Problem solving

Most families experience problems and conflicts from time to time. The disagreements and conflicts can be between adults, between children and parents and between siblings. This is a natural part of living together as a family. When we struggle with conflicts over a longer period, it might seem impossible to solve them. This is both tiring and stressful for everyone in the family.

You can use problem-solving tools to find solutions to disagreements and problems. These tools can be used to plan nice activities, as well as to solve simple challenges in everyday life and more difficult conflicts. The same principles can be used in family meetings to understand each other’s opinions and find new solutions together. This also gives the child a feeling of being able to influence important aspects of his or her own life.

Characteristics of successful problem solving:

  • Describe the goal: Be positive, be specific, think ahead
  • Brainstorm solutions: All ideas are good ideas, be creative, be open
  • Consider solutions: Discuss pros and cons, eliminate bad ideas, combine good ideas
  • Make a plan: Choose a good solution, be realistic
  • Write an agreement: Be specific, try it out, reward success

Suggestions to prevent difficult situations:

  • Plan.When daily life is more predictable, children adapt easier. This reduces the danger of behavioral problems and conflicts. In addition it contributes to a more positive relationship between parents and children.
  • Solve conflicts early.If minor conflicts and disputes are solved together at an early stage, the escalation of disputes and conflicts can be avoided.
  • Negotiate.Negotiation between parents and children, where everyone’s opinion is listened to, prevents situations of conflict.

When both parents and children have skills to solve conflicts, this helps everyone to find different ways in dealing with difficult situations. In families where children have behavioral problems, the conflicts are often bigger and more deadlocked than in other families. If you experience this we would advise you to seek professional help. Through PMTO parents  learn how to solve challenges in structured ways, adjusted to their families.


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