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Alicia64

Writer-friend needs to interview parents raised/raising "problem solvers."

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Hi Everyone,

I have a very sweet friend who is writing an article for a major magazine on how to raise independent problem solvers.

She would need to speak with you by phone. So don't respond here.

If you have some great suggestions for raising problem solvers -- can you PM me? I'd need your email so she can contact you directly and a line or two about how you raised problem solving kids. I already shared w/ her that I read aloud a lot and homeschool. So she has that angle.

She's working on a tight deadline so this would have to happen in the next day or two.

THANK YOU!

Alley

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What does she mean by problem solvers? My youngest figured out at 10 months old how to open the safety gates.

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Alicia - you can PM me.  I have a 20 year old who works as a problem solver (in IT) and who works on his own car (diagnosing it's problems etc.)   and a 16 year old who is a good problem solver as well. 

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Just now, KungFuPanda said:

Is anyone trying NOT to raise problem solvers?

Haha!  I think that some parents don’t really think through how to actually enable kids to do this themselves.  My parents weren’t intentional with it like my husband’s family was, and he encounters a LOT of engineers in training who can’t think their way out of a paper bag, let alone even begin nibbling on an out of the box concept.  

 

It’s like they don’t even know where to start to break down the problem, or what to apply.

 

Some exercises and ways of thinking or attacking difficulties seem to cause better results than others, and why that is would be a fascinating article.  There seems to be a real ‘don’t let them struggle’ vibe in parenting the last few decades, and that arguably does a disservice to children in their willingness to tackle problems, let alone become comfortable with failure and trying again.

 

That was my impression of what Alicia’s friend was getting at, anyway ?

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My husband and I were talking about this last night. Our pediatrician was amazed several years ago when our then three year old pushed a chair to be near the bed/table thing so she could watch her 21 month old brother get his exam. I was unsure whether I should tell her that her brother would have done the exact same thing to see her. Our current toddler also constantly does things like this. He'll get a stick to try to get a ball he can't reach. He'll get a bowl and container of raisins if he's hungry. I was asking my husband if this is normal or if it is just our normal. He reminded me that a lot of parents forbid their kids from "messing with stuff" and punish them for making messes. It's frustrating how chaotic our house gets sometimes (cleaning up incidental messes is hard to teach), but we think it is worth it to have kids who are becoming capable, thinking, people. (We'd be no good for an interview, though, since our oldest is 6. We haven't had a chance to find out if our methods will be successful long-term.)

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My kids are too young for me to say anything definitive, much less be interviewed for an article, but I think we're raising good problem-solvers. A lot of it is allowing them the freedom and materials they need to accomplish stuff. And part of it is walking them through things on an informal basis.

I was pretty surprised at what we learned when my son was being evaluated by an OT, which I mention because we homeschool and didn't have a lot of outside feedback other than this. He was there for gross motor skills, but they also tested fine motor skills, where he hit the test ceiling (first kid ever in that practice), and he solved a lot of the problems in novel ways. Like, he was supposed to cut out a circle on a piece of paper, so he folded the paper at a point on the circle to get his scissors directly onto the circle instead of cutting from the edge of the paper. He was about 4 at the time, and the therapist said most kids she saw at that age had never been allowed to use scissors, so they didn't know what to do with them. We had given him his first pair of scissors at 18 months! He had years of experience over all the kids whose parents were scared they'd hurt themselves! And just a few days before that, he'd been making a mask so DH taught him how to make eye holes.

So, he solved a problem, solved it in a superior way that most kids his age (who had reason to see an OT, anyway) wouldn't, and it was because of our giving him lots of basic materials and freedom, plus occasionally walking him through fun projects that he himself initiated. This wasn't a one-time thing; I observed lots of examples of it during his therapy.

I let them do a whole lot, with appropriate supervision for safety. Scrub toilets, stir a hot pot, chop veggies from a young age? No problem. I know adults who can hardly do those things because their moms didn't want them to hurt themselves, or certain rooms or tasks were her domain. Not here. And no one's been injured.

Oh yeah, and our house is often a wreck. ?

 

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You can PM me if you'd like.  I'd say one of my children in particular (late 20's) would fall into the independent problem solver category.  But it would be to interview my child-- not me!

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According to my DH ( and he is pretty vocal on this

 In the world there are problem solvers, there are problem makers, and there are sitters who just sit there and don't even notice the world going by. 

I think that there is a far amount of modeling by parents that children pick up on even in infancy. All my bio kids are problem solvers in a big way

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Seeing this very late, and I don't have a lot of time today, but feel free to PM me if she's still in need. I don't have a whole lot to say. I'm very big on benign neglect. ?

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If your friend is still looking for people to interview, please PM me.  I have experience with this in various areas and so have lots of examples.  Hopefully I will be helpful.  Thanks!

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