Problem Solving with My Teen

My oldest is now 13 and I am finding out that my communication with him has had to evolve a bit. He is not the child of a few years back. All of a sudden he is taller than me. Boy, time has flown by; it seems like just yesterday he was the animated two year-old running around everywhere.

I’ve had to make a shift in my attitude towards him and treat him as a team player in our family. Now, when an issue comes up, I need to take the time to listen to his feelings and ideas and together come up with solutions that will be right for both of us. I see that we need to put our energy into searching for the kinds of solutions that will fulfill both of our needs as individuals and the needs of our family. When I remember this, things go well. But sometimes I forget and try to tell him what to do without considering his side of things.–I see that it squelches his freedom of choice and I end up losing a valuable co-worker.

Communicating with my son is a learning process for me, something that I have been more keen on learning since I’ve noticed he is growing up and a bit distant at times. I want him to feel respected as I do my best to train him in the way he should go.

As parents, I feel we know what to do for our kids instinctively, but so often the cares of life, familiarity, and preconceived notions can throw us off. God help us to lay aside the myriad of distractions in our lives to focus on what is most important–taking time with our kids and communicating with them effectively.

5 Steps of Efficient Problem Solving:

1. Listen to your kids’ feelings and find out about their needs
2. Share your feelings and needs
3. Brainstorm together to find a solution you both can agree on
4. Write down the ideas as you get them, without discussing them
5. Decide together which ideas you like, which you don’t like, and which you will follow through on

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