• Ann Kaplan

How to Quit Solving Your Kids' Problems

Here's a real life scenario a client shared in her session last week:


Kiddo is doing an art project they found on YouTube.

Kid: "This isn't coming out how i want it to. It doesn't look like the video."

Mom: "Ok well, how about holding the brush this way? I think it would turn out the way you want."

Kid: "Ugh I can't do anything right! You basically have to do it for me. I'm terrible at everything!"

Mom: "Well, you said it didn't look the way you wanted, I was just trying to help you."

Kid: (storms off and throws brushes everywhere)


It's easy to fall into the dynamic of giving advice, suggestions or solutions when kids are struggling. We're adults! The solutions to kids' problems are SO obvious. But, you probably already know that fixing stuff for our kids robs them of the experience they need to learn new skills.





Most parents understand this idea when it comes to simple skill building, but it also applies to bigger, more emotional struggles too - giving a 'lesson' or trying to fix a problem really just gets in the way of the REAL learning they need. The more we interfere, the slower their learning process becomes and it ends up causing more problems almost every time. In the scenario above, the child's focus is now on what a 'jerk' her mom is and she's totally distracted from learning how to handle frustration, accomplishing a big task, accepting subjectivity in art, etc.

So why do we keep falling into this trap? Because mamas feel pain when their kids do, and want to DO something to alleviate it. That pain is about feeling sorry for our kids, absolutely. But, it also come from our ideas about what is a 'good mom', fears for ourselves and our kids, and the insidious momguilt demon.

Avoiding the fix-it trap requires a reframing about what our job as mothers really is. Fixing and solving are not it!


I encourage you to consider a new job description that is about believing that our kids have what it takes to figure their problems out, and then getting out of the way. We are part of their learning, not by alleviating their struggles, but by enhancing their experience of the decisions they've made - through consequences and tons of love. This is what I do with my clients every day. It is hard as hell to move away from problem solving mode on our own. It rarely works to simply decide not to do it anymore, because our behavior is coming from a deep place, from that pain we feel when our kids struggle. Having someone who knows the way, has been there herself and can give you objectivity and accountability on your journey - these make the transformation possible. I'm ready to do that for you, too. When you're ready to get that support, it's time to set up a free discovery call and make it happen. See you soon!

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© 2018 by Ann Kaplan