Posted April 02, 2016
We all live with problems. To be more correct, we are born with problems of survival and living.
This article advocates, with examples, that problem solving begin early in life, like pre-school, when children are still at home and continue through elementary school into high school.
From day one we depend on mom and dad to feed us, bath us, change our diapers and inculcate values by which to live. Our problems of living are mostly social, poor health habits, and making bad uninformed choices. But as we get older and become more mature, we should have learned to how to take care of ourselves, get along with others, live within our means, have a sense of morality, act with civility, obey the law and fix problems of living. Unfortunately many today lack many skills of life.
Evidence that most people lack problem solving skills:
Solving everyday problems requires using the skills, accumulated knowledge, and resources [e.g., time, money, and friends] that we have available to us to solve our problems. How to do all this needs to be learned early in life and fine tuned throughout the school life of youngsters; so that when they graduate from high school they have the basic skills of problem solving. "The result should be an accumulated experience or pragmatic knowledge that continues to grow throughout the life span given the novel circumstances and ever-expanding culture to which we are exposed year by year." Mienaltowski: Life span problem solving 2011
Problems of life: Are many and include: lack of respect for others, not recognizing natural protective body sensors, inability to get along with others, inability to make informed choices, lack of simple research skills, fixing causes of health problems, inability to make good food choices, lack essential values that guide our behaviors and many more.
Youngsters gradually learn from their experiences .... that is, they pick up 'how to do it' slowly as they get older; this is referred to as wisdom! There is a saying how we become wise with age: "As you climb a mountain, the closer one gets to the top, the clearer the top becomes."
Steps to solve problems: Although there are many theories and Paradigm suggestions, below is an illustrated summary of 8 steps to solving problems; that should work for everyone .... from pre-scholars to adults and seniors:
Interpreting the 8 Steps to Making Good Decisions in the illustration above:
The eight steps may be shortened to fewer steps and made simpler for children. But the 'nuts and bolts' of resolving most problems are there!
Others help raise child:
The best way to make sure that we know how to fix problems is to teach children and youngsters how to do so. Have parents and teachers show children and youngsters how to do it. Ofcourse, grand parents can play a big part in reinforcing values to live by and helping children learn how to deal with problems. Unfortunately, parents often fail to provide skills of living and thus handicap raising their children properly. When this happens it is the community that provides opportunities [ recreational sports, block parties, church socials ] that can fill in parental gaps.
The African proverb says it best: "It takes a village to raise a child." Although not all communities provide good environments to support raising children, communities are still a very important nurturing environment.
In 1996, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago about what mattered most in her life and in the lives of others ---- children and their families. Clinton said, “Families are part of a larger community that can help or hurt our best efforts to raise our child.” Although it is the parents’ responsibility to care for their child, it takes the community to provide the best environment for nurturing the child. Tomlin: Community raises child
Here are a few examples of how parents and teachers can create opportunities for children to develop essential skills to help children solve problems of living:
Early childhood at home:
Parents can help at home children learn problem solving by the age-old method:
1. Do for the child when the child is 1 to 2 years old.
2. Do with the child after age one
3. Gradually withdraw and let the child do things and fix problems with parental guidance
Pre-school at home: Parents can use a problem solving style of communication that guides young children to think for themselves. Shure: Problem solving Parents need to show and have children "doing by practicing" how to solve simple problems:
Elementary School level:
Middle-High Public school:
What defines success when solving everyday problems? Teachers and older adults approach problem solving differently from children and youngsters. For example, when collaborating with a friend, older adults are more likely than young adults to agree that interpersonally destructive strategies are not the best way to resolve conflict. Mienaltowski: Life span problem solving 2011 Success is based on the youngster or adult being able to get information about potential ways of managing a problem, recognizing different choice options and then making an informed single best choice or solution. To be able to fix a problem, one needs to do preliminary, relevant research to the problem to identify pros and cons of each fix option. Selecting the best option will also depend on matching the functional skills of the person or youngster. This may require recognizing the limitations or short-comings of the individual.
"Recent research suggests that individual differences in cognitive functioning mediate the relationship between poor health status and poor everyday problem-solving performance." Thornton: Age differences in problem solving 2005 What this means is that as youngsters mature intellectually, they can match this skill with experiences to make informed decisions to solve everyday problems. Enlightened awareness makes one aware that if one cannot do something to resolve the problem oneself, one [you] may have to depend on others for assistance. The 'we' concept comes into play instead of the 'I' and solving a problem often becomes a cooperative social group solution. One often lacks the needed resources like money or research skills and learns to seek help from others. Working with others to solve social-life problems becomes a teachable skill moment.
Living requires an open mind to learning everyday. One does not stop learning upon graduating from high school or university. This new information era of the television, internet and new technology make yesterday's information old; we need to update old information, ideas and ways of living in order to learn to keep up with ever changing times. Living in the new ever changing world demands that we keep learning every day. Galinsky: Child essential skills 2010
Quotations that may help you solve problems:
Your feedback is most appreciated: E-mail to: Author Walter Sorochan
To return to: web-site main page
Britz, Joan, "Problem Solving in Early Childhood Classrooms. ERIC Digest," ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education Urbana IL. 1993. Britz: Classroom problem solving 1993
Corriere Jessica & Robert Richards, "6th Grade Math - How to Solve 6th Grade Math Problems With Step-By-Step Directions," Corriere: Solving grade 6 math
Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Children Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Children
Galinsky Ellen, "Mind in the Making," Also [ Book: Mind in the Making ], Harper Collins, 2010. Galinsky: Child essential skills 2010
Introduction PROBLEM SOLVING, dworldforum. Problem Solving 5 steps
Mienaltowski Andrew, "Everyday problem solving across the adult life span: solution diversity and efficacy," Ann N Y Acad Sci. October, 2011, 1235: 75–85. Mienaltowski: Life span problem solving 2011
Shure Myrna, "I Can Problem Solve," Thinking Child. Shure: Problem solving
Thornton WJL, Dumke HA., "Age differences in everyday problem-solving and decision-making effectiveness: a meta-analytic review," Psychol. Aging. 2005;20:85–99. Thornton: Age differences in problem solving 2005
Tomlin Carolyn R., "It Takes a Community to Raise a Child," Early Childhood News. Tomlin: Community raises child