The Parenting Secret Every Good Car Salesman Knows or Why Talking and Reasoning Don’t Work
By Vickie Falcone, M.A.
Have you ever been in a situation like this: you’re at the park and you really need to get going. But your kids are having a great time playing on the slide and you’re trying to get them off the slide and in the car. It starts like this,
“This is your last time down the slide, OK?”
Then you try, “OK guys this REALLY is your last time down the slide. OK?”
Then we try explaining, “I really need to get to the grocery store and get gas, go to the bank and daddy is waiting for us to eat dinner.”
Surprise, no response.
Then it’s, “GET IN THE CAR.”
You’re exasperated, they’re upset.
It’s a lose-lose situation.
If you’re like me, you have experienced the frustration that comes from trying (and failing) to get your child to cooperate. Whether you are trying to get them dressed in the morning or pry them away from the park after a play date, the power struggles and endless negotiations can be exhausting.
The ineffective tactics we use can be exhausting as well: yelling, nagging, threatening, reminding, yelling some more: “I told you to put your pajamas on. If you don’t put your pajamas on, you’re not going to get a story.”
We’d all probably agree that talking and reasoning don’t work, but what does?
Is there something we can do that really does work to get our child to pay attention to our requests? The answer is, “yes,” there are many things we can do that not only increase the chances that our child will respond, but will also strengthen our relationship with our child. This is the objective of Parenting That Works!—to learn to discipline our child and build the relationship with our child at the same time.
Believe it or not, one of these secrets for achieving this ideal balance comes from the land of car sales. Every good car salesperson knows a supremely effective negotiating technique that can be applied to parenting with equal success: The silent close.
Here it is: Whoever speaks first after a proposal is made, gives in.
What does that mean? It means that when we make a proposal (“You may go down the slide two more times,” OR “Please put your pajamas on,” then we need to stop talking immediately after we offer our proposal. It is then that we dramatically increase the chances for getting cooperation.
Good car salesmen bring you a proposed price and will linger in uncomfortable silence indefinitely because he knows that the first person to speak will give in.
When we make our proposal, while maintaining a friendly silence, our children are likely to fill the conversation gap (i.e. talk first) and make a concession. They will be more likely to get in the car. They will more likely to put on their pajamas.
If you’re like me, you have most likely tried the ineffective strategies, why not try The Salesman’s Secret: The Silent Close and watch yourself create more cooperation and peace at home?