As parents, you know that problems are continuously popping up like a whack-a-mole game at Chuck E. Cheese.
There are multiple answers to any problem and many ways to find an answer. Approach challenges with a “creative mindset,” and you’ll find better solutions in less time without conflict.
And here’s a whack-a-mole BONUS—modeling a creative approach for your kids helps them learn that they can also handle challenges creatively so they’ll be more resilient.
Here are three simple steps to creative problem solving:
Step 1: Define the Challenge
Together, take a moment to state the challenge or problem you are facing.
“We both booked the same weekend for a beach vacation with the kids.”
Step 2: Convert the Challenge to a Question
Easy to do and effective! Answer a question that seeks solutions rather than focusing on the problem.
“What could be some potential solutions to us both having booked the same weekend for a beach vacay with the kids?”
Step 3: Brainstorm Possible Solutions Without Judgment
Welcome all ideas without judgment. If you both allow all ideas on the table—even wild ones—without negativity, you will create an environment to agree upon the best solution.
We can keep both bookings and split kid-time. This way, each of us also gets some kid-free downtime at the beach.
We can move our bookings back-to-back to give the kids a longer vacation.
We can overlap our bookings on one day so the kids can spend time with both of us together.
We can each take one of the kids for a special bonding trip without a sibling.
We can share the rebooking fee and move one of the trips to a different date so we both get a full weekend beach vacation with the kids.
Step 4: Make an Agreement
Now supercharge the momentum you’ve created by considering your options with your “rosiest colored” glasses on—looking at possible solutions without calling out what you don’t like or won’t work. Ignore things that aren’t helpful and avoid negative words like “no,” “but,” and “shouldn’t,” which stunt the creative process and cause conflict.
Focus on what you like about options and what could work. Use positive words like “yes” and “can.” Yes, it’s challenging. And yet our biggest challenges offer us the most valuable opportunities. Nailing this step is the game-changer for creative problem-solving!
Why not turn a potentially stressful challenge into a ‘game’? Share this article with your co-parent and choose to turn parenting whack-a-mole disaster into a creative problem-solving party.
Courageous Co-Parenting is Raising Arizona Kids’s column for separating or divorced parents to learn conflict resolution skills, strategies, and attitudes for healthy co-parenting. These concepts apply to all parents. Please feel free to share the column with your co-parent.
Michael Aurit, JD, MDR, is the Co-Founder of The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation in Scottsdale, Arizona, and an Adjunct Professor at The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law and Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law. Michael is married to Karen Aurit, and they live in Phoenix with their two daughters. To learn more, visit auritmediation.com