Q: Denise, I really enjoyed your article last week on organizing my car. I was totally inspired and created my whole kit complete with hammer, measuring tape, zip ties, the works! I even bought snacks in the event I have buyers that I am touring and they get hungry. However, I went out to my car yesterday and discovered that my kids had raided my car kit and had eaten all the snacks!
A: First of all, congratulations on taking this important step in your business! I am sure that until your kids purloined your emergency snack supply, you were feeling more confident. So now the key is to keep your kids out. You hadn’t mentioned how old your kids are, but if they are old enough to go out to the car and open it by themselves, I am sure they are old enough to take responsibility for their actions. I would recommend using my conflict resolution formula:
Speak facts, not emotion: Kids, I wanted to talk to you both about the snacks in my car. As you know, they have been eaten. That is concerning to me because I have them there for my business, in the event I am showing houses and one of my clients gets hungry.
Engage the other person’s point of view or thought: Why did you eat the snacks?
Now they may come back with a list of excuses or reasons for doing so, but unless someone had a medical reason for needing to get food in them immediately and there were no other options available, then it is time to state your truth and offer solutions.
State your truth: I understand you were hungry, but there are other places in this house to find a snack – the fridge, the pantry, the fruit bowl (whatever your truth is in response to their reply). The snacks I have in my car are not for you.
Offer solutions: Make this appropriate to their age and what they can truly do to fix the problem themselves. Alternatively, you can say that the snacks need to be replaced and let them figure out how. Because you didn’t ask permission to have those snacks, I am going to need you to replace them. That might mean using your allowance money or earning extra this week by cleaning the garage.