Quick Guide for Helping a Child Solve Problems
There are many time-tested and practical techniques that children can learn to help them solve problems on their own. Most parents have probably read about or observed these practical solutions or have come up with similar versions on their own. Sometimes it helps to be reminded of these tips in an organized nutshell. Here’s a quick refresher course.
Step One: Give Empathy
When a child comes to you for help or with a complaint, give him/her empathy:
I bet that hurts.
Step Two: The "Power Message"
Get the child thinking about what they might do. It is empowering for him/her to know that they can take some control:
What do you think you're going to do?
Step Three: Offer Choices
Would you like to hear what other kids have tried?
At this point, offer a variety of choices that range from bad to good. It's usually best to start out with the poor choices. Each time a choice is offered, go on to step four, allowing the youngster to state the consequences in his/her own words. This means that you will be going back and forth between step three and step four.
Step Four: Explore the Consequences
Have the child state the consequences of his/her choices:
And how will that work?
Step Five: Let the Child Decide
Give Permission for the child to solve the problem or not solve the problem.
Good Luck. I hope it works out.
Let me know how that worked out.
Have no fear! If the child makes a poor choice he/she learns a double lesson.