A Most Challenging Question

A Most Challenging Question

My youngest daughter Sara surprises me often. This time her surprise reflected in asking me a most challenging question. With a β€œtricky smile” she asked me β€œDad, you think I can convince you to pay for my lawyer who oversees accusing you of being a difficult father so that he may send you to jail?”

I pondered on this question. Is there a room for negotiation to lower her demand? The gap between my BATNA (BestΒ AlternativeΒ To aΒ NegotiatedΒ Agreement) is big. As much as I try to lower her BATNA it shall remain outside the zone of possible agreement. Maybe I could tempt her with another alternative. So, I decided to tempt her by suggesting to her that I would buy her a car if she would drop her case. With a mocking smile she replied β€œNo, because I want to test my power of persuading you to accept my suggestion”.

This is a funny scenario. However; thinking about it I found that we learn a lot from scenarios that take us to the extreme. We learn, for example, that we should be skeptical about claims that seem too good to be true and investigate them closely. The same thinking should be extended to extreme demands that couldn’t be true.

I decided to surprise my daughter by using the opposite strategy. In negotiations, if one side is If hard then be soft. This makes the tough negotiator feels he failed in his strategy. I played the role of a submissive who would yield to her request. I felt my daughter softened her voice and got a little confused whether to keep her initial demand or not. I felt that she fell in her emotional chaos; yet she pretended that her request was the same.

I then resolved to using the technique of imagining an audience. I told my told imagine me in the court and the audience eyeing you and me and asking what kind of relationship you and I have. My daughter started some nervous movement imagining the situation. She didn’t retreat from her demand, but I could see hesitation in her face. She managed to hold herself by saying that even though I try to show strength in my weak case or trying to expose her weakness where she is strong isn’t going to help my case.

I then considered meeting my daughter’s imaginary threat with an equal threat. I opted out not from using this option because this doesn’t work. This is in violation of the opposite strategy and I thought I would be better off not using it.

One other option I had was Present multiple equivalent offers simultaneously (MESOs). I tried by offering my daughter a trip to Germany, by buying her a nice gift and other offers. She remained anchored to her demand that she could take me to trial and that I should pay for her lawyer. The young generation is getting harder to bribe or soften. I don’t know if this is a common and true somewhere else.

I need to have the self-esteem to understand what is being asked my daughter is not to my interest. But she is playing her β€œgame” right by capturing my great love to her. Would she make the same β€œdeadly offer” if I weren’t her father?

If you were in my position what would you do?


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Comments
Cyndi wilkins

Cyndi wilkins

2 years ago #33

#6
Ha ha!!! I love that response Lisa Vanderburg...I would have played the dementia card..."Who are you??...I don't have a daughter;-)" Lol!

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#42
Your words are powerfully emotional. Thank you Joannie Fischer

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#40
Words dictate our thoughts and our thoughts guide our actions. Very nice comment from you my friend Daniel Alejandro Mart\u00ednez Rodr\u00edguez

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#38
Thank you my friend

Bill Stankiewicz, 🐝 Brand Ambassador

very true

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#36
It amazes me the possibilities that exist and you offer a new one CityVP \ud83d\udc1d Manjit. No comment mentioned your acceptance of going to jail and then the daughter shall find that she shall do all can to release the father. Fresh thinking. Yes, another valid point you bring to the discussion is resilient parenting. If I borrow Nassim Taleb' s word I would say Antrifragile parenting.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

2 years ago #27

I would go to jail. Then my daughter will utilize every power on Earth to pay for my freedom from jail, for she will have realized I have called out her bluff. Words do have power but we do fear words, for people ruin their very lives by carrying words rather than be masters of meaning and creators of new wisdom. Remember that the assertion here is being a "difficult father" rather than an "abusive father". Why are we are afraid of the word "difficulty"? Why are we constantly searching for models that encourage simplistic thinking? Why do we favour an education in weak parenting rather than resilient parenting? Life is difficult even if we find the silver bullet to living comfortably - for sure we should enjoy the blessings that life gives us, but we should not hide the truth.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

2 years ago #26

I would go to jail. Then my daughter will utilize every power on Earth to pay for my freedom from jail, for she will have realized I have called out her bluff. Words do have power but we do fear words, for people ruin their very lives by carrying words rather than be masters of meaning and creators of new wisdom.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#33
New angle for discussions and I thank you Brian McKenzie for suggesting it. Being a father of Sara, with whom I have the healthiest and purest relationship this scenario of yours would never cross my mind. As far as it is removed from reality in my case, it could easily apply in other cases.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#30
Thank you dear Debasish Majumder and I enjoyed reading your comment, even though you made me wonder by saying it is mainly men who try to keep the status quo. For me, status quo is an zone of comfort and both male and female aspire to keep it. You must have reasons for stating that men are more inclined to keep this status than women.

