite and kind voice this time) Okay Mom, how about his. How about I watch one part of Dinosaur Train and one part of Chuggington? That would make one whole show and I could see both that way and still be smart.

I was impressed with his problem solving and thought it sounded like a Win-Win solution to the problem. Steven Covey would have been proud. However it has now opened the flood gates to his little smart brain, wanting to wheel and deal all sorts of compromises. Here is one that happened while I was typing this post this morning.

Andrew-Today I am watching 3 shows.
Mom-No, you may watch 1.
Andrew-Okay 2. That is my decision.
Mom-Nope, one or nothing.
Andrew-Why? You let me watch more the other day when it snowed and it is snowing today.
Mom-No, you can only watch one.
Andrew- Can I watch at 10 and 11:30? I promise to only watch one episode each. Is that okay with you mom? While I wait I will make a fruit tray for you. (Opening the fridge, pulling out blueberries).

Notice the attempted artful use of bribery and redirection? This boy has skills!

Ryan is also testing out his genetically inherited negotiation skills. They aren't quite as refined...yet.

Ryan-Mommy, I want to watch a movie.
Mommy-No, it is dinner time.
Ryan-But, because...because....I WEALLY WANT TO WATCH ONE!

Apparently in his eyes "Because I weally want to." is the best reason he can think of. He uses it several times a day, like if he adds that to a request, it will become clear to all that he is very serious. "Because I weally want to eat the candy." "But because I weally don't want to take a nap."

I think perhaps I have three options.

1-I could take the US policy as my own in our home, and just allow for no negotiations, even if they make sense.

2-I could just accept the fact that the future of our national security depends upon these valuable assets and as a good citizen, help them develop these talents.


3- I could put my kids in front of mindless tv (no pbs or national geographic) 24 hours a day so that their brains rot out and they won't grow up smarter than me. :)


Andrea said...

That is so funny. Good negotiating skills are nice to have.
I thought we would end up watching movies during all these snow days, but we kept getting distracted. We checked out so many books the other day that the man behind us said he felt inadequate!

Rose said...

Papa says that my grandchildren are a mess! Does that mean HIS are not? Also, are you saying I sat you in front of the TV 24 hours a day. I don't think so. yes, you did watch more than 30 minutes at a time, but I am just not as evolved as you!

Andrea said...

Ok, we are seriously getting on each other's nerves today. Maybe some movie time is in order....

Danielle said...

No mom, I am not saying you sat me in front of the tv 24 hours a day. Quite the opposite. Are you saying I am dumb?!?

CR said...

hahaha. You are hilarious and so are your boys. I love it. Maybe Andrew will become a super high up government official who will hold our national security in his hands. I love Ryan's reasoning, he sounds like me. ;) I don't know anyone who lets their kids watch too much TV though. ;)

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