In order to solve a family conflict, you first have to determine who will be making the final decision on how to solve it.
When children are little, parents are controlling and deciding for kids most of the time.
- When they go to bed
- The foods they can eat
- How to solve problems with other kids
- The best ways for them to stay safe
- Even when they should wear a coat or not!
The list is endless.
But, as children mature, we need to be asking ourselves: “Am I still fixing problems for my child when I should be teaching them how to fix the problem themselves?”
It is important to note: That we don’t want to jump directly from fixing and controlling straight into saying, “Okay, you need to figure it out”.
Each problem should be addressed separately, while keeping in mind this question:
How do you decide who will make the final decision?
I like Michael Popkin’s Ph.D., 3 questions, that help you break the decision down:
1. Whom is the problem directly affecting? Is it the child who is most concerned or upset about the issue? Who brings up the problem and wants to find a solution?
2. If the child wants the problem solved and it directly affects her, then you ask yourself, “Is my child mature enough to figure out a solution with just my support, or do I need to take more control of the situation?”
3. Does the problem involve health, safety, family rules or values? If so, the parent makes the final decision of how to solve the issue.
Pro-tip: Homework is not your problem to solve. Just ask Denise Clark Pope of Challenge Success at Stanford University.
Homework is often an area where boundaries can be over-stepped.You may offer help with your child’s homework, and their response could be: getting mad and rejecting your help.
If this happens, don’t get mad at your child.
A child getting mad and reacting or rejecting an offer of help is often a red flag that you have stepped over a boundary.
Refer back to the three questions above. Ask yourself: whose problem is it to solve?
This way, we can be better about not over-stepping important boundaries of our children.
If it’s your problem to solve, use the Director Parenting Role and try the After-Than Strategy.
Copyright 2015 Cynthia Klein, bridges 2 understanding, www.bridges2understanding,com, 650.679.8138. Build adult-child cooperation in your family