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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Problem Solving Skills with Children Two to Eight - Part I

By Andrew Loh

Children use their early years to develop and streamline problem solving skills and techniques. These techniques could include skills to handle conflicts, learning how to fight back, escape from dangers or even learning how to solve emerging problems. For thousands of years, adults managed emerging conflicts with their young children by instructing them what they should not do and how they should behave. Most parents always reinforced their belief by introducing punishments and structuring in the hope that their children will be more compliant and disciplined. However, what they never realized was that it was a negative and inferior process for them as well as their children. In fact, their children ended up becoming aggressive and violent. However, child psychologists and experts are advocating more positive methods that can help parents solve problems with their children.

Every child is his or her own individual! As your child grows into age, he or she will start learning a number of social skills at a furious pace. Such a fast-paced learning often results in a number of social problems of which conflicts and arguments are the most common ones. Regular conflicts among the members of your family may lead to bitter and un-pleasant power struggles for asserting supremacy. When you learn the basic technique of problem solving with your children especially between the age of two and eight, you can easily guide them to help them streamline their inner feelings, opinions, desires and expressions.

Most young children are immature in their thinking process and the way in which they streamline their opinions and expression especially when it comes to stressful or conflicting situations. When parents learn basic problem solving techniques, they can make their children understand the value of resolving all pending conflicts with peace of mind. The positive outcome of teaching problem solving techniques with your children belongs to two special categories:

  • Learning to understand basic issues like "How do I feel?"

  • Learning to ask a simple question like "What do I want?"

When your child asks the above-mentioned questions, he or she is already tuning the mind to solve the problems without their knowledge. When you train them with relevant techniques, they can recognize that they have many options and choices before them to solve any type of problems. Your children will also learn that there are many numbers of acceptable ways to reach their goals or achieve their desires. Problem solving techniques can help your children to recognize that there are a number of options for satisfying their wants and needs.

For example, these techniques can help them to convert their conflicting mind into rationally thinking one that can seek ways to resolve all pending conflicting situations in a peaceful manner. Here are some conflicting situations and children react to them after learning problem-solving techniques:

Problem: "I want that toy now"
Solution: "I can play with other toys in the room?"

Problem: "I want to watch that cartoon show now"
Solution: "OK, I can watch that show after I finish my homework"

All problem-solving techniques are very efficient and you can successfully turn all arguments into very productive partnerships that eventually end in a definite win-win situation that is satisfactory to all the parties involved. When you provide the right type of training, even a four-year-old child can become efficient in solving problems. The significant advantages of teaching problem solving techniques to your children are:

  • Learning the responsibility of remaining calm and composed

  • Learning to cooperate with parents and other children

  • Streamlining communication skills and verbalizing expressions and feelings

All problems solving technique focus on a number of important aspects of your child's life. While problems are common for almost all of us, solving those problems become an important issue so that we can lead a life full of contentment and peace. Problem solving techniques try to focus on changing the basic thinking skills; in many ways, it is almost like transforming a rigid mind into a flexible one that can find amicable solutions to even most dicey of all problems.

As a responsible parent, you will need to train your children to solve their problems in most amicable and effective ways so that they can learn to attain success in their professional and personal life. Problem solving forms an important part of thinking and it is the most complex of all intellectual functions in human beings. Problem solving and conflict resolution for your children should begin in their early life. Understanding, comprehending and teaching problem-solving techniques to your children is an integral and integrated part of their social, mental development and personal growth. Without these invaluable tools, your children will become adults and start resolving all problems by using the only method they know and understand - with a fickle mind, too much emotional behavior, and unfortunately, with too much force. Continue to read Problem Solving Skills with Children Two to Eight - Part II here!


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