If you are asked to list your top five shortcomings as a Mother, I am sure finding the right solutions to issues relating to your children will be one of them.
Why? Well, our brain is wired to protect us from things we see or perceive as problems and not necessarily to face challenges heads on with the mindset of looking for solutions.
Some of us grew up in households where we were blamed, yelled, punished and accused more than we were encouraged to make mistakes because Guess What? — Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn.
If you were brought up in a home with parents who thought proper discipline was to “catch” kids being “good” so they can praise or reward them; or “catch them being “bad” so they can punish them, there is a high likelihood that is what you know and would subconsciously do as well.
As moms juggling many balls, we get overwhelmed and stressed when we don’t have the solutions to issues relating to our children. We are quick to conclude that kids are just out to be bad or to get on our nerves.
Well, it is time to change that mindset.
The Positive Discipline Approach to Parenting offers a way out and that is to, “Focus on solutions”.
The Foundation for this is “What is the problem and what is the solution?” Sounds Simple right?
Our children are amazing individuals with a million and one ideas running through their developing brains. They are excellent problem solvers and have many creative ideas for helpful solutions when adults provide opportunities for them to use their problem-solving skills.
As parents, we need to learn how to include our children in finding better ways to solve problems and it is also our job is to TEACH our children how to solve problems by themselves. This way, they can become confident, independent, and successful individuals.
It might sound strange to you if you are not used to it but focusing on solutions “together” with your child will give you a better outcome than imposing consequences (which is usually disguised punishment) for everything your child does wrong.
Focusing on solutions will also create an enabling environment in your home because you are more approachable, listening to your children and your children would feel heard and feel involved in the decision-making process.
Your thought process, perception and behavior will change, and so will the thought process and behavior of your children.
How To Focus On And Find Solutions
We have talked about the Connection before Correction and Family Meetings Positive Discipline Tools. These are tools you can use to respectfully involve children to learn and use their creativity in finding solutions.
When children feel a connection, they feel belonging and significance which is one of the mistaken goals that fosters misbehavior.
Family meetings are basically about finding solutions and a way forward that everybody is happy with. There are usually a thousand and one things going on in your family each day. Focusing on solutions that will give you the best results. Don’t be quick to blame or point fingers.
This is why you might need to use the 3 Rs and 1 H for Focusing on Solutions which is:
- Related; Is the solution related to the problem?
- Respectful: Is it respectful?
- Reasonable: Is it reasonable?
- Helpful: Is it helpful?
Remember that solutions are not meant to punish or ridicule. They are supposed to be useful and if the solution agreed on does not solve the problem, try coming up with another one.
One of the most important things to remember when focusing on solutions is to involve your children in the process. This is important because the solution you single-handedly come up with might not solve the problem. There are many sides to a problem, and you will be wasting time trying to foist a solution on your child.
Imagine if a child that is supposed to do a particular chore refuses to do it. Don’t follow your natural instinct to nag, yell or punish. Ask your child why he did or did not do something and ask him how that can be fixed. Your child may not do a task simply because he forgot not because he was being lazy as concluded by Mom. If the issue of forgetfulness is not tackled, the problem will not go away.
Ask why he did not do the chore. You will be surprised by the result you will get.
Work together to find solutions and never dismiss an idea your child comes up with as absurd. That can be hurtful and might stop him from contributing.
Also, try to involve your children when you need solution to issues even when it does not directly concern them and you will be amazed by how helpful they can be.
You don’t always have to wait for a problem to arise before you involve your children in seeking solutions. Ask your children for advice when you need to work things out.
This teaches them that it’s alright to seek opinion, make mistakes and face challenges. It also gives them the opportunity to practice problem-solving skills. When you indicate that their ideas are valued, they’ll gain the confidence to attempt solving problems on their own.
So are you going to start Focusing on Solutions? I hope you have learnt something.
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