How to help your child by not helping them.
The essence of life is problem solving. Our days are filled with problems big and small. Like what to eat for breakfast, or even, how am I going to get food for breakfast? The more effectively we can solve our problems, the more effectively we live our lives.
Teaching critical thinking and rational compassionate problem solving is one of the main goals of a Humanist parent.
Which is why my number one goal as a parent is to teach my child how to solve problems. I don’t want to give him solutions or fix his problems for him. Sure, it might make my life easier for a little bit, but it won’t make his life easier. And if his life isn’t easy, my life isn’t easy. My goal is to have him become independent.
Kids need to learn how to solve problems. The most important thing a parent can do to help kids learn how to solve their problems is – don’t solve the problem for them. That prevents them from learning anything. It’s easier for the parent, but not helpful for the child.
The way I help my son practice these problem solving skills is through Socratic questioning. By asking him a series of targeted questions I can help him worth through to a possible solution on his own. I have yet to meet a child who resists this approach because it is so empowering, sspecially if you make it fun for them.