You're sitting in a waiting room with a parent and child. The kid wants something, but the adult says no. The child keeps asking, over and over again, until Mom or Dad finally gives in. The parent put up some token resistance, but in the end, he or she folded like a house of cards. Sound familiar?
Kids start negotiating surprisingly early. They may not be able to form complete sentences, but they can form complete thoughts, including how to get you to do what they want. At first, it's a charming glimpse into your child's developing personality, as well as a startling revelation of how well they've got you figured out. By the time they hit the tween years, though, negotiation can feel like constant battle. It's so much easier just to give in and let them have what they want. At least you get a few minutes of peace and quiet.
When you constantly give in to pressure from your child, you've given up your role as parent. You're no longer guiding your child toward responsible behavior and sound decision-making. Meanwhile, your child loses respect for you and keeps arguing for outrageous privileges.
On some points, like expanding certain limits, negotiating and coming to a mutually agreeable compromise is the best route. On others, parents must be a brick wall. When the short answer to a certain request is "no," and the long answer is "no way," make it immediately clear to your child that you're not budging on this issue and they need to move on. This quick and simple "no" saves a lot of agony for both of you, and it eliminates your child getting his or her hopes up, only to have you dash them later on.