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As a parent, how can I help my child or teen solve a problem?

Karen Jackson, NP
Pediatric Nursing
When I help children and teenagers solve problems, I use what's called a strength-based approach. The first part of that really is looking at the child's strengths and what they do really well in their lives. We really concentrate on that. The second thing I do if they're having a problem is let them know that I am really concerned about them and the problem. The third thing I do is I get permission from them to talk about the problem, because that gives them the control to talk about the problem, and they tend to open up a little bit more. I think just making a statement like "Yes, I am concerned" opens that up. Instead of reprimanding the child, I think asking the question "Can we talk about this?" actually does give the parent control, because kids will open up if they feel like they have some control and that they will be able to have some say about what the answers are to the problem.

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