Use the 5 W’s to Help You and Your Child Problem Solve

Although it is hard to remember sometimes, I am more than a mom. I am a human being — a far from perfect one. Why do I state the obvious? I mention it because I have to remind people — and myself — that I make bad choices, too. Not all the time, but I do, and this is okay.

There is always room for growth, especially in the way I make my choices, so I am always on the lookout for new ways to help me solve simple issues — such as how to deal with a day full of screaming children.

I recently wrote about ways I use my imagination to problem solve. Let me clear that using my imagination is not easy for me anymore. It seems like once I became a mom, my imagination was shoved into a tiny closet under the stairs — like Harry Potter — and was prohibited by the worries brought on by paying bills and not gaining weight.

Just as creative thinking can practice our ability to problem solve, so can many other ways, but what are those other ways? I don’t know about you, but I like to have options because I never know what’s going to work at that moment.

Here’s another option to add to your problem-solving bank, and the best part is you can use it with your children, too.

The 5 W’s

Who: Is there someone who is creating an issue for you? Is it you creating a problem for yourself or making something bigger than it should be? Identify “who” to know who it is you should be speaking to in order to find a solution.

What: If there is no one else involved in the problem — or even if there is — identify what the problem is to move forward instead of dwelling on or feeling defeated by the problem.

When: This is almost like visiting the doctor because you will need to know when you first noticed the problem. Be aware of your emotions as this will help when reflecting on when and how the problem makes you feel.

Where: Is there a place that you notice certain emotions come up? If the emotions are negative, stay away from that place. If they’re positive, maybe this is a place to go when you need space to think and solve problems.

Why: This is the most difficult one to answer because I don’t always know why something is happening or why I feel a certain way. However, if and when you are able to answer this W, your problem will be nearly solved because it will be clear on why it exists in the first place. (Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t answer this one. There are four other W’s to help you.)

I love practicing my options to better my way of thinking, managing and recovering from stressors. I see parenting an experiment of what methods are going to bring out the best in my children and me. I am the one with the power to make the best choices for myself. Keeping this in mind keeps me aware of how important it is to exemplify healthy ways of solving problems for my children.

How do you problem solve alone or with your children? If you have more than one way, how do you choose what way to use? —Jasmin

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