Challenges are part of life, aren’t they? It can feel frustrating to continually run up against a problem or problems that we’d like to change – or eliminate. As we look to meet challenges and solve problems we have a few choices. Each problem has a solution, a helpful solution (or more than one) even if we’re not seeing it at this time. Focusing on helpful solutions is definitely one aspect of solving problems collaboratively and effectively.
We don’t always do this, though.
Sometimes we spin around attempting to find a solution when we’re really grasping at control. Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyhow, for the past few years I’ve been reading about and practicing various ways to problem solve – especially in the family. I’m seeing that there are three main ways to address a problem effectively in the moment it’s occurring. I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to integrate these into my responses and my family’s experience. I’m sharing them with you for insight as maybe you’ll find them helpful also – and for accountability.
Our family is experiencing some challenges that I really want to handle in a clear, direct and consistent way. Problem solving in the moment is at the heart because we all need to feel heard, safe and respected. I intend for the following to become an integrated habit for problem solving such that in a year or two’s time we have addressed a lot of the struggle we face right now and grow to feel confident in our ability to work through challenges individually and as a team.
3 P’s for Problem Solving
- Sit down and talk through the problem at the time
- Listen to each other’s feelings and needs, taking turns talking
- Talk about helpful solutions
- Agree on a solution that all parties can try for a day or week
Positive Time Out
- Separate and get some space to feel what we feel safely
- Do something we enjoy that helps us take care of ourselves when feeling strongly (meditate, read a book, take a bath, write, draw, jump on trampoline, dance, listen to music, talk to someone else who can listen compassionately, whatever helps and does not harm)
- Come back to resolve problem when ready to discuss helpful solutions
Put it On the (Family Meeting) Agenda
- Write down name, people involved and the problem
- If have potential solutions, list them too
- We will discuss it at the next family meeting (weekly or more often as needed)
- Move on and enjoy our day, knowing the issue will be addressed
- Another way to do this is to schedule problem solving meetings between siblings, partners and/or anyone else involved; my husband and I are working on this to prevent heated disagreements during daily life
I appreciate your support so if you pray or think positive thoughts when you think of me and my family please hold us in this space also. Thank you.
Are you struggling as a parent? If so, I’d like to share something with you: a story and some hope.