Here’s a six-step process you can teach your teen.
1. Identify the problem. Ask your teen to state the problem in her own words. If there is a conflict, have her state the opposite view.
2. Think of all possible solutions. Don’t try to judge whether the ideas are good or bad. Just keep thinking.
3. Think of the good and bad points. Once your teen has identified all solutions, it’s time to weigh them. Think of the pros and cons of each idea. In this process, teens sometimes think of other solutions that are better than any they’ve listed.
4. Make the decision. Now your teen has to choose a solution to try. Sometimes, teens can choose two solutions and see which works better.
5. Act on the decision. Get your teen to talk about what will happen and what might go wrong. If teens anticipate problems, they are better able to deal with them.
6. Evaluate. How did your solution work? What changes should you make so it will work better?
Go through this process with one problem. Then ask your teenager to try another on her own. You might want to write these six steps on a piece of paper and put them on the refrigerator.
Everyone can use the six-step problem-solving method to find answers to problems.
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