When a kid makes a mistake, it is our natural instinct as parents to fix it. Fixing problems is one of our gut level functions as a mommy. See the boo-boo, fix the boo-boo…but are we crippling our kids when we take over like that? The ability to solve problems is a very important life skill. Kids that never learn to solve problems are destined to struggle in life.

Teaching Kids To Solve Their Own Problems

Clearly there is a line that we need to draw but where exactly is it? At what point when kids have a problem do we actually step in and help? At what point do we solve the problems for them? These are questions that deserve a closer look.

Kids are incredibly creative, independent and problem solving savvy at their core. They do have the ability to solve the majority of their own problems when we get out of the way.

Watch a kid with a new toy. They will twist it and turn it until they figure out every possible way to have fun with it. Why is that? Because they want to. There is a payoff. They have fun with it.

This shows us how kids are capable problem solvers. Why then do we panic when they encounter a difficult problem or situation? Why do we dive in and try to take over? We must resist that urge when the child is capable of solving their own problems.

I think the line is when the child could be harmed. Those kinds of problems need to be solved by us. If the child is in no danger and can learn an important lesson about problem solving, however, we need to step back and let the chips fall where they may.

One good example of this is eating. My kids have been taught extensively how to eat properly and not make a mess. Despite this, new foods can be a bit challenging for them. Rather than stopping them from making a mess, allow it. Then make them clean it up. Eventually, the child will problem solve and realize that making a mess and doing it the sloppy way means clean up time afterwards.

The difference is, you are allowing them to learn the hard way.

This can be applied in millions of ways, but every lesson your child fixes for themselves will build their confidence. Self confidence is a wonderful thing. Kids thrive when they have confidence.

As I watch my girls grow and get better at solving problems, it gets a little bit easier. I know, however, that the problems are only going to get bigger and the difficulties more serious. I hope that I can continue to discern properly the right times to step in and the right times to stand back.

What thoughts do you guys have about teaching kids to solve their own problems?