Debasish Majumder

Debasish Majumder

2 years ago #23

i guess, we may perhaps not able to distinguish between adjust and compromise and in most cases we compromise with a hope of making truce to avoid any untoward incident we may confront. besides, bribing is a precedent in only social milieu and we tend to win in any adverse situation with this tactful devise. however, i doubt there is at all any relation exist without property relation and it is our inherent tendency(mainly of male supremacy in a society) to maintain a status quo by apparently surrendering ourselves in a situation just to eulogize our male chauvinism. however, unlike your previous buzzes, this one is unique indeed and intriguing by all means! enjoyed read and shared sir Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee. thank you for the buzz.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

I am even more absorbed by this comment dear friend Edward Lewellen

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#24
You really dear Lisa Vanderburg reflect the reality between Sara and myself as if you were living in the same home with us. You are very sensible my friend.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#25
friend- I was hoping you would comment and reflect on what neuroscience has to offer in these situations. I am glad you did and you highlight what I described in a previous comment as "passionate logic". Your words resonates so well with me that I thought for a while that the imaginary scenario my daughter put me in is real. I appreciate every word in your subtle comment.

Lisa Vanderburg L

Lisa Vanderburg

2 years ago #19

#23
Aw...God love her! Having that rug pulled out from under her returns her to the child inside; hence the need for assured reinforcement. It's the fact that she turned quickly and with such endearing dignity (the clever role play game) that shows not only the depth of her love and trust in you, but also that she is showing her exposed flank with wit and independance. She is very blessed to have you as her dad - I know it's reciprocated! Deep down, we all need to be loved; the irony is it's not simple like it should be..... :)

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#21
I hope that you reveal the reasons for your absence and I hope for good reasons dear Lisa Vanderburg. You prove you read me right and that Sara and I have very special relation. I pondered on your comment. I think deep down Sara has mixed feelings that made her ask her question. Her two daughters got engaged in one week and in few months they shall leave home for a new life. Sara being so attached to them felt the void that is coming. Maybe she was expressing some of her fears that she shall be alone with no sister at home. Sara, cried many times seeing poor people and always rushed to help them with whatever money she has. Emotions play big role in her life. I wish she was at home now to ask her how she feels. She shall be home later today.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#20
Dear friend David Navarro L\u00f3pez- I smiled with relief reading your comment and this line in particular "The same way that the father is accepting the daughter as she is, it should be the other way around". I smiled because I knew this case is far from reality. It was Sara who told me years ago "Dad, because I love you so much I stopped loving you". Asking her why , she responded "because I worry about you all the time. When you travel I feel stressed worrying about you, waiting for your return and hoping your trip ends safely. Your love stresses me dad". I loved the what I coin here as "the passionate logic" in your analysis of the situation. I think your comment is applicable to many of the situations in our lives and reflects your leadership quality that is filled with emotional intelligence. In the case of Sara, the story is different. When she was in Germany for sixteen months one day she booked a flight and traveled to Amman just to see me for three days. She had then to travel back. Intentions and trust made me sure she was only challenging me with a difficult question.

Lisa Vanderburg L

Lisa Vanderburg

2 years ago #16

#7
#16 Thank you both Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee for your open arms considering how very unreliable I have become! The reason will be revealed soon, but I'm not crashing on our friend Ali's buzz :) #19 Yes, sons want respect from their fathers; daughters want love. As a father/provider of both and an awful lot more I must applaud Sara! There's no doubt, Ali, that your gracious and humble acquiescing to your daughter speaks of true agape love.

David Navarro LΓ³pez

David Navarro LΓ³pez

2 years ago #15

to your question "If you were in my position what would you do?" , I would say. Dear Daughter, if you believe you can come to me with such a question, and somehow get what you are after, then it means I can not be such a difficult father, or at least, you don't really believe I am. When she replied β€œNo, because I want to test my power of persuading you to accept my suggestion”, I would say: What about you as a daughter? aren't you difficult? Is it not LOVE supposed to be the basis of a "good daughter"? Challenging your father and trying to submit him is being a "loving daughter"? Please, don't accuse others of your own sins. The same way that the father is accepting the daughter as she is, it should be the other way around. To bring to jail to your father because he is a difficult father, it doesn't make the daughter look better. Furthermore, what is the point of it? To have a judge saying he is a difficult father, and send him to jail? What is the gaining of this action for the daughter? Just revenge. For a father, is punishment enough to have a daughter thinking in these terms. Jail could be a relief in this case. My conclusion is: No. As a difficult father you think I am, pay for your own things from now on. All of them. You can live my house now, as you haven't understood what is all about, and come back when you do.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#2
Oh dear Clau Valerio- you have a human heart and you read the scenario realistically. The importance of your writing "Creating a healthy relationship between father and daughter is as simple as spending time together..." is wise to consider. In my case the relationship with my daughter , for me and all people who know us, is based on love and passion. I doubt Sara would have asked this question for any other reason than challenging me with a difficult and emotional question. She succeeded because I shared her question with the readers. But you read her good intentions very successfully even though you don't know Sara. Bravo

