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Million Bazillion Academy, Week 1: Negotiation

This week, we’re learning how to get what we want through negotiation. It’s about empowering kids, and hopefully avoiding nasty arguments, by employing new skills like active listening and compromise. Once you’ve become a negotiation expert, it can help with all kinds of things like buying a car or accepting a job offer. But it’s also really useful right now! We’ll put our new skills to the test and help our friend Ruby, who wants to ask her parents for a new smartphone. Plus, we’ve got some great knock-knock jokes, and LeVar Burton tells us who he wants to see on U.S. currency.

Listen to the episode above or click here to play in your podcast app! Here’s the transcript. After listening, click here to download this week’s worksheet. More discussion questions and links after the cartoon.

The first panel shows a girl doing research, reading "to negotiate well, you need to gather intel about what's important to each person." The Second shows the same girl recruiting her an older boy, reading "Next, find a sidekick who can be a go-between for you and the other party." Third shows the girl pacing and ranting to the bored older boy. It says: "Then, create a plan to make the ask, be sure to think through all the possible scenarios." Finally, the fourth panel shows the girl in cool spy shades. It concludes: "And don't forget to keep a cool head! Remember: It's not an argument, it's a discussion."

Money Talks

Take a minute to recap the episode and review the key points. Here are some questions to get the kids going. Answers are at the bottom of the page!

  1. What are some bad techniques for negotiating? What shouldn’t you do?
  2. Why are these bad strategies?
  3. What did Ruby want from her parents? And why did she want it?
  4. Why didn’t Ruby’s parents want her to have a new phone?
  5. How did she negotiate with her parents to get the phone? What did she bring to the table?
  6. Can you think of something you had to negotiate for? How did it go?

Tip jar

Some extra info for parents!

This article in The Atlantic offers some advice from a variety of mediation and negotiation experts on how to negotiate with kids. 

Our guest, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, mediation expert and law professor at the University of California, Irvine, offered some additional thoughts for parents. 

“It’s so important to realize that you are in a lifelong negotiation with your child,” she told us. “We should treat each negotiation both as its own thing, but also realize we’re creating a long-term relationship with each other.”

Parents may have to say no, but it’s important for children to know those decisions are made out of love, Menkel-Meadow added. “When we’re talking like this with each other, we’re learning how to solve problems together.”

We also asked Menkel-Meadow: Who’s your favorite negotiator in history? Her answer: management guru Mary Parker FollettHere’s more on Parker Follett’s often-cited work.

Finally, Menkel-Meadow has even more tips for grown-ups: she talked with our podcast “This Is Uncomfortable” last year about negotiating a salary.

Money Talks answers

  1. Annoying repetition, throwing temper tantrums, making threats.
  2. They’ll probably just make the other person frustrated and angry. Or you might get in trouble.
  3. A new phone to stay in touch with her friends.
  4. It cost too much, and they were worried about her spending too much time on screens.
  5. She offered to help cover the cost, and she offered to limit her screen time.
  6. Answers will vary

That’s it for this week of Million Bazillion Academy! We’re here to make kids and their grown-ups smarter about money. Did someone send this page to you? Click here to enroll in our free email newsletter course!