Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A Lesson on Problem Solving

Trent still sees a therapist about once a month to help manage his anxiety {but I think he is about to graduate!!}, and his appointment last week was actually a really great one for me. I'm not always in the room the whole session, but I was and wanted to share what we talked about.

We were talking about problem solving because Trent is reacting badly/making poor choices for a situation in class - he is having to do extra work to prepare for the Standardized Math Test he has coming up in a few weeks, and his therapist talked to us about the 4 ways you can solve a problem.

1. Solve the Problem - First up, sometimes there is a simple solution and you can quickly solve the problem. Example - You take the wrong exit off the highway. Trent's answer was 'Take the next exit and circle back around.' PERFECT! 

We discussed the idea of Trent talking to his teacher about proving he is prepared and doesn't need to do the additional work. I mentioned this to Trent's teacher, and he was open to the idea but wants Trent to bring it up to him...and I'm struggling to get Trent to agree to that, ugh. But still nice that we were able to discuss how to apply this technique to Trent's situation.

2. Change Your Attitude - Sometimes you are able to change your attitude in relation to a less-than-ideal situation. Example - Your parents are taking you to Disneyland when you really wanted to go to Legoland. You can focus on that you are getting to miss school, there are still fun rides at Disneyland, you get to do something fun with your family. 

For Trent, we discussed focusing on that he doesn't have to come early or stay late, he gets to miss regular class time, the worksheets are easy, etc.

3. Acceptance - There can be situations that are out of your control to the point where the only thing you can do is accept your situation. The example his therapist gave cracked me up - she knows Trent REALLY well, so this isn't an example you'd use for just anyone, but Trent thought it was hilarious. Example - You have been falsely convicted of murder and are out of appeals and have a life sentence in prison. There's not really a way to solve this problem, it would be really hard to change your attitude and find the bright side of this situation - your best bet is to just say 'This is my lot in life, I need to make the best of it.' Make friends, work in the library, get a degree, create a life for yourself. 

For Trent's situation, this was pretty similar to change your attitude - I have to do the extra work, it's only for a few more weeks, just deal with it.

4. Stay Miserable - And lastly, do nothing and stay miserable. Obviously this is a choice everyone has, but Trent was able to see that this choice doesn't benefit him haha.

I really thought this was a great lesson, and when I talked about it with my sister, she agreed. She taught for 7 years, has been a mom for 10 years {and has been homeschooling her 3 kids for 5 1/2 years}, and she didn't know this and thought it was a great perspective. I'm excited to use this in the future with him - it is nice to be able to go through each option and relate it to the problem. Yes, I realize I'm a giant nerd! {grