Let your children be a part of the resolution process when problems arise – Part 2

Last week, I addressed the concept of facing problems openly and allowing your children to be a part of the resolution process. I’d like to continue that thought this week.

There may be nothing more powerful than learning how to face problems and work through them. As I said last week, everyone and every family has problems. The difference between being successful and not may lie in the ability to do just that—acknowledge a problem and then put in the effort to resolve it.

Certainly, there are situations where the parties involved with a problem are not interested in resolution. Try to find a common ground—a common motivator for resolution. What would be the consequences of not resolving the issue? What would be the benefits of solving the issue?

If there is a mutual desire to work on solving a problem, then you have moved the process forward in a major way. Desire for resolution is critical to the success of the process. There will need to be time, effort, and enery put into the resolution process, so everyone needs to be on board with that. The doomsayer or negative influence will debilitate the resolution process. It’s difficult to overcome a negative attitude.

When you are problem solving, the first step is to identify the problem in the first place. Try to do this without being derogatory toward another person. Identify the problem in terms of what is happening—not in terms of the person.

For example: “We are having a hard time paying the bills because of the recession. So, we are going to have to cut our budget for a while. However, we can do that. And, at the same time, we are going to work extra hard to make sure things work out well.”

Versus: “You kids are just too expensive. You want us to spend money that we don’t have on things you don’t need. You’re just going to have to do without. That’s it.”

In the first example, the focus was on the problem and on the commitment for resolution. In the second example, the focus was on what is called “you messages” or “put down messages.” These kinds of messages are hurtful and do nothing to move the resolution along.

So, as I said, the first step to problem solving is to identify the problem in the first place. Work to identify the problem in terms of the needs of both (or all) parties. Then, as you continue the problem solving process, keep going back and asking the question, “If we do this, will it help everyone to have their needs met?”

I’ll continue to provide information on this problem solving process. I hope that this will become a part of your family’s commitment to working through things together. They say that a family that prays together stays together. And, I believe that a family who problem solves together through open, healthy communication has a much better chance of staying together—even through the most difficult of times.

Here’s to the solving of your problems.