That advice rang in my ears often in the early years of parenting.
Make a decision and stick to it.
Do not waiver.
Do not change your mind.
It’s still good advice, but somewhere in the battle to be firm and consistent I somehow made compromise the bad guy.
To discus, to negotiate, to compromise was akin to wavering, to being soft, to giving in.
But the problem with that view is that it sets up my child and I as enemies. It makes it seem as though my child’s needs and desires are directly at odds with my own and can never be reconciled. It makes for a battle… every time.
I don’t want to battle my kids on everything, and I don’t need to. Sometimes I can compromise.
Compromise is not the same giving in.
Compromise is a way to learn respect, understanding and empathy.
Compromise is a way to accommodate the needs of others, while not ignoring our own needs.
Compromise is a way to find similarities between our needs, and negotiate win win situations.
Compromise can be difficult, and sometimes we can’t make it work, but it’s an important skill to teach our children which will have lifelong impacts on all their relationships.
You don’t need to throw out compromise to be consistent and you don’t need to give up on consistent when you compromise.
When we compromise with our children, we teach them to compromise.
Are you good at compromising?
Find more of my ponderings on parenting such as ‘It’s Ok to make Different Choices‘ and ‘How Being Not Quite Perfect Makes You a Great Parent‘ here, or follow my pondering parenting board on pinterest.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Bek @Just For Daisy says
Absolutely agree. It’s hard to lay down demands with little people and not have them challenged. So learning to compromise OR making them think you have by giving them two options you are equally happy with is a top tip! Thanks Kate! :)
I’m also a big fan of compromising and think it’s a great skill for kids to learn while young, especially if we want them to be comfortable with the basics of assertive behaviour, which they’re going to needin the school yard and in relationships as they become adults.
Seb @ inner compass designs says
Agree wholeheartedly. This was a big part of my parenting approach- it shows a respect for children as individuals and PEOPLE rather than beings to control and dictate to. Sometimes they were right and I needed to backpedal/course correct and / or apologise if needed. That also shows our kids that we do not have all the answers and can admit when we make mistakes and it is ok to change your mind. All good lessons for growing into flexible and caring people.
Will be sharing in my newsletter. Thanks xx
I have soo finished with the battle field since age 2, forget it! Only taight my daughter to push more. One of my mothers famous, which has saved me time and time again
“Pick your battles”–ie teeth brushing. Thats a no brainer but everyday for five years its a battle that must be fought. Thats my choice i handle it wisely & she brishes her teeth, 80% of the time. Im good with that. Theres many more but i have my own blog for them! ;) I enjoy your parenting posts muchly. They help me remember im doing my best & wen i cando better
stephanie morency says
Totally agree. I also think it’s important to teach children how to negotiate for their needs and desires (akin to standing up for themselves), especially if it is something they believe strongly in. I do not want either of my daughters to ever just take NO for an answer, and I am fine with hearing out their side of the story to try to find a compromise.
Totally agree. My husband often reminds me to use wording that is flexible, so that I can compromise without “giving in” to kid demands. We only ask that our children ask us for their preference respectfully, then we are generally willing to change if it’s not a big deal. And they are even allowed to ask multiple times if their voice was too demanding or whiny to begin with ;-)
Jen aka Muminthemadhouse says
Yes, My Mum always taught me to pick my battles and that it was better to win the war and that sometimes we had to admit defeat, Behaviour breeds behaviour and I want to have kind kids, who understand that you can back down without losing face.
Lauren Tamm says
I really appreciate compromising, even with a toddler of all things. There are some things I am not willing to compromise with, and most of it regards safety. There is much I am willing to compromise with though. And for a toddler, this can mean the difference between a power struggle vs. no power struggle. Even at a young age, my son feels validated when offered a simple compromise.
kate - The Craft Train says
Yes! Thanks for this. I’m a compromiser by nature, and have always felt very conflicted about it when it comes to parenting as though I am always giving in. My 6 year old can now negotiate like an expert, lol
I have messed this up with my 4 year old as she now thinks everything can be a compromise but we call it making a deal. Messed it up is prob to strong a wording, I should say we are both still working on making compromise work. I prob have more learning to do than she does