Negotiating with kids – for sheep

Parenting advice seems to say to avoid negotiating with kids. I’m not sure I agree.

We have a lot of negotiations in our house.  Ever since N has grasped the fact that he might be able to get something following a discussion, there’s not much he asks for where he doesn’t back it up.  He doesn’t always get his own way, but teaching children to negotiate and argue their cause is a pretty valuable skill for them to learn.  I can’t say I’ve taught him, but he’s obviously picked it up and is running with it.  The latest discussion that’s been rumbling on has been about sheep.

Negotiating with kids - Bubbablue and me

Not a topic on most children’s minds, but N has his own sheep. 10 at the last count.  The aim being that he (and 2 of his cousins) have been given some sheep to start them off, then each year they’ll be able to sell on the lambs and buy another sheep to add to their flock. So by the time they’re 18 they’ll have a little flock.  I’m sure the OH isn’t that impressed because he’s not a sheep fan (he farms beef cattle), but it means that N’s poor uncle a) has to feed and look after extra sheep when the kids are at school and b) he quite often has N tagging around shepherding with him.

The OH is always joking that I need to buy N more sheep. Given I have nothing to do with the farm, I’m not sure it’s really my job to buy them. If N wants them then he’ll need to sell other things or earn the money to buy them.  But he really wants to take some of his sheep to a local farming show next year to show them.  I’m not sure he realises that he’ll have to prep them to get them ready.  I don’t think they have to parade them into the ring, it’s more that they’re in pens and the judges come round to award rosettes to the group of sheep.

So it means he needs to get some sheep pretty soon so he can look after them.  He’s set his heart on some with black and white faces, rather than plain black like he currently has.

shepherding with kid

Given I’m already struggling to get him to do his reading – over a week he’s managed to read 1 32 page reading book, and not the 2 that came home – I decided that maybe I’d give him the money if he did his reading every day.

I don’t understand why N can’t see that when he misses a day or two of reading (a weekend or the summer holidays), it really puts him back.  He then doesn’t want to read.  So I’m trying to drum into him how a little bit of reading each day will help him, and gradually move him onto reading chapter books or anything else of his choice.

At the dinner table last night we set and agreed our deal with a maximum value I would pay for 3 sheep.  If he wants to spend more he’ll need to dip into his wage pot or savings.

So over the next month N needs to do his reading each day (and ideally his spellings although unfortunately I didn’t make that a proviso too – so hopefully he’ll do a reasonable attempt at these as well.

Of course the OH chipped in telling N I was actually offering thousands of pounds, but thankfully N was very clear stating exactly the deal we’d shook hands on.  I was hoping to slip in the spellings as well, but he wasn’t having any of that the next morning saying it wasn’t shook on.  Expert negotiator in the making obviously.

So I’m checking off each day’s reading. 28 days to go.

Do your children negotiate with you?

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8 thoughts on “Negotiating with kids – for sheep

  1. It’s a skill that can do them well in life if done correctly. Alice is starting to get the hang of negotiating, at it does have it’s advantages for me to! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. Yes, it’s a bit unfair for them that we can manipulate the negotiations. N is now trying to retract his deal. Unfortunately I have a feeling that the BIL will have bought sheep for him, before the month is over!

  2. I think these types of negotiations are so important in learning about life! You learn about personal sacrifice, about how different people have different wants and needs, and how to get the best deal for yourself from a negotiation. They’re all great life skills! Max hasn’t learnt the art yet, he’s more of a manipulator than a negotiator! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  3. I think it’s brilliant that he has his own sheep! I have to negotiate piano practice with my son, he has to play pieces and scales through a certain number of times before he’s allowed to play Minecraft!

    1. I think having to practice is one reason why N won’t learn an instrument! He’s meant to do reading, writing or spellings before watching tv or going on youtube, but in the mornings he’s up too early for me to stop him.

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