The Ultimate Gift: Teach Your Child Problem Solving Skills

problem solving Every Parent wants to provide for their children but have you considered that you may be doing harm by giving your child too many material things? Provide your child with opportunities to learn problem solving skills and you will be amazed at the creative forces that will be unleashed.

Just Say No

If your child has everything handed to them they will learn to expect that in life and as we all know that is not the way it works. Instead, try saying no the next time your child asks for something out of the ordinary. By saying no you are teaching your child that you do not automatically get something just by asking for it. More importantly, your child will be given the opportunity to use their problem solving skills to meet their own needs.

Provide Problem Solving Opportunities

There are opportunities presented to us everyday to use problem solving skills if you take the time to look for them. If your child is forgetting when homework assignments are due have a discussion with your child about the possible causes of the problem. Be careful not to assign blame and help your child to focus on the root causes of the problem and possible solutions such as using a planner to record when assignments are due. Some of my fondest childhood memories are playing war games with my friends. We made everything from the forts to our bow and arrows. By working together and trial and error we learned invaluable problem solving skills that many children are lacking in today's world of video games and digital media. By coaching your child through real-life opportunities to apply problem solving skills you are helping them to be more self-sufficient which will serve them well in life.

Teach With a Proven Problem Solving Method

Solving problems is a little bit art and a lot science. In other words, making a good decision requires checking your emotions and using a scientific approach to problem solving. Scientists use a method that eliminates bias in arriving at a solution to a problems and so should you. Any method that may be used to solve problems needs to include the following components:

  • Define the Problem Clearly
  • Identify Root Causes of Problem
  • Identify Possible Solutions
  • Implement Best Solution
  • Monitor Results and Modify Solution if Needed
  • Use Lesson Learned to Avoid Repeating Mistakes

Be a Positive Problem Solving Role Model

As I stated before, there are literally dozens of opportunities to teach your child problem solving skills each day. Like it or not, your child will look to you as a role model for how to behave in many situations. How you react to stressful situations and what you do will impact how your child handles life's curve balls. By staying calm and following a proven problem solving strategy, your child will learn to accept problems as a normal part of everyday life, not to overreact and how to best resolve issues as they arise. If your first response to a challenge is to lose your cool, you are sending your child a strong message about your outlook on life. Instead be positive,  proactive, and use a scientific approach to solving problems and your child will benefit for years to come.

Readers: How are your problem solving skills? Are you proactive or are you more likely to react?

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