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Teaching Kids to Solve Problems

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Gradually teaching a child to be a self-sufficient person is one of a parent's most important tasks. Some ways to start:

Teach brainstorming: When there is a problem, have him come up with solutions. Then help him choose one.

Encourage kids to take responsibility: Let them know they have to do their homework. Show them how to organize their schedule so they can plan for music lessons, field trips, and tests. Use a calendar on the wall or a Palm Pilot.

Teach bargaining skills. Show how to resolve heated arguments. Teach them to walk away until they are calm. Show how to negotiate. Flip a coin to see who goes first; set a timer for three minutes in which to argue; make sure each one listens to the other. Create a penalty for not solving the argument, such as not watching TV today.

Show how to weigh decisions: Michele Borba, author of Don't Give Me That Attitude (Jossey-Bass) says that when a child wants you to make a decision, show her how to weigh the pros and cons, then decide for herself.

Teach kids to make choices based on reason instead of fearing friends' disapproval.

Show how to deal with failure. Acknowledge hurt feelings and show that failure isn't fatal. Teach him phrases such as "nobody's perfect," "everybody makes mistakes," and "you win some, lose some." Have him practice so he can easily say them to his pals.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Teaching Kids to Solve Problems

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