Friday, November 02, 2007

Don't Whine, Solve The Problem

See the cup that holds my kids' toothbrushes? See the water in the cup? Well, I asked my son why the cup was filled with water (thinking it was another of his playful acts) and this was his answer:

"So the ants can't get to my toothbrush."

So clever. Don't need mommy to teach you. Fantastic thinking. That's called using your head. (And whatever other praises I can think of).

I've always tried to drill into my children's head that complaining, crying and whining about a problem does not do us any good. More important is to find a solution.

I admit that I am quite a lazy mother. I don't like to do everything for my children. My reaction to their problems is usually "figure it out yourself first." If they can' t figure it out, I will suggest a solution. If they still can't solve it, then only I step in.

For example:
My son needs to turn on the bathroom light but he is too short to reach the switch. Mommy and jie-jie are fed up of playing errand girls. So KokoD has figure out his problem. He climbs up his stack of little chairs but still cannot reach. Mommy says use a ruler or stick or something. He gets a ruler and whala, the light is turned on. Problem solved!

Even when my children bombard me with 101 curiosity questions, my first answer is "what do you think is the answer?" Sometimes they don't like my answer but it gets the message through that I want them to think about it first. Usually, their answers are more imaginative than mine. It may not be correct, but that doesn't matter. Eventually we get to the correct answers. In the meantime, I let their brain do some exercise first.

Cultivating problem solving skills are crucial to a child's education. If we want our children to be independant, I believe this is the key. Plus, when children see they can overcome problems on their own, their confidence increases.

Mamas Bag Of Tricks:
  • Don't be too quick to jump in and fix things for your children. Tell them to think about it first and give you a solution.
  • Tell your children that you have confidence in their abilities.
  • Work through problems together, whether it be yours or theirs. Show that you value their input. You could say "what do you think we should do?"


  1. agreed no more! perhaps this is also one fo lazy mum excuses like us... kakaka! It's actually makes the little one think, I also don't mind what idea they will comes out even it's goin to mess/dirty the place... it's a learning path.

  2. You made a great teaching them to think, they will not just simply ask question before thinking...

  3. I totally agreed.. like the old cliche "teach them how to fish and they'll feed for a lifetime"

  4. a&a'smom02 November, 2007 23:21

    Thanks for this gr8 advice!!

  5. Lian, I think you are a really smart mother! I really enjoy reading your "Mamas Bag Of Tricks" posts

  6. Good tip. Giving our children the trust that they can do it can help them gain confidence and feel good about themselves. It's really a good way to train our children to be more independent, isn't it?

  7. Lian, i notice the end of the toothbrush will become black after rendam inside the water, hehe

  8. Peridot@sapphire:
    Learning is a pretty messy/dirty path huh? Sigh! Very unfortunate for us. Hehehe.

    Actually, they will still simply ask. Heheh. But now they know mommy won't simply answer.


    a@a's mom:
    I'm sure you have many in your bag as well. When you gonna start blogging?

    Aiyoh, my cheeks blushing already. Thank you for the compliment and the support.

    Yeah. If parents don't trust their children to do things, then the children grow up learning not to trust their abilities too.

    Mummy to qiqi:
    Thanks for the warning. I'll leave that for my children to find out. Hahah.

  9. I agree that that it's important not to do for our little ones that which they can do for themselves. If we do, we're really not helping.

    Some nice points, thanks for sharing (smile)!

  10. I totally agree. Cognitive skills are very important, and the best way to get those wheels turning is to leave them (sometimes) to their own defenses. If they really want said problem or issue fixed, they will figure out a way.
    Nice job to your son on the water in the cup. I might have to suggest this to my son (who is 12) and been complaining about the ants for sometime. He has resorted to washing them off better and rinsing the sink completely, but the little buggers still seem to find their way to his brush. This time around I think I will give him the suggestion. He would never think of this one himself, in fact, I wouldn't have thought of this one!
    much respect~d

  11. yeah i agree with cultivating problem solving skills too .... great for the kids development. :)
    so clever of damus *clap clap*

  12. TNP:
    You are right. You may think that it's your job as a parent to cater to their every need but overdoing it does not help them learn and grow.

    kitterman's khaos:
    I wouldn't have thought about it either. That's why I was impressed.

    Thank you aunty twin for the applause.


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