Solving Problems


I think most adults would consider the ability to solve problems as a critical life skill. After all, problems present themselves in all aspects of our day-to-day life. While there are some situations which are unique to adult life, there are a surprisingly large number of areas where adults and children share the same issues. It is these overlapping dilemmas that allow us to demonstrate how we solve our problems, often becoming the same mechanism that our children then use. Issues such as time management, social dilemmas, response to authority, the meeting of obligations, preparation for deadlines and assessments, organizing our space, handling our anger, balancing leisure and responsibility, (I’m sure we can all think of many more types of problems that we face) are all shared by both children and adults. While there is often more than one way to solve a life problem, there are some underlying approaches that influence the decision making process. Approaching problems thoughtfully, with some sense of goal or purpose, can often lead to better long-term solutions, and help avoid some of the traps caused by being overly emotional and impulsive. This is not to imply that emotionality and impulsivity are not important in problem solving, but rather, in combination with thoughtfulness and reflection they contribute to finding better solutions. Allowing children to participate in the management of family plans and problems is a wonderful way to “model” effective problem solving behavior, giving our children the tools needed for managing their own experiences.

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