Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Solving problems

  The quote above is important for all parents to remember.  Our children, and actually all humans, learn best by doing.

As loving parents who are trying to bring harmony, cooperation and joy to our families it is easy to lose sight of this simple idea.

Our words are really the least effective way to teach our children.  Watching us is only somewhat better and actually experiencing is by far the quickest path to learning.  How does that work in the every day life of a busy family?

We can begin by listening more and talking less.  For example, your child comes to you  angry and upset about something.  Our usual response is to start asking questions:  What happened?  What did you do?  Why did you do that?  These questions, although well meant, will often result in the child shutting down.

If we begin by acknowledging the child's feelings with sympathy this will help her to feel understood and cared for.  We can say: You really seem upset.  It looks like you had a tough day.  You look pretty sad.  Any comment like these will often help the child to express her feelings more easily.

So the child sees our concern, sees how to respond when someone is upset and sees that we are listening.
Allowing the child to experience his or her feelings is important.  Telling a child not to cry, not to be angry or minimizing the situation only confuses and upsets even more.

We truly want to help when we say:  Oh, it's not that bad.  Just forget about it.  Here's a cookie.
Instead,  try the ideas above to open up communication and often the child will solve their own problem.  We can help this process along by saying:  So what do you think you will do about that?  Do you have any ideas?
We can then offer some help this way:  I have a few ideas that have worked for other children your age.  Would you like to hear them?

In this case the child has been encouraged to experience their feelings, think of solutions and act on them and perhaps ask for help.  And this is the path to true understanding of what has happened and showed that we are confident that they can handle the problem.

Your comments and questions are welcome!  Look for more ideas in two weeks!  Also, you can go back and read the previous posts, as well.  Have a great beginning to the school year.