My name is Ian and I used to be an Estate Agent

Please, please, please, don’t hold that against me.

Many moons ago, in what felt like a different life, I worked as an Estate Agent for a reputable (yes I did use the words estate agent and reputable in the same sentence), independent agent. 

The reason I am telling you this isn’t some form of therapy or guilt reaction. It’s more about skill diversity and the transfer of one skill in particular.

If you have bought or sold property before, you will know that it can become fairly stressful, very quickly.  A decent Estate Agent should be taking that stress away from you. I used to thrive under pressure and stress, it would always bring the best out in me. When you buy or sell a property, you only need to deal with one part, your own particular bit. As an agent you are charged with negotiating the entire chain. Lots of people, other agents and solicitors and its this part that I have transferred to my parenting job. 

Negotiating. I am still  king of the negotiators. Or am I ? 

If you have more than one kid, you will appreciate that life has evolved. Long gone are the days of only having to keep one little angel happy. You are now a full time referee. Without making too many assumptions, I will guess that your kids are similar to mine and are, either amazing together, playing nicely, agreeing on TV programs or, they are at each others throats, impatient, shouting, disagreeing and fighting. This transition can happen in a flash too, one minute peaceful and quiet, the next is like a Oliver Stone war movie scene.  We all deal with situations differently. Over the years I have pulled them apart, lost my temper, yelled……… the list goes on. Then it dawned on me. You got this!

My lot have inherited stubbiness from both myself and their Mum and while this infuriates me, I can’t really blame them. I’m sure its not just mine. Kids in general can be accidentally stubborn and selfish. Its up to us to bring the best out in them, or teach them to bring the best out in themselves. A regular occurrence in our household is the TV/Youtube choices. For example,  the little lady refuses to watch what everyone else wants to watch. Even though she loved the same program earlier in the day, she has now decided she has in fact never like it. 

I’ve now learnt its not about what your missing or losing. Its about finding that middle ground. We negotiate. Oh, still a little refereeing too, but mainly the negotiating. Its taken practice and lot’s of fails. But, now, on the odd occasion I catch glimpses of them negotiating, without the need for a grown up referee. 

Even in the heat of the battle, we can find middle ground, maybe the little lady can watch something extra if she lets the boys watch another YouTuber playing Fortnite or Fifa. Perhaps the eldest gets to stay up later over the weekend if he allows his little sister and her ‘annoying’ friends to play Dolls in the lounge, while he is trying to concentrate on a football game. Or, better still Dad can hide in the kitchen, on the pretence that he is cooking and not in fact drinking wine, while all his little cherubs play nicely together, somewhere else.  Ok, maybe that last one was wishful thinking. 

The only problem I have now encountered is, that as much as I thought I was a good negotiator, I seem to have trained three expert little negotiators, who can hold their own in any negotiating stand off.

I often hear people say they “wont negotiate with terrorists” when discussing this matter. I tend to embrace it and negotiate with my little terrors, for it was me that created them.



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