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#4
Thank you dear Tausif Mundrawala. You too remind me of a new paradox that I may consider in a forthcoming buzz. It is knowledge that sometimes limit us . This is applicable in my case because knowing very well my daughter limited me from imagining many suggestions offered here and on LI. I thank you for your provocative comment.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#5
Jerry Fletcher- you are a wise man and your suggestion "No, it is not in my best interest so I would never do that but let's talk about why you are asking me to take this public action to demonstrate my love for you." is well-considered. I shall pool all suggestions in the comments here and on LinkedIn and I shall pool them for the sake of readers. Surely, your suggestion shall be highlighted.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#6
So great to read a comment by you again after a prolonged pause dear Lisa Vanderburg. I hope your life is settled and that the health of your husband improved. Your read the case perfectly well and your probing analysis is on the spot. Sara and I have a very strong bonding- beyond imagination and therefore some of the scenarios offered by the readers are not applicable in my case, though very possible in other cases. I surly enjoyed your suggestion of evoking nostalgic memories. This is a great one and I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed every line of your astute comment.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#8
Your scenario is realistic, but would have never crossed my mind because I am fully aware that this situation isn't applicable in my case. However; you stretched possibilities with your astute comment John Rylance and I thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#9
Very true, and that is why shared this buzz because of the challenging question Sara imposed on me. I laughed when Sara first addressed this question for me, but then I found myself in a rabbit hole on how to answer her.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#12
You are right my friend Chris \ud83d\udc1d Guest. Sara and I enjoy very specisl bloving bonding between us. I know her intention was challenging me with a difficult question. She did and I had to share her question with the readers hoping for opening new possibilities to answer her question. You read her right my friend.

Phil Friedman

Phil Friedman

2 years ago #7

#8
It might interest you to know, John Rylance, that in Ontario, when beneficiaries to an estate have disputes, the Estate pays everyone's (reasonable) legal fees irrespective of the legal outcome. How nuts is that? Cheers!

Nick Mlatchkov

Nick Mlatchkov

2 years ago #6

U bet!

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

2 years ago #5

I laughed when i read this, we actually had a case like this one in the states. Negotiating with family is difficult at best, too many layers.

John Rylance

John Rylance

2 years ago #4

Hypothetically I would agree, if she was prepared to fund my defence of her claim, and on resolution the "loser" recompenses the "winner" (I know there are no winners and losers) I might add I maybe difficult, but not mad. Who in their right mind funds those who are suing them? In reality I would suggest to her that if I agreed, that it might towards proving I was not a difficult father. In fact it might make her seem a difficult daughter 

Lisa Vanderburg L

Lisa Vanderburg

2 years ago #3

Ah...this is a theoretical exercise in control; it's a great question your very clever daughter poses, dear Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee! She has built this ficticious scenerio in which you stand trial to justify yourself as the father to his daughter. Furthermore, regardless of the outcome, she has put the added incentive that you pay her legal cost: priceless! You certainly have a force of nature to debate with here, for she seeks to check-mate you AND make you pay for the priviledge. :) Clearly bribery (distraction) is off the table. The MESOs, like the bribery option, is out too. Same with the imaginary threat-to-threat; you are wise to avoid this tactic as it runs the risk to cross from exercise to reality, defeating the nature of the game. In this exercise the only scenerio with a modicum of sucess for you, is the imaginary audience (jury). Her response to this tactic and she has shown her hand (her 'weakeness') by revealing her love for you, a reciprocated component that she's testing in this endeavour, is more important than any strategy. You could claim poverty...kids are expensive to raise! Throw in a little pseudo-age-related confusion like ''....remember that pony I bought for you when you were 10? Yes, I know it wasn't the best...ended up in the knacker's yard and was made into glue...so sad...I too was heart-broken. Oh...that was your sister's?'' Humour is indeed the best defence!

Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

2 years ago #2

Dr. Ali, this, too, shall pass. My daughter asked, debated, negotiated and just plain pushed the bounds at every opportunity. In this situation I would have answered, "No, it is not in my best interest so I would never do that but let's talk about why you are asking me to take this public action to demonstrate my love for you." (Yes, I have learned a bit from a client who is one of the top 10 negotiators in the USA.) And so it goes.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

Clau Valerio- I share this story and I bring it to your attention for reasons you know about.

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