When you become a parent, you learn pretty quickly how to solve a problem or 10. Since every child is different and every situation offers new challenges, you learn to be quick on your feet to solve issues as best as you can. Here are some ways I have learned to deal with different types of problems:
Big Problems - When you have to face your first large problem as a parent, it can be a horribly terrifying experience. Not only do yo have that problem itself, but, if you haven't dealt with anything like it before, a parent's mind tends to jump way ahead at all the potential OTHER problems that could occur because of this new ONE situation. It can be overwhelming. However, I have learned that when a big problem comes, you deal with that situation alone. Don't think way ahead. Don't compare it to other people's situations and don't dwell on past things you can't change. You deal with the big problems as they come. This is the only way you can save your sanity and not become so overcome with worry and stress that you are no good to anyone. For instance: when my new first baby had her first big fever I was freaking out. Of course I talked to her doctor (and my mother) and even though I was told how to handle it and what needed to happen, I couldn't stop my mind from thinking about how she could have a seizure if her fever got too high, or how she could become dehydrated or, the biggest worry, that she could die. My brain went so far beyond where it needed to go, when all I needed to do was follow the doctor's recommendations and then just wait and see and NOT PANIC. One problem at a time is how to handle the big things. The more big problems you deal with, the stronger you get and the less that panic completely overtakes you. You won't be worry free, but, you will be able to be in control of yourself--which is a big deal in scary, hard situations.
Annoying Problems - Then as a parent, you learn to deal with the little, constant and annoying problems. This type of problem solving, only comes with practice and adaptation. For instance: Johnny hates sharing with his sister, Sally. So, Johnny grabs things from her and constantly makes her cry. The first time you tell Johnny that it's not nice to be mean to his sister and that he needs to share. The second time he does it, you tell him the same thing and then move him into another room or maybe time out depending on his age. The next time you hear Sally crying for a toy, you find out that Johnny is moving on to other toys (and actually sharing), but, now every time he picks something new up, she decides she should have it and throws a fit. So, then the toy gets put up for a while and no one can have it (and maybe she goes in time out). Parenting at times is a series of trial and error in problem solving and sometimes a certain problem solving technique works, and sometimes it just doesn't. So you adjust.
Conflict Resolution - This is a type of problem solving that you will be dealing with even if you have one child, because, that child will have conflict with friends at some point, with the other parent or even with you and finding a way to compromise or work with them will become second nature to you. Along with the sharing illustration above, there will be so many more and diverse conflicts they will be a part of. You learn to bend when you need to...to stand strong when you need to and to not only offer forgiveness, but, you will learn to forgive yourself for having conflict with your child as well. Conflict is how we learn to be strong people. It's where we learn to be tolerant of others feelings and needs and it's how we learn that life isn't always perfect and sometimes you need to just move on from an issue. It teaches them how to solve problems as well, which is a skill they will need as they become adults.
Discipline Takes Work - The hardest thing in problem solving I learned was consistency. A lot of times, handling a problem meant keeping the same disciplinary action happening on a consistent basis until the child learned that they needed to change their behavior. Sometimes it meant taking up a lot of my time when I wanted to visit with friends, or just watch a TV show because I had to keep putting that child back in bed when they kept getting up, or sometimes it involved me keeping my word, when I knew my word was going to be hard for my kids to take. It's work to discipline a child. However, it is an effective way to solve a problem in a lot of circumstances and if you want it to work, you need to be consistent. I don't know about you, but, with a lot of things in my life I didn't necessarily learn how to do everything in my life the first time around. Sometimes it took a few times of getting the same response before I figured that wasn't the way to go in a given situation!
We face different types of problems every day in our lives. Motherhood has helped me deal with different types of people and all sorts of situations with all sorts of variables. I have learned a lot on how to solve a problem or 10. How about you?!
Until Next Time!
Jen Lush--Mother, Grandmother and Associate Broker Photo Credit: Derek Thompson