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Articles > How to Raise a Problem Solver

Helping Special Needs Kids Cope Effectively with Problems

               How to Raise a Problem Solver by Foster Cline MD and Lisa Greene  

Children can have problems, children can cause problems, and some would say children are a problem. So it only makes sense then, to turn them into Problem Solvers. 
Some children stress their parents with life-threatening problems occurring around rock climbing or dirtbike racing and other extreme sports. But parents of children with health issues like diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or severe allergies are faced with their child’s life threatening problems every day; problems that somebody has to solve. And isn’t it sweet when the kids solve ‘em! You get to relax and not be stressed out!   

Living with a serious medical condition provides a unique parenting opportunity to raise children who problem solve effectively, grow through their experiences and cope well with difficulty. A parent’s job is to encourage and facilitate this learning. That learning is not facilitated when parents give the answers, take over and fix the problem, and/or become frustrated and angry about the behavior.  

Effective parenting is neither permissive nor demanding; it is both loving and firm. Correct parenting can be a little scary, because thoughtful risks must be taken when children are allowed to solve their own problems. But if the learning takes place when the children are young, the risks are often not so expensive. 

Parenting Children with Health Issues emphasizes the Love and Logic curriculum that guides children to solve a problem by using these five simple steps:  

Step 1.   When a child presents a problem, express curiosity, interest and empathy:

            “Bummer. I bet that hurt your….” (Feelings, grade, tummy, etc)

Step 2.   Send the power message: “What do you think you’ll do?”

Step 3.   Offer choices: “Would you like to hear what other kids have tried?”

Step 4.   Have the child state the consequences: “What might happen if you…?”

Step 5.   Give the child permission and the responsibility to either solve or not solve the problem: “Good luck sweetheart! Let me know how it goes.”
Following these steps, rather than lecturing, ranting, raving and rescuing will encourage your children to become accomplished problem solvers and good decision-makers. 

Wise parents know they won’t always be around to rescue or advise their kids when they face life altering decisions like whether to comply with their medical requirements or get into a car with drunken friends. So raise a problem solver! 


This material is from the book Parenting Children with Health Issues: Essential Tools, Tips and Tactics for Raising Kids with Chronic Illness, Medical Conditions and Special Healthcare Needs by Foster W. Cline, M.D and Lisa C. Greene. Dr. Cline is a well-known child psychiatrist, author, and co-founder of the popular Love and Logic parenting program (www.loveandlogic.com).

Lisa is the mother of two children with cystic fibrosis and a parent coach. For articles, BlogTalk Live, audio downloads, and answers to your questions, visit www.ParentingChildrenWithHealthIssues.com.  

© 2008 by Foster W. Cline MD and Lisa C. Greene.
Permission to reprint is granted. 

Foster Cline MD and Lisa Greene


Copyright 2006- 2016 by Epic LLC, Foster W. Cline, MD, Lisa C. Greene, MA, CFLE and/or individual authors where specifically indicated. All rights reserved.  For permission to reprint, please contact us via the contact page of this webite or at 2620 Bellevue Way NE  #146, Bellevue, WA  98004.


The information published on this website or in any connected material -- downloads, emails, message boards, books, CDs, DVDs, videos, conferences -- or any other derivative information is the opinion of Epic, LLC only and is not meant to supplant or replace professional medical or mental health care.  Medically-based reasons for behavioral problems should always be considered first.  Persons should seek the advice of a medical professional when making decisions about personal healthcare or treatment. Epic LLC is not responsible for any situation or outcome as a result of the personal use of the information published on this website or connected materials.


Love and Logic is a registered trademark of The Institute for Professional Development, Ltd., Cline/Fay Institute, Inc., The Love and Logic Institute, Inc., and/or The Love and Logic Press, Inc. This website is not associated with or sponsored by The Institute for Professional Development Ltd. and its affiliates except for a publisher/author relationship with The Love and Logic Press.  All materials including graphics, print, audio, video and any other media contained in this website, the book Parenting Children with Health Issues and derivatives are copyrighted by Foster W. Cline MD (co-founder of Love and Logic) and/or Lisa C. Greene unless otherwise noted.


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