The Blog

As a newspaper columnist, Nancy Devlin, Ph.D. has written over 700 articles on subjects related to education and parenting. Welcome to her Classroom!

Teach Your Child Problem Solving

As the new school year begins, it helps to remember the following:

1. Children cannot control or change what the adults in their

lives choose to do. Therefore we need to help them to become

problem solvers and to look to themselves for solutions. Try not

to step in and solve problems for them rather look at problems

that arise as opportunities for children to learn and put into

practice problem-solving techniques. You show them more respect

by giving them these opportunities.


2. To be successful problem solvers, children need to believe in

themselves and to take responsibility for their own behavior.

You can help them by:

a. providing opportunities for them to accept themselves.

b. help them to use mistakes as a way to learn and not as an

excuse to say: “I’m a failure and no good.”

c. help them to take responsibility for their day.

d. use encouragement and catch them being right.


3. Provide opportunities for children to learn to develop

communication skills. This can be done over the dinner table.

Each member of the family can be encouraged without fear of

interruption or riducle to tell something good that happened that



4. Provide opportunities for children to be empathetic.

Piaget says the purpose of education is moral and

intellectual autonomy. Concern for others is as important as

intellectual development.


5. Provide opportunities for children to understand and to

accept their unique temperaments and learning styles.


6. Monitor the images of violence your child is exposed to on the

TV, on-line, games, books.  Encourage stories which demonstrate

solving problems by compromise.


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