The ability to solve problems is essential for the development of independence in every person. Children begin to learn about it from a very early age.

To avoid increasing our children’s dependence on us as adults, we should avoid resolving their problems. This would make them afraid of making mistakes and they might start blaming themselves for not being good enough. This is a fertile land for anxiety and depression.

So how can we raise our children to be brave and to solve their problems, instead of being too self-critical?

Here are six practical ideas to get you started:

Turn requests for help into problems for children to solve

Children get used to passing on their problems to their parents to solve them: “Mom, Stefan annoys me”, “I can’t find my socks!”. It’s tempting, especially if you’re in a hurry, to just help the kids. Alternatively, you can take a more creative approach by encouraging them to solve their problems on their own and to take responsibility for their concerns. These example questions would help: “What can you do to make him stop annoying you?”, “Socks, pants! Where can they be? ”

Ask the right questions to encourage problem-solving

The problem-solving approach relies on asking good questions. This can be a challenge if you are used to solving your kid’s problems. The first question, in this case, should be: “Can you handle this on your own?” The second question should be: “What do you want me to do to help you solve the problem?” These questions are designed to help you encourage and teach them to begin to deal with their worries.

Support your kids through their worries

Imagine that your child feels unfairly treated by the teacher. For example, he is not accepted into the school’s sports team and asks you to intervene. You would meet with the teacher to find out what’s going on.
If you try to solve the problem instead of him, you will teach your child to become dependent on you. Alternatively, you can tell your child to talk to the teacher himself and understand why he is not accepted. These are essential skills that will serve the child in his adulthood.

Prepare children for unexpected situations

We raise our children to be independent. They should know how to walk to school by themselves, to spend some time alone at home (when old enough), to catch a train with friends.
Do they know what to do in an emergency?
What happens if they come home after school and the house is locked?
Who do they go to for help?
Discuss different scenarios with children each time they enter potentially risky situations. This would help them not to “block out” when things do not go their way.

Show a little faith

Sometimes you have to have faith in your children. We can easily discourage them with our negative expectations. We usually tell to a kid carrying a glass full of water “Don’t spill it!”. Your child doesn’t want to spill it, but you have just set your expectations with this statement. We must be careful not to attack children’s efforts to be independent with comments such as: “What are you doing?”, “You cannot do this!”, “You can’t take care of yourself at all!”

Applaud the mistakes and accomplishments

Will a child who accidentally breaks a plate while emptying the dishwasher be greeted with “Sometimes you’re so clumsy! Why are you not careful?”, Or preferably with “It doesn’t matter, it happens to everyone.”Thanks for the help.” Hopefully, the parent won’t choose the first answer. Because nothing holds a child’s urge to develop faster than an adult who can’t stand his mistakes. If you have a child who is a perfectionist and does not tolerate mistakes, consider how to react when he makes one, to learn that mistakes do not affect his personality. He needs to know that the sun will continue to rise even if he breaks a plate, or does not get a perfect exam result.

Problem-solving is about using two very important skills – the ability to think logically and creatively when using and applying facts to solve problems. It develops the ability to learn and think, also be confident, and be competent at understanding their world. Use a problem-solving approach to help your child become more independent. What could be more important!

How do we solve problems with children in SmartyKids

The ability to deal with problems is among the core values at SmartyKids centers. Children are constantly facing new challenges in our courses. The role of the teacher is just to guide the child to a successful way out of the situation. Children learn to cope with problems on their own, and if they fail – they work together as a team to solve the common challenges.

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