LIKE it or not, we negotiate with people every day. At work, we always negotiate for optimum solutions with customers or even bosses. In the marketplace, we look for the best deals. Even at home, we bargain for cooperation from other family members.

When it comes to negotiating, there are many outcomes depending on the approach we take. For people who only think of themselves, they’re always looking for a way to win the negotiation. This is called win-lose because the other party may have to compromise its position/s.

The win-lose negotiation usually happens when there’s no relationship involved. For example, in the night market or sundry shop when we just want to get something and move on. The thing about win-lose situation is that it’s not sustainable. Sometimes we need to bargain really hard to get what we want. Knowing the potential losses, the other party may put up a very high price. It will then be up to us to find a way to bring the price down.


Unfortunately, this kind of negotiation also happens at home. For example, when parents are behaving selfishly and demanding their children to do something for them. They’re forcing the children to agree to whatever they say. This is clearly negative power play at work.

In a win-lose situation, one party is bound to feel frustrated. In this case, it could be the children because they don’t possess the authority and, thus, they have to give in to whatever the parents demand of them.

It’s okay if it doesn’t happen regularly. But imagine if a win-lose negotiation happens every day in the home. Very soon the children will feel that they’re not valued and will find a way to protect their interests. This includes not being co-operative or being too defensive.

A better strategy is to go for a win-win situation. In this case, both parties’ needs are addressed and negotiated properly. Both parties work very hard to try to understand each other’s needs before coming to an agreement.


In a home situation, there are plenty of opportunities for both parents and children to go for a win-win solution.

For example, if the children need to use gadgets, parents can take this opportunity to create a win-win solution. Children must be made responsible for the gadget in terms of taking care of it in addition to the usage of time. Gadgets can also be used as a tool to reward and to punish children. If conducted in a proper and positive manner, negotiations regarding the usage of a gadget can yield a very positive outcome.

This is similar to the concept of hire-purchase. For as long as we do our part in paying the monthly instalments on time, the bank will leave us alone. It’s the same thing with gadgets; for as long as our children are following the pre-agreed rules, we can let them use gadgets, albeit within the parameters.

At the end of the day, a family is like an organisation. Like any organisation, negotiation is one of the keys to unlocking its potential. We should aim for more than just win-win. If each family member can be made a part of the solution, they will all enjoy the benefits and outcomes of positive negotiation and discussion. Nobody is left behind. When everyone is valued and their needs are addressed, they will go the extra mile to create a happier and more harmonious home environment.

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