Then you have an awesome opportunity to help them solve their own problems!
Here are the steps for this amazing technique from Love and Logic (It also works great with in laws, cranky coworkers, and people you manage at work!)
- Deliver a strong dose of empathy! (Remember that you should have one empathetic phrase you use all the time. Try: "Ohhhh noooo" if you don't have one.)
- Place ownership of the problem strongly on the child's shoulders by asking, "What are you going to do about this?" (This is a "power message" that lets them know you believe they are strong enough and capable enough to solve the problem.)
- If the child says, "I don't know," you can ask, "Would you like to know what other's have tried?"
- If the child says "Yes," give them 3 optional solutions (all of which would be totally fine with you.) If the child says, "no," we say, "OK, well if you change your mind, I'll be here to listen."
- If you share 3 possible solutions and they pick one, give them encouragement by saying, "Let me know how that works out for you."
Tommy: "Aidan isn't playing nice with me."
Parent: "Ohhhh noooo! (said with empathy) What are you going to do about this?"
Tommy: "I don't know."
Parent: "Would you like to know what other kids have tried?"
- Some kids go play somewhere else for awhile.
- Some kids tell their friends that they only play with children who play nicely and that they have to go home if they can't."
- Some kids just ignore there friend and keep playing.
Parent: "How would that work for you?"
Tommy: I'd get introuble and get grounded."
Parent: "Probably so."
Tommy: I think I'll tell him he needs to go home if he can't play nicely."
Parent: "Let me know how that works out for you."