Step 1: Figure out who should make the final decision on how to solve the problem; you, your child/teen, or both of you together. This determines your parenting role as a director, supporter, or collaborator.
- Problem ownership can change as your child matures.
- Be willing to set limits, find solutions together, or support your child/teen’s problem solving process when appropriate.
Step 2: Analyze what you are thinking and feeling about your child/teen by using the Think-Feel-Do Cycle format.
- Are you labeling your child/teen, assuming they are doing “it” intentionally, or magnifying the event? What exact thoughts do you have?
- What feelings do you have that makes you unable to respond rationally? Examples: hurt, rejected, discouraged, resentful, overwhelmed, worried, afraid, defeated, embarrassed, unloved, irritated, frustrated, guilty, hopeless, provoked, disappointed, concerned, cheated, ashamed,
- Are you feeling like the victim and powerless to change?
Step 3: Expand your perspective beyond yourself and explore how your child/teen might be thinking and feeling during the conflict cycle.
- Walk in their shoes. How would you be feeling and acting if you were the child/teen?
- What would you have wanted and needed from your parents to stop the cycle?
- Are you listening to your child/teen’s feelings and thoughts without interruption?
Step 4: Reflect on why your current parenting strategies aren’t working.
- Are you trying to fix or control your child? Realize that the cycle will change when you first change your thinking, feelings, and then actions.
- Honesty admit the effects of your current actions. What are you teaching your children?
Step 5: Shift your inflexible thinking to flexible thinking so you can take responsibility to start creative problem solving.
- Be willing to let go of thinking you are right and that you have the answers.
- Acknowledge that your current approach is not working and that you are willing to learn and change.
Step 6: If you are using the director parenting role because you are in charge of solving the problem, choose effective discipline strategies rather than punishment. For example:
- Try the After you …. then you can ……: the work before play approach.
- Try the 7 Step Limit Setting approach for controlling electronic use.
- Remain respectful as you repeat your directions without getting upset.
Step 7: Learn the 5 Step Problem Solving Process if you will be a collaborator where you are solving the problem together or if you are a supporter as your child solves their own problem.
- Stop blocking communication
- Listen openly
- Discuss ideas
- Make a plan together or support your child’s plan
- Follow-up to determine success and/or try another idea if needed
Contact Cynthia for a complementary Discovery Phone Session to learn how you can turn your challenges into an inspiration for growth and greater family happiness and harmony. Call her at 650.679.8138 or email at .
©2015 Cynthia Klein, Bridges 2 Understanding, has been a Family Success Coach since 1994. She works with parents and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking and private parenting coaching sessions. She writes the Middle School Mom column for the Parenting on the Peninsula magazine. She works with parents of 4 – 25 year-old children. Contact Cynthia at bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com, cynthia@bridges2understanding,com, or 650. 679.8138 to learn more about creating the relationship you want with your children.