Creative problem solving

Case in point, my son at the park this week. He grew up with dogs, so he obviously loves them. Here in the parks there are always people walking their dogs, sometimes with kids, mostly without any kids in tow. Shayan had this habit of running up to any dog he sees, after a lot of reminders, he’s now gotten hang of the fact that he needs to talk to the ‘master’ first and ask their permission to approach their dog. So he goes up to this man in the park with a collie mixed breed and says ‘hi’. Only the guy did not respond back. Shayan goes off in a huff, upset and hurt that his greetings were not returned. He even sulked and reminded me that I am his mother and I am supposed to solve his problem, in this case, help him to talk to this man. While I gently pointed out that maybe the man was enjoying his quiet day at the park and didn’t want to strike up conversation with anyone, Shayan was insisting that I must still help him to meet the dog. This was quite a funny conversation with a 7-year-old who is almost in tears.

It’s funny because of what he did next – he waved a loud ‘hi’ at the next dog people he met, went right up front, stuck out his hands and said ‘hi’. Now who can resist a child’s outstretched hands? So far none that I have seen this week. Since this strategy worked, he is currently sticking to it. He goes up with an out stretched hand, introduces himself with the handshake, asks the other person’s name, then their dogs (in that order) and then launches into a conversation about the dog in question. This week alone, we must have met and played with 100’s of dogs already and it is always him initiating the conversation.

Now this got me thinking, as parents and bosses, we are forever stepping in to solve problems. But what if we didn’t? What if this problem is exactly what our charges need to learn to solve? And can we even begin to guess at the creative ways that they might solve their problems? It took Shayan all of about 30 minutes to come up with a new strategy to meet more dog people and he completely changed the way he was approaching them. The change in his confidence level is amazing. I cannot help but marvel at people’s capacity to grow and learn, sometimes all on our own.

Posted on July 22, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I often ran into that same problem with parents of my students. I wanted to scream, “Stop stepping in a solving all their problems! They need to learn to stand a bit on their own.” It also led many students to do whatever they want because “Mom” (“Dad”) will fix it.


    • livingvoraciously

      wow… that’s exactly what my son expects too, that I am going to step in and solve all his problems, only I don’t want him to grow up dependent on someone else to solve his problems. All the more reason of why I have been loving his creative problem solving all week.

      But still its quite sad to see quite a few people in the office who are like that. They expect the boss to tell them what to do, how to do and when there’s a problem, even how to solve it. Quite sad really.


  2. Perhaps some of that attitude has to do with societal expectations of authority figures. My view of parenting was, and continues to be with my now adult child, that it’s my job to support my daughter in finding her own fix, acknowledge her efforts, and talk through what went right and what could be done differently. You must be so VERY proud of your son! 🙂


    • livingvoraciously

      LOL! I am so proud of him and how he’s been handling himself and his desire to meet more dogs 🙂 Children are tougher and more resilient then we give them credit for. While I would probably always be a little bit too overprotective of him, I am realising that I need to step back and let him do things on his own for him to blossom to his full potential.


  3. What an amazing thing for one so young to do. His confidence and self-assurance level will surely climb. ….Diane


    • livingvoraciously

      Thanks Diane, I think we have created a monster now 😀 LOL

      No dog walking people are safe from his introduction any more. Today at the city centre he did something that really warmed my heart, he went up to a homeless person with two dogs, stuck his hand out, introduced himself, asked the other person’s name and got into a full fledged conversation. I was so proud of my boy! Goes to show that prejudice is learnt … not born with.. and I loved how he made no distinction at all.

      One other thing that I have been noticing is that he always makes sure that people know that his mom is close by and watching him 🙂 staying safe too… smart boy :))


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