In Parenting Tips and Tools Part 2, WU World Changer Catherine Gruener shares helpful suggestions to help parents with problem-solving and conflict resolution when disciplining their children. Late joining this series? Catch up on Part 1!
Parenting Tips and Tools Part 2: Helpful Hints for Problem-Solving
We suggested collaborative problem solving as a helpful tool when teaching children values and developing boundaries in Article 1 of our series. What is collaborative problem-solving?
Collaborative problem solving (Greene, 2009) is a discussion and problem-solving session between a parent and their child. Problems are discussed, solutions are created, and together, the child and parent agree upon a solution that not only might fix the problem, but is doable, respectful, and responsible.
State the behavior and ask your child a respectful and curious open-ended question.
Parent: “When you come home from school every day, you go straight to your room and slam the door. What’s up?”
Make sure you understand your child’s perspective of the problem before moving on. Listen and re-state what your child is saying so that they know you understand their perspective.
Parent: “So, you didn’t realize that you were slamming the door and you need some down time after school…”
State the behavior that you want, the behavior that is happening, and ask how you can work something out so that you both have solutions to your problems.
Parent: “Well, I get that sometimes we all want to be alone…. Is there some way that you can go to your room without slamming the door?”
Brainstorm solutions. Allow your child a few opportunities to create the solution first, but always have 2 solutions that you feel might fix the problem, ready to be offered in case your child gives you the “I don’t know.” If your child comes up with a doable, responsible, and respectful solution, Use That Solution! If they can’t think of any, offer them your well thought out limited choice solutions.
Agree on a solution. Together, mutually agree on a solution that works for both of you, that fixes the problem, and that is do-able, responsible, and respectful.
Test out the solution.
Important! Problem-solving is most successful when everyone is calm and able to use a rational mind: after dinner, on a weekend, between activities etc.
Parent: “Got a minute, I want to talk to you about something…”
“Could you join me in the kitchen? I’d like to talk to you about something…”
Find out what to do when your child doesn’t do what they said they were going to do, in our last article of this series next week.
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Catherine Gruener, LCPC, NCC, DCC, PDTC. Catherine is a multi-certified and licensed clinical professional counselor, nationally and internationally known for her parent training programs. She is the owner of Gruener Consulting and the Chief Executive Officer of the Encouragement Parenting Division.