Problem Solving at Home


How to Problem Solve at Home

Problems are a fact of life.  What matters most is how your children approach problem-solving.  If your little ones get frustrated, pout, and give up when faced with problems, don’t fret.  Such reactions are perfectly normal during the formative years.  Teach your kids how to problem solve the right way and they will gradually mature into responsible adults that much more easily and quickly.

Solving Problems the Right Way

When attempting to solve a problem, parents and children alike are encouraged to consider the words of Jesus as detailed in Matthew 18:15-17:

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

The moral of this passage is to listen carefully to others in your attempt to solve problems with solutions that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved in the matter.  Listening requires patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to understand others.  Listening also helps solve problems in that it provides an opportunity to reflect on the words and perspective of another person, comparing that viewpoint with one’s own. 

Teach your children to resist the temptation to become emotional, remain level-headed and make a concerted attempt to consider the perspective of the other person involved in the conflict.  Oftentimes, it merely takes a couple of minutes of silent reflection and listening to understand that the problem in question was not worth becoming upset over. 

If your children struggle to overcome their emotions and solve problems in a cool, calm, and rational manner, highlight the importance of expressing God’s love to others.  Make it clear that God wants people to love one another and express that love through their actions.

Stress the Importance of Forgiveness

Every child should understand that people are flawed.  There will inevitably arise instances in which another person makes mistakes or is in the wrong.  Teach your children that people are fallible, mistakes will be made, and that they should be capable of moving on without obsessing over the problem in question.

As stated in Ephesians 4:32, it is important to Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  If your child understands Christ loved people so much that he was willing to give his life for them, your little one should also understand the importance of forgiveness of others when resolving conflicts.  Teach your children to copy the example of Christ and they’ll find it is that much easier to move on from interpersonal conflicts. 

Be sure to hammer home the point that your children are also bound to make mistakes of their own that lead to disappointment and problems with others.  Even if your kids are relatively young and have not been hyper-aware of their personal flaws, there will eventually come a time when they understand that the mistakes they make lead to problems in relationships.

Focus on a Productive Dialogue

Monologues don’t solve problems.  Alternatively, constructive dialogues are mutually beneficial to both parties involved in the matter.  Bring your child together with the other individual involved in the argument or conflict, discuss the matter in a civilized way and there is a good chance they will reach a productive resolution that both parties are happy with. 

Your child should also know you and other adults are available to provide guidance in problem-solving.  Instead of burning a bridge with a friend, it is better for your child to lean on an adult to help resolve the conflict through a compromise that restores the relationship.