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July 16, 2014

Giving Kids a Hard Time

Image: Flickr/Roberto Santiago Rodriguez

Image: Flickr/Roberto Santiago Rodriguez

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” (Roger Lewin)

We all know the old saying: “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll never go hungry again.” The same is true for our kids…except it’s much harder to swallow.

No one likes to see kids struggle. We all love to see them succeed. Add to this the fact that our patience is worn thin before we even walk through the door in the evening, and we get a fantastic recipe for the “quick fix” syndrome. You’re tired, and your child is struggling with a puzzle, a math problem, or some socially sticky situation. That’s when we tend to jump in and give them the “right” answer — which is oftentimes the worst thing we can do.

Instead of being your child’s answer key, be their sounding board. Just ask questions. You may find some resistance at first, but persevere; their problems are just going to get more difficult. Your hope is to create the type of person who relishes the challenge of solving things on her own. Do you really want your 27-year-old daughter calling you the night before her TPS reports are due, asking you for the answers?

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