One complaint of children and teens is that their parents don’t listen to them. It seems they think parents have only one way to solve a problem. Sometimes, however, the constancy of problems in a family can be overwhelming, and it may be easier to just fix the problem the way we are most comfortable. However, one approach to problem-solving in families is unhealthy. Realistically, too, one solution does not fit all problems. So how do you cope?
Five problem-solving outcomes when problems occur in your family
It may be helpful when approaching a family problem to think more broadly about all the possible outcomes. We list at least 5 in our “Effective Discipline” curriculum.
1. Solving the problem: making whatever changes that mean the problem no longer exists.
2. Resolving the problem: making whatever changes that lessen the problems’ most unacceptable attributes to where everyone can let go of it as a problem.
3. Managing the problem: figuring out ways to change things enough that, with continued attention, the problem is kept in a state of reasonable acceptance.
4. Back-burnering the problem: deciding to postpone making any decisions and letting things sit for a while until they either get too bad to ignore, change on their own, or time itself changes the perceptions and needs of whoever owns the problem.
5. Redefining the problem as not being a problem after all: Sometimes the process of considering the problem in more detail clarifies things so much that no solution or decision is necessary.
These are some of the basic outcomes when a problem exists in your family.
As you can see, there is more than one option as to how to solve problems. It takes some intentional processing in order to consider which outcome may be the best and most relevant option to the issue you are dealing with.
The important thing is for parents to approach problems in an open-minded way, and whenever possible, to involve the children in the process. Our children need to witness their developing worlds with a mindset to implement a multi-dimensional approach to problem-solving. When a problem occurs, they can use the problem-solving options above and apply strategies to help bring the issues to a point to deal with as effectively as possible. In so doing, they will be proactive and better problem-solvers.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
Information taken from “Effective Discipline” Diane Wagenhals, 2014, Licensed Materials. All rights reserved.