Everyone one of us will encounter troubles in our lives. The ability to find resolution and allow the difficulties in our lives to strengthen us is a learned gift that takes problem solving.
Brittany, age 8, came home from school one day, scratching the back of her head.
“It really itches,” she said.
“She may have lice,” said Barbara, age 10. “Some of the other kids at school have it.”
“Oh, no!” Mom parted the hair on the back of Brittany’s head. “I can see little bugs. You’ve got lice.”
“What does that mean?” Brittany slumped in a kitchen chair.
Mother washed her hands. “I think we’ll need to get rid of all your stuffed animals. The pesky little bugs live in pillows and the like.”
“No,” said Brittany. “Not my stuffed animals.”
“Yes, all your animals must go,” said Mom.
“We really don’t know anything about lice for sure,” said Barbara.
“Yeah. We don’t know anything, so let’s check the internet.” Brittany hugged her sister.
“Don’t touch me,” said Barbara. “I don’t want those pesky things.”
Brittany did a google search for lice and found that all her sheets and towels and clothes needed to be washed in hot water. The carpets and furniture should be vacuumed. “Look,” she said to Barbara, “stuffed animals can be dry cleaned or put in an airtight bag for two weeks.”
“Let’s tell Mom,” said Barbara.
“Now, wait a minute,” said Mom. “You can’t trust everything you find on the internet.”
“But this is written by a doctor,” said Brittany.
“I don’t know,” said Mom.
Dad walked in the door from work. “Having a pow-wow?”
“As a matter of fact . . .” Mom’s voice trailed off.
“I’m calling a family council,” said Brittany.
“Right now?” asked Dad. “I haven’t even taken off my shoes yet.”
“Take them off,” said Barbara. “Brittany needs a meeting.”
The girls and Mom explained the situation to Dad.
“I just can’t give up my stuffed animals,” said Brittany. “I’ve had some of them since I was a baby.”
Dad looked at Mom. “What can we do here?”
“If you don’t believe the internet, check with Dr. Smith,” Brittany pleaded.
Mom called and the girls waited. “Dr. Smith agrees with the internet article,” said Mom.
After two weeks in an airtight bag, Brittany’s animal family was bug-free. Her solution-focused mentality saved her stuffed pets, but more importantly:
1. Both sisters worked together to solve the problem.
2. Brittany had enough confidence in herself to state her case.
3. She followed through with a solution.
4. When one solution didn’t work, she found another that her parents could live with.
Because this family held regular family councils, communication was open. The children felt confident enough to share their feelings and find solutions because parents had:
1. Listened to the children's thoughts.
2. Problem solved as a family so that the children knew how to find solutions.
3. Allowed the children to set their own goals and meet them.
4. Given the children confidence in their own ideas.
Learn how to establish your own family councils, set goals, and open the communication with your children. Read more stories like this one in Family Talk by Christy Monson, available in paperback and e readers June 1, 2014.