Solve Problems Without All the Drama
Many families are not good at solving their problems
because the drama starts as soon as one person disagrees
with another. Many families avoid bringing up important
issues because they know it will escalate into a full
In some families it is the children who blow up and
cause the drama - causing the parents to lose control of
the discussion. In other families, the children are the
quiet ones while the parent(s) take a discussion into a
Following the steps below, you can solve your family's
problems faster, easier - and without all the drama.
1. Identify the problem.
Start by simply stating the problem. Remember to keep it
from being an accusation.
"You keep forgetting to take the garbage out."
"I don't like the garbage piling up in the kitchen. Can
we talk about a solution to this?" (Solving a problem)
There may be reasons you aren't aware of. Allow your
family to talk without fear that you will blow up at
their reply. Never make fun of their reasons or their
suggestions for solutions.
If you want them to participate in future problem
solving, show respect.
3. Agree on a plan.
After you have made several suggestions for a solution
and have listened to their suggestion, agree on one plan
that will work.
If you can't agree, don't escalate the discussion. Table
it for tomorrow. Simply say: "I don't think we are going
to reach an agreement today. Let's sleep on this and
talk about it again tomorrow."
And, I remind my students in Parenting Classes, never
tack the work "OK" at the end of your request. That only
gives an opening to come up with a reason not to. If you
find yourself ending your requests with "OK?", practice
requesting without using that word. Say it out loud to
yourself several times before approaching your child so
you don't accidentally slip.
4. Appreciate efforts.
Once you have agreed on a solution, appreciate efforts.
Your kids might not be perfect every time, but try to
point out when they do good.
If they only do part of the agreed upon solution, try to
find a way to show that you appreciate the effort and
find one good thing to point out, but let them know that
you still expect the task completed.
"I see that you took the garbage out. I appreciate that.
I still expect a new bag to be placed in the bin."
Practice solving problems using this technique and
before you know it, your children will look forward to
problem solving with you. Why shouldn't they? If you
follow these simple instructions, your children are
getting your full attention AND you are showing them
respect - something every child craves.