Every penny counts or in the case of Rwanda, every franc matters. So in these times where the capitalistic world reigns over us every single franc you negotiate in your favour is bound to make a difference somewhere somehow. So how do the children and parenting come into it?
Many parents would rather talk to their children about sex than about money, but do you ever stop to wonder why? The sex talk is often a one-way conversation, from parent to child. The parent talks and child listens hoping the conversation will soon end.
When it comes to money, questions generally go from child to parent, fast and non-ceasing starting at an age when talking about money to a child so young may even feel inappropriate. In truth the curiousity around money matters is about acquisition. Do not be intimidated by insistent questioning - groom it and teach your children to use it in the market place.
Being a parent taught me one undebatable truth- children are very highly skilled negotiators. It takes some pretty good skill to make sure your children do not win you over with charm, tears or both. As they get older, they even raise it up a notch with different colourful (and sometimes quite creative) forms of manipulation.
But just the other day it hit me that we - as parents - can actually put these instinctive negotiation skills that the kids have to good use. Negotiation skills are a valuable tool that can be put to work for their advantage especially when teaching the children about money matters.
In communication skills, negotiating successfully is about knowing what to communicate and when to communicate it. We negotiate with our children trying to get them to do things or to behave almost everyday. We get as much practice as they do, so I believe it must be a good idea to turn them to focus on how to squeeze value out of money and get the best deal possible.
Whether it is at the sweet shop or at the fresh food market, even children need to learn the value of money. You too can learn better negotiation skills as you teach your children how it is with the world out there trying to sell them something at every turn.
So what are the basics of negotiation?
When it comes to negotiating, there are some basic rules of engagement and I have listed the most important ones below.
• Try to understand the other party and their underlying concerns, interests, preferences and needs as much as possible. You can start off by asking questions -children are excellent at this, encourage them to use it in the shops and market. Listen to your target and show that you are engaged in active listening.
• Try to display empathy and understanding, since people want to know that you truly care about their situation.People are more influenced by the messenger than the message itself.
• Communicate clearly and make sure that choices are clear-cut. Always be positive about future outcomes and predict them in your favour but take disappointments cheerfully. No body wants to deal with a sore loser.
Most importantly remember that you have taught your children the above rules of engagement and do not fall for it when they practice on you but be sure to reward their efforts. It’s a dilemma - I know!