Maybe it is just the age but the bargaining has definitely begun in this household. At what point did we completely lose control of the situation? You have everything together and then one day you get smacked upside the head with “I don’t want to!” Wait a minute, I’m the parent here. How does my toddler have this much control? All the sudden we are bargaining about EVERYTHING!

Girl using toilet
Girl using toilet

As most of you know Reagan is quite the swimmer and she loves to be in the water. We cannot go past a pool without her screaming “swimming, swimming, swimming.” And the chant won’t stop until she gets the answer she wants. Of course when it is 9am and I don’t feel like going swimming we have to come up with creative ways to distract her so she forgets about it for a little while. So…we bargain.

Potty training! Horrible bargaining! We want her to go potty and she says no. Now I know she has to go, it’s been a couple hours. So what do we do? Bargain.

“Reagan, do you want a treat?”

“Treat mama, treat,” she answers.

“Then let’s go potty and you can have a treat.” So she runs to the bathroom and goes potty. Or we will use the iPad. She loves to play with her apps on the iPad and we will also use this as leverage. “Go potty first and then you can play with your iPad.” It’s amazing the looks we are given because she knows she is being bullied into going potty but it is getting the job done so can you blame me?

You can google bargaining with your toddler and a gazillion articles and parenting advice comes up. Half say never to bargain with your toddler, the other half say bargaining does wonders. Who knows anymore? I say do what works now and tweak your methods as the situation calls for. I am beginning to realize that there are pros and cons to negotiation. While it is currently working I don’t want everything to be a negotiation. After all I am the parent and she needs to understand that there are rules and she needs to listen to what I say. At the same time I teach her about negotiation I have to teach her trust too. She has to believe that I am going to mean what I say and say what I mean. Even if she doesn’t like what is being said she is going to believe me when I say it.

They learn so young don’t they?

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