Teaching our Children to Make Decisions and Solve Prolems
Everyday, there are opportunities when our child will be needing to make a choice and a decision- even just a small one.
In his book ‘Raising Resilient Children‘ by Robert Brooks, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D., they say, “When children struggle to problem solve, they often lack the ability to articulate and define problems, to think of options, to plan, or to navigate diversity. Their actions are characterized by actions seemingly in the absence of thought.”
What are the guiding principles to teach your child how to solve problems and make decisions? 1. Believe your child’s capacity to solve problems.This, of course, does not mean that we allow our child to have the final say in making decisions. There must be guidelines, but there must also be opportunities to offer choices that are within a child’s cognitive and emotional abilities. 2. Set goals and expectations that are within reach of your child’s age and emotional abilities. Example: you and your daughter/son goes to the grocery and you both decide that you will only buy her/him one inexpensive item. Unfortunately, the item your daughter/son chose was not in your range of ‘inexpensive’. Your daughter/son will, undoubtedly, be disappointed, demand to have what she/he wants or cry. It is difficult to get our child involved in the task of problem solving when the rules are not clear and specific. 3. Allow our child to make her/his own decisions even if it is not what we feel reasonably comfortable with. Example: Your daughter/son and you go shopping for a pair of shoes. Your daughter/son likes the green pair. You like the white one. Some parents would say, “I like the green one but I think you will look better in the white one.” Some children would say, “You told me I had a choice, mom!” Some children would just go by what you would want, so as not to have further disagreements or to make you happy. What would be the consquence of this? The child would feel deceived, lose trust in what her/his parents have to say, and be drawn into power struggles.
Over and over again, books have mentioned the strength of setting a good example.
Have family meetings where each child can be participatory in setting the ground rules and everyone can have an uninterrupted chance to help or contribute to ways on how to resolve conflicts or how to solve problems, no matter how small they may seem.
How else can we reinforce the ways to help our child in problem solving and decision making? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org