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Problem solving skills for kids (that keep everyone happy).

October 28, 2013

It’s true what they say: our snot-nosed little angels come into our lives, bringing out the worst in us, so that we can be healed. Still, it’s embarrassing to admit, but at times, my ten-year-old son has me going loco. Sure, he’s just doing his job blaming and trying to get away with things, but when I take it personally—I’m done for: He becomes even more obstinate, argumentative, and obnoxious, which just sets me off even more.

But lately I’ve been making an effort not to get triggered by him—and I swear it works like magic. For example, the other night I used a skill called cognitive problem solving with him, where I told him my concern about a particular issue and then he told me his, and we worked it out. He had wanted to wait until the following morning to take a shower, so I empathized, knowing how tired he was and then I expressed my concerns about him waiting. It was honest, open, and clean. We decided that the following day he would walk the dog instead of me, which freed me up, so that I could help him with his shower, if he needed it. And get this: He had been invited to eat dinner at a friend’s house that night, but when I told him no, he just said ok and came right home. I nearly fell off my chair.

There is real power in not getting triggered. Not the kind of power that manipulates and controls, but the kind that has us truly being our best, and our children being their best, too.


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Gail Harris Author