FIXING THE PROBLEM THEMSELVES
Here is what one of the moms in my class did with her tween daughter after having learned the 5-step problem solving skill. Her daughters "contribution" (formerly known as a "chore") was to unload the utensils from the dishwasher after they were cleaned.
A spoon was stuck. She went right into whining, how she can’t get it out.
STEP 1: GIVE EMPATHY
I gave her empathy and said “Aww, it must be frustrating.”
STEP 2: PASS THE PROBLEM BACK
I said, “What are you going to do?"
She answered: “I don’t know” in high pitched voice.
STEP 3: ASK PERMISSION TO GIVE SUGGESTIONS OF WHAT SOME KIDS MIGHT DO
I said: "Would you like to know what other kids might do?"
She said: Okay.
STEP 4: IF GRANTED, GIVE SOME SUGGESTIONS OF WHAT "SOME KIDS" MIGHT DO, DON'T FEEL YOU HAVE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM
I suggested one way of getting it out. She tried several times. And still couldn’t do it. Finally, she nicely asked me to take it out, because it was really too hard for her. It really was stuck.
STEP 5: GIVE LOVE AND CONFIDENCE
So, I wasn’t able to say, “Let me know, how it turns out” but I felt good that she took some responsibility for trying to solve the problem.
Oh well! At least this mom tried. Sometimes you do need to assist but this mom did a great job of working with her daughter to think about what she coulddo.
NOT MY PROBLEM
Sometimes we just have to realize that an AFFORDABLE MISTAKE is THEIR problem and not ours. Here's what another mom learned:
My 13 year old is a perpetual procrastinator and always runs late. The other day she was out of school for a teacher retreat day. I told her in the morning about 2.5 hours before we were to leave for a doctor appointment that if she finished her brainstorm bullet points for her high school entrance essay before we left that I would take her shopping for new shoes after her doctor appointment.
She really wanted to shop but she can never pull herself away from the television to get anything done. Needless to say 2.5 hours came and went and she was just barely ready to leave when it was time to go let alone finish her HSPT brainstorm. Usually I am angry and mad, like she is doing it to me but when I realized that she was not going to be ready, I also realized that it was NOT my problem, it was hers. And she was not doing it to me, she was doing it to herself! Realizing this made it easy for me to not get mad. And guess who got dragged around doing errands with me that day after the doctor appointment?