Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Problem Solving!

Hey all... back to the parenting blog!   Life seems to have its ups and downs and lately that is what we have been experiencing.   Taking my own advice on resiliency, we have decided to continue with the blog.  Hopefully we can reach more parents out there and help you solve that parenting puzzle we all seem to work on continuously.
Let’s start today with PROBLEM SOLVING!   This is a skill that every child can and should develop.   It is not one that happens naturally with most kids, in fact, it is a skill that is learned.   A child who can problem solve is less likely to engage in a power struggle with you.  
Teaching problem solving skills isn’t difficult.   You need to just back away and give your child the opportunity to think about a solution.  These moments come every day.  When a child is able to solve their own problems, he/she is more involved with that solution and will likely follow the plan rather than engage in a power struggle with you.
Let’s talk toddlers:   When my granddaughter, M was born her parents had a problem with older sibling J always wanting to pick her up.   Her parents sat down with her and guided the problem solving into a solution.  Every time she wanted to hold baby, she could ask mom or dad and they would help.  J remembered the solution because she was involved in the discussion.   If she was just told no all the time, she wouldn’t have been so invested in the solution.

Let’s talk kids:   You child continuously forgets homework at home.  It would be wise to sit down with the child and let them help you problem solve.  Listen to all the ideas for solutions.  Don’t discount them, even if you know that won’t work.   Come to an agreement and commit to that.  It could be your child has come up with the solution to put the homework right in the backpack after completion.  They have asked you to remind them one time.   You agree on this, with the stipulation that you will only remind once and then if they forget, the problem is theirs to deal with at school.  Your child is now invested in the solution.
Let’s talk Teenagers:  Curfew, the dreaded curfew!   Problem solving steps can be taken at this time.   The following guideline is an example of problem solving WITH your teenager.
  • Talk about the problem/concern
  • Discuss solutions (listen, listen, listen and write down ALL their ideas!)
  • Talk about each idea and come to an agreement on which one works best
  • Put the plan in action
  • If it fails, TRY AGAIN!!!   
Think of your child and his/her success as an adult if they learn as a child how to solve problems.  Think about what you can do each day to encourage this.  When they ask you something, encourage them to think of the answer or solution.  Model problem solving skills.  Talk out loud as you try to solve a problem.  Set an example that they will see and follow!

You will solve a significant amount of the parenting puzzle if you teach your children to be problem solvers!
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