Back to School Parenting: Problem Solving

Parents can develop their children into responsible adults by helping them work through problems instead of just giving them a solution. Kids must learn to solve their own problems. Throughout this process, parents will grow a stronger bond with their children/teenagers.

Video: Teaching Children How to Problem Solve

Can you think of some times when you may have TOLD you son or daughter a solution, but could have allowed them to work through it with your help instead?

Video Transcription


Okay, so we’re back in school. I know all of us parents and actually I think kids feel the same way too, really glad they have this structure back in your life. When my kids were you know going in and out of school you know done in June starting back in September, I loved it when they came home in June. I couldn’t wait for summer, but honestly I couldn’t wait for them to get back into school. I just loved the structure.

So, now we’re back in structure. Things are good, and I wonder how many of you had some emotional kind of drama moments with your children. Maybe the kids are sad that nobody’s playing with them on the playground, maybe… Maybe there’s been some being sent to the office for spitting. You know, by the way, teachers and principal’s always go after that spitting the first week of school, they want to knock that down.

So, you know some problems, natural problems, probably has impacted your children, and here’s what a helicopter parent would do, they would swoop in and try to solve it. A drill sergeant will yell and tell a child, a lot of shame, a lot of guilt when the child comes home and says, “Nobody will play with me on the playground, and they won’t share the ball with me,” or, “My teachers mean she wouldn’t let me put a star on the chart because I forgot my backpack.”

Here’s the thing a consultant parent, a great consultant, love and logic consultant parent instead of shaming, guilting, or swooping in and saving, they do this. They use the five steps to ownership of the problem. They hand the problem back to the child, and you’ll see that there’s a hand out attached to this called “How to Hand Problems Back to Your Kids”.

So, the first step, and by the way I have a hand motion with this, so it’s easy for me to remember how to hand problems back to my own kids. So, the first step is empathy, “Oh, bummer. Really, playing alone on the playground? That’s tough, I remember when I was little it was tough. So, what do you think you can do about that?”

And by the way don’t point to the child, it really doesn’t feel good, but it might be okay for you to point on your chin. It’ll help you remember hand it back to the child. So, empathy, ask the child, “What do you think you can do about it?” It’s a great tool.

Then here’s the kind of a tricky thing I like to touch these three fingers to just kind of remind myself I’m going to be brainstorming with the child. I’m going to take my time with them, support them as they come up with ideas, give them some ideas, but here’s the key you want them to make the decision’s. You’re not making it for them, you’re not swooping in and saving them, and you’re not yelling and telling them.

So, just give some ideas, “You know when I was little on the playground this is what I tried,” or, “I know some kids have tried this,” or, “Your older brother also dealt with this, and he tried it this way.”

So, your last step is to high five them, and to say, “Try it buddy. I think that’s a great idea. I think it would be great to just go up to another kid who doesn’t seem to have somebody to play with, and just say hey you want to play with me? You want to go over in the jungle gym?
That’s a great idea buddy, try it tomorrow.”

You know here’s the thing, the next day, this is the fun part. He comes in from school and you’ll say, “Bud, how’d that, did you try it, did you go up to anybody? How was the playground?” And you have this nice supportive dialogue going on, and if you’re a faithful parent, I’m a Christian so I frequently would say this to my kids when they were kind of getting that point that they could, they were making that decision I’d say, “Hey, keep me posted I’m going to be praying for you about it,” and as soon as they’d walk in I’d say, “Hey, how’d it work?” And so often, it was also building their faith to see that God was really present in the little things in their life.

So, here’s the five steps bummer, offer them that empathy, always approach with empathy. What do you think you can do about it? Brainstorm with them and make sure that you put some consequences, the kind of dialogue explain the consequences a bit to them, because kids don’t know cause and effect. So, brainstorm with them, give some cause and affect on it and then high five them, and let them try it.

Try it; enjoy it, and by the way number one tool to use as a good parent all the way through your raising your kids, even when kids go off to college.

Back to School Parenting: Natural Consequences

The concept of “letting your kid(s) fail” might be alarming to you, but please watch this brief discussion about how it can be very important in raising a responsible adult.

Video: Parenting with Natural Consequences

What can you do differently this weekend to NOT be such a superhero parent?

Video Transcription


So, school’s been in for what? Two weeks? Maybe three for some of you. I wonder how many awesome moms have brought backpacks already. You know, the ones that got left at the front door. Maybe some tennis shoes, maybe a lunch. Even maybe an assignment here or there that’s already gotten left behind. Here’s my encouragement. There’s nothing better that you could do than to leave the backpack at the front door. Let the lunch be left. Guess what? They won’t starve.

See we want to bring natural consequences forward to kids to experience as often as we can. Because young kids make mistakes and the mistakes are affordable. The older we get, the less affordable those mistakes are. So how much better is it to learn that you have to remember your backpack and your assignments when you’re young than when you have a mortgage payment to make [laughter] and you get fired from a job because you just couldn’t get all the things together to be organized.

Teachers love it when kids forget backpacks and parents don’t rescue. Teachers know the best thing to do is allow the natural consequence of not getting to put that little star on the chart in kindergarten, because they didn’t get all of their tasks or all of their backpacks or assignments in. So, my encouragement is to you give a lot of empathy and let the kids fail.

Eye-Contact Parenting

Try this practical tip to connect with your child, or to discourage bad behavior. Check out this video with a full explanation.

Video: Parents can connect with their kids using their Eyes

Have you tried it? I would love to hear your stories.

Video Transcription


So, today I have a challenge for you. See if you can use your eyes to either give attention or remove attention with your child.

Sixty years ago, a big landmark study about eye contact in infants. The researcher had the moms cover their eyes and smile at an infant. Guess what? The babies didn’t smile back. Then the researcher had mama cover her mouth, and then smile. Baby smiled right back. So, what that taught researchers is that communication, attention, comes through the eyes.

Here’s the challenge. This week, when your child is misbehaving — maybe they’re whining, instead of coming and looking at them and talking with them, “Stop whining, honey. What do you need? No, Mommy can’t hear that. Please stop whining.” Instead of doing that, do this — remove your eyes from the child. Just turn. Don’t even say a word. Just turn away and you can walk away. You can go around the corner. Perhaps you’re in the kitchen. Just walk around for 60 seconds. Get your eyes out of their contact, and watch and see what happens.

The other challenge is, connect with your children through your eyes. Be very intentional about when they’re doing behaviors that are positive. You have those little moments of connection. Look deeply into their eyes. Keep your eyes really soft, and smile with your eyes. Yes, you’ll be smiling with your mouth too. But take those intentional moments to really look deeply into your children’s eyes. It’s a great technique. In fact, they use eye contact, that looking deeply into children’s eyes, for attachment when we deal with kids with reactive attachment disorders.

So, it’s one of the best and most important skills that you can use when you’re connecting with your children. Make sure you’re looking at them in their eyes. For the good stuff, the stuff that’s driving you crazy — get your eyes out of there. It’s a good test and challenge for this week. Enjoy.