Does it drive you crazy when your kids say, “I’m bored”?
Especially now when you are with your kids 24/7, it’s helpful to examine three ways you could respond to their cry of desperation and see which one will best meet your needs.
How you reply depends on who you want to solve the boredom problem.
It’s crucial to clarify your intention because you may be responding as if it’s your problem to solve and in actuality you want your child to solve the problem. This miscommunication can lead to frustration and upset for both of you.
You can respond as a director, collaborator, or supporter.
Review the three roles below and ask yourself, does my language match my intention of who should solve the boredom problem?
If you think it is your problem to solve, you become the director. The director’s sentences start with, “You could,,,, “ or “Why don’t you help me….or “You have lots of things to play with. Why don’t you…”
If you want to come up with ideas together, you become the collaborator. The Collaborator’s sentence starts with, “Let’s discuss some ideas together and figure out what you will do.”
Now, if you want to teach your child how to be responsible for solving their own boredom challenge, you become the supporter. The supporter first responds with empathetic phrases to allow the child time to vent their stuck feelings of frustration. Once they get unstuck, they often can think of what to do. Here are examples of tentative supporter responses.
“You seem stuck.”
“I guess nothing sounds fun right now.”
After you first respond with empathy, stop, and say nothing more as you listen. Repeat more empathetic phrases, if needed. Remember that as a supporter, you are teaching your child to solve their own boredom problem so be careful to not slip into giving your child advice.
Your child may run off and start playing because of your precious gift of listening.
However, if they still seem stuck, you could say, “Would you like to talk about different ideas?”
Learning how to support your child’s problem-solving process is important for their healthy development.
You can learn more about this process in Cynthia Klein’s book, Ally Parenting: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation, which you can purchase on Amazon.
© 2020 Cynthia Klein . Parenting Expert, Private Coach, Speaker, and Author. Sign up for her newsletter at wwwlbridges2understanding.com.