Parents can’t and shouldn’t solve all their kid’s problems.
By Susie E. Caron © 3/1/15
As a parent, you will undoubtedly address lots of problems and issues, in your kid’s childhood. These may range from difficulties in education, or safety, to helping them prepare for adulthood. However, you must not attempt to solve all your children’s problems. It wouldn’t be good for you to do so. It is actually important for your children to learn how to handle many of their own difficulties and decisions. That’s one way they begin to exercise their 'responsibility muscles’, so necessary for their mature development.
Your children need your help, to learn how to solve their problems and make decisions. Additionally, there are benefits for you both when you take the time to teach them.
Here are the three reasons why they need your help to learn how to problem solve:
1. When your children bring you their problems, you have an opportunity to connect with them more deeply and to develop trust in your parent-child relationship.
2. This deepening bond and trust are the essential foundation for your kids to be able to become independent and responsible as they grow up.
3. That’s how they can be better equipped to exercise their own ‘responsibility muscles.’
Below I list 5 steps that you can begin to practice, anytime and with children of all ages. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but the benefits can be felt immediately and last a lifetime.
Your children really need you to listen when they talk about their problems and the decisions they face. As you practice these steps you will find children communicate with you more often and more freely, trust you more, and even more often cooperate. When you help them develop their thinking skills within the safety of your parent-child relationship, without the application of an ‘adult’s quick fix solution’, they become better able to use their ‘responsibility muscles’ on their own. With practice along with your implied or expressed belief in them, they become better prepared to tackle tough situations and choices later in their lives. This improved communication, connection and trust also means better relationship between you and your children for now and in the future.
Here are 5 steps for you to practice, anytime, but especially when your child seems upset or brings up problems he/she faces.
1. Listen with your heart without any inclination to fix it (problem, content, other.)
2. Try to guess what the child is possibly feeling. Ask your child, “I wonder how that made you feel?” (You want the child to think about his/her feelings and try to label them)
3. Offer validation for your child’s feelings,along with a chance for the child to agree or offer a different feeling. Try this, “Oh, so you feel (or felt______.”
4. Ask what the child might like to do. Or what he/she might do in the future in the same situation.
5. Hug and thank your child. You could say something like: “I know this was _________(use a feeling word such as : hard, scary, sad, etc), and I’m glad you told me about it.
With practice these 5 steps become second nature for you. This is a very respectful exchange between you and your children and can go a long way to improve not only their problem solving skills, but also deepen your relationship. That almost always means more cooperation and fun!
If you found this parenting article helpful, why not email the link to a friend? Also comment below and let me know what parenting issue you struggle with and I may write an article about that in the near future.
Whatever you do, enjoy your kids and have fun with them. The benefits can last a lifetime.
Twee’ means you and me.
Susie E. Caron
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!