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Make your child a partner in problem-solving

June 24, 2011

A Great Idea …

“In most homes children present problems, but parents find the solutions. If children are to mature they must be given many opportunities to solve their own problems.” (Haim Ginott, child psychologist, in his book, Between Parent and Child, p. 88)

In Other Words …

Coaching children toward solutions can take more wisdom and patience than telling them what to do, but we can see the benefit: children learn to be problem-solvers. For example, when a child is having trouble with another child, we could ladle out advice or we could wisely invite:, “What have you tried? How did it work? What else could you try?”

Of course there are many times when we suggest possibilities and define limits. But the more we get our children involved in solving their problems, the more we equip them with skills that will last for a lifetime.

How This Applies to You …

The next time your child comes to you with a problem, do not automatically suggest an answer. Talk to them about the situation. Ask them to come up with possible solutions. Discuss likely outcomes. Make the solving of the problem a cooperative effort.

To Find Out More …

For an excellent (and free) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at and if your children are younger than six, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott or Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman.


One Comment
  1. June 25, 2011 10:54 am

    Thanks for info about coaching our childrenj through their problems. My kids left home a long time ago and the family they live with never liked me and i gerw to feel the same way about them. I got married for the second time after a most painful divorce ever. My present husband promised me the world and everything in it but never in our five year marriage he thought he should act upon his promises. For the matter to get worse he even moved to the same town where I got divorced and every time we had a disagreement he would say what happened to your previous marriage as if everything was my fault and he was seeing to it that I get punished.

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