Who owns THIS problem?

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Im reading a new book called Parenting with Love and Logic. As Im reading through it Im learning so much about myself. Its funny, our biggest fear is that our children’s behavior is a reflection of ourselves and our parenting so we do all we can to fix every problem they have right then in an attempt to teach them how to better respond in the future. So why do we (I) keep having to jump in to fix the same situations over and over?? Fortunately the insights of this book are amazing!

“The solution to any problem lies within the skin of the person who owns the problem” Whats this mean? Some example situations they share are:

  • If the child is moving slowly getting ready and is late for school, the prolem belongs to the child.
    • If the child is moving slowly getting ready and makes you late, the problem now belongs to you and you take care of it.
  • If the child talks back to someone at school, the problem belongs to the teacher and we let them take care of it.
    • If the child talks back to us then the problem belongs to us and we take care of it.
  • If the child’s room is a mess, the problem belongs to them, let them take care of it.
    • If the child comes in and trashes the living room, the problem now belongs to us and we take care of it.

One specific example they give is a mom looking out her window witnesses her son hit the neighbor boy. She does not own the problem. If she chooses to step in with anger and force the boy to apologize he might do so, but he wont learn that it wasnt right to do int he first place and he likely will do it again. Instead they offer to either leave it be, or respond with something like, “I saw what you did to the neighbor boy. Do YOU approve of that? What do you think you could have done differently in that situation? How do you think the neighbor boy feels? What do you think you should do now?” Also explaining to her son that the parents, siblings, friends of the boy or even the boy may come over mad or retaliate. But that letting children handle their own problems allows them to learn from their actions and gives them the opportunity to learn from their experiences and change their behaviors in the future. Basically stating that children will see their own problems sooner if we let them reach their conclusions on their own.

Its funny. I am the parent who would usually jump in and force an apology and to ask for forgiveness but I would likely respond to witnessing someone’s child misbehave in the above ways. I would show my child that his or her feelings dont matter and that they cant solve their own problems without my help, but other children’s feelings do matter and that they are capable of solving their own problems in my eyes. Now I need to teach myself that I do NOT need to jump into every situation to solve it for them, because by doing so I am robbing them the opportunity to learn how to solve it for themselves

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