En español
NIDA

Family Checkup

Question 3: Negotiation

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

When:

  • Select an unemotional or regularly scheduled time (not in the middle of a problem).

Where:

  • Choose a neutral place with few distractions.

How:

  • 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

Problem-Solving Traps

  • 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.

Follow Up

  • 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.

Practice Skills

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

 

Negotiating Steps:

  • Make neutral problem statements.
  • Generate possible solutions.
  • Evaluate solutions.
  • Choose a solution.
  • Follow up to see if it is working.

This page was last updated August 2015

Is it Time to Talk to Your Teen About Drug Use?

SAMHSA’s Knowledge Network

SAMHSA Knowledge Network Screen Shot

SAMHSA’s Knowledge Network is a comprehensive online resource of behavioral health training, technical assistance, and workforce development for the health care community.

NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse