Monday, October 17, 2011

Guidelines for Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems

Every child faces problems with their friends and peers at some time. They may be losing a best friend to a new group of peers or fighting with a friend. While painful, these problems are a normal part of growing up. With their parents’ support and guidance, children can learn to solve such problems on their own.

Parents may want to rush in to solve problems for their children, but sometimes all children really need is for their parents to listen with understanding. Before you start giving advice, make sure your child actually wants and is ready for your ideas for solutions. Listen carefully and openly. Stay away from criticizing, belittling, or even talking about a similar experience of your own.

When a child is ready to work on the problem, help your child identify what the true problem is and invite him or her to come up with a list of possible solutions. Go over each idea and talk about the possible consequences of each one. Ask what he or she thinks sounds like the best solution. Talk to him or her about how they are going to put the solution into action or practice what they are going to say or do. Even if your child’s solution isn’t the one you would choose, let him or her use it.

Recognize that just as you survived ups and downs with your friends and peers, your child will too. And remember, most of the time, helping your child think through a problem is the best help you can give.

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