5-steps to Problem Solving

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Problem solving is another important life skill for parents and children alike.  Here are the five steps that parents can follow to problem solve with their child (or their partner, relatives, coworkers and friends too!)

1.       Define the problem.

In understanding and communicating the problem effectively, we have to be clear about what the issue is. Remember to focus on the behaviour instead of attacking the person.

2.       Gather information.

What were the circumstances?
What are the non-verbal messages being sent?

Who does it affect?

What behaviour is typical for the child’s age? Are your expectations reasonable?

3.       Generate possible solutions.

Work together to brainstorm on all possible solutions. Do not judge whether the ideas are good or bad at this point.

4.       Evaluate ideas and then choose one.

Decide which options you like and which you don’t like. After weighing the pros and cons of each, choose an option that you both feel comfortable with. Once a solution has been found to meet everyone’s needs while keeping everyone’s self-respect and self-esteem intact, then make a plan to follow through and do it. Put down a time-frame for action.

5.       Evaluate.

Did it work? If yes, great! Consider how your solution may be applicable to other different problems. Ask how the problem can be prevented from happening again.

What if it didn’t work? Go back to step one or try out the other possible solutions that you and your child made in step 3.