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Allow Learning while Protecting Your Children; Living with Uncertainty

To allow learning while protecting your children presents a daunting task. As a parent you must know everything is okay for your children. You can’t guess, hope or wonder. You must know everything is okay for your children. Doing everything for your children may contribute to you knowing everything is okay for your children; contributes to greatly reducing the opportunity for possible harm, pain, and/or discomfort to come to your children. However, doing everything for your children prevents them from learning the skill sets you are doing for your children. Mistakes may be the greatest teacher. Right practice and repetition improve all skills.

I believe all of human behavior consists of many, many skills (or skill sets); from tying shoes, to brushing teeth, to making friends, to keeping friends. Most interactions with others (people and things) include some form of problem-solving (decision-making).

Checkout the April 2014 issue of The Atlantic magazine.  It discusses how “reasonable risks are essential for children’s healthy development.” This article will help you balance your need to know that everything is okay for your children and promoting your children’s healthy development.

 

Problem-solving and Decision-making

The good news: There are several effective problem-solving models (I will share my favorite) that generally consist of five, six or seven steps. The bad news: There are many different types of problems. Practice/repetition of solving one type of problem does not necessarily (often doesn’t) equip us to solve another type of problem, because one problem-solving method does not generalize to other types of problems. Learning how to select the best blocks to use in making a tall block building is one skill set.  That does not help in learning the best way to navigate one’s way through applying for a job  It does not help with dealing with the unknown or unpleasant/non-preferred feelings or to ask for help.

My favorite problem-solving/decision-making model:

Step One: Identify the problem needing to be solved; the decision that needs to be made.

Step Two: Gather information pertaining to the problem needing to be solved; the decision that needs to be made.

Step Three: Brainstorming This is my favorite step, because in this step I am never wrong. Brainstorming refers to the act of generating choices of action without consideration for the likelihood of effectiveness (that is, solving the problem). I believe that only our imagination limits our ability to solve a problem. Until I can imagine a solution to a problem I cannot begin working towards implementing that solution. Brainstorming encourages us to imagine different solutions; to see if these imagined solutions are good ideas or even possible gets addressed in Step Four.

Step Four: Consider the Pros and Cons of each solution generated in Step Three.   This step requires me to take an honest look at each and winnow down this list to a few possibilities.

Step Five: Select and implement solution/decision.

Step Six: Evaluate my process. How did I do? Did it solve the problem to my satisfaction? What, if anything, can I do differently for the next problem like this one? What worked? What didn’t work very well? What didn’t work at all? Nobody (well, few of us) ever bothers with this step.

 

I believe all of human behavior consists of many, many skills (or skill sets). This spans from tying shoes, to brushing teeth, to making friends, to keeping friends, to asking for help. Most interactions with others (people and things) include some form of problem-solving. Many interactions with our environment (includes people and things) present possible opportunities for harm, pain, and/or discomfort.  Balancing your need to know that everything is okay for your children and promoting your children’s healthy development is not easy or simple.

 

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