Revised October 2012
Are you able to negotiate emotional conflicts with your teenager and work toward a solution?
Negotiating solutions offers parents a way to work together to solve problems, make changes, promote and improve cooperation, and teach youth how to: focus on solutions rather than problems, think through possible outcomes of behavior, and develop communication skills.
Destructive behavior and negotiation
- Negative Example: Dad gets angry
- Positive Example: Dad stays calm
Set Up for Success
- Select an unemotional or regularly scheduled time (not in the middle of a problem).
- Choose a neutral place with few distractions.
- Choose problems that are small and specific!
- State the problem neutrally.
- Recognize the other person’s positive behavior.
- Accept part of the responsibility for the problem.
- Restate what you hear, show understanding, and stop if you get too upset.
The Steps to Problem-Solving
- Don’t try to solve hot issues.
- Don’t blame the other person or put the other person down.
- Don’t defend yourself—try to let it go.
- Don’t make assumptions about another person’s intentions.
- Don’t bring up the past—avoid using words such as “always” and “never.”
- Don’t lecture—a simple statement will get your point across better.
Brainstorm—open your mind to all ideas:
- Try to come up with three ideas each.
- Any idea is good—even ones that seem silly.
- Take turns coming up with ideas.
Evaluate your list of ideas:
- Go through and list the pluses and minuses of each idea.
Choose a solution:
- Combine ideas if needed.
- All of you should agree on the chosen solution.
- Check in with each other after you have tried your solution a couple of times to see how it is working.
- If it isn’t working, go back to your list of ideas.
- If necessary, start over with some more brainstorming.
Video: Neutral Problem Statements
When making neutral problem statements:
- Be brief
- Be specific
- Use a neutral tone of voice
- Lead with something positive
Video: Negotiating Solutions
- Make neutral problem statements
- Generate possible solutions
- Evaluate solutions
- Choose a solution
- Follow up to see if it is working!
Download the PDF
Looking for Treatment?
Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator or 1-800-662-HELP.
As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior.