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Who Owns the Problem - Parent Or Child?

Judy H. Wright
 


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Who owns the problem; Parent or Child? It is tempting for parents to assume ownership and responsibility for everything that goes on in the life of their child. However, when the parent jumps in too soon to solve the problem or give the answer, the child never learns to trust his own judgment and become a critical thinker.

Look at the list of situations and see if you can figure out who owns the problem?

1. Throws a tantrum in the grocery store if they don't get what they want.

2. Fighting with their brother or sister.

3. Leaving their jacket on the floor.

4. Getting in trouble on the playground.

5. Not turning in their homework

6. Not going to bed on time

7. Doesn't give you a phone message

8. Does a sloppy job on the dishes

9. Talks with mouth full of food at the dinner table

10. Says no one likes him at school

11. Forgets to tie his shoes

12. Drinks a beer with friends, even though he is only 12.

Who owns the problem; Parent or Child? It is easy for parents to assume ownership and responsibility for everything that goes on in the life of their child. However, when the parent jumps in too soon to solve the problem or give the answer, the child never learns to trust his own judgment and be a critical thinker.

If a child is kept from satisfying a purpose or if the natural consequences teach a life lesson, the Child owns the problem.

The parents do not own the problem because the behavior does not interfere with them. If it does interfere with their happiness or peace of mind, then it is a joint problem and we will work together to solve it.

If the child is satisfying his or her own purposes and the child's behavior is not interfering with the parents, then there is no problem in the relationship. If no one really minds jackets on the living room floor, then don't argue about it. Teach them to be organized at another time.

If the child is satisfying his or her own purposes but the child's behavior is interfering with the parents, then the parents own the problem. If the child is drinking beer, it is not only against the law, but it is a dangerous practice and must have intervention.

Pick Your Battles, But Stick to Your Guns

If the behavior is only irritating, you may choose to let it slide and focus on the big picture. If the unacceptable behavior is infringing on the rights of others or is clearly negative in nature, you must set boundaries and consequences.

How the child chooses to react to the boundary is his choice. If he proceeds to make a wrong choice, it is his problem. Your job is to make the rules and consequences very clear. It is your child's job to make right choices more often than not.

Not Easy to See Who Owns The Problem

It isn't always easy to spot the ownership and the consequences of behavior. However, it is only through assuming personal responsibility that children and adults become contributing members of society. If each one of us assumes responsibility for our own choices and actions, it will be a much better world.

Artichoke Press is the home site of Judy H. Wright, family relationship coach and author. If your organization would like to schedule Auntie Artichoke, the storytelling trainer, for a workshop please call 406.549.9813.

You are also invited to visit our blog at http://www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio broadcasts developed just for you.

You are free to make copies of this article for your blog, ezine or magazine as long as you keep all contact information intact and do not change the content. Thank You.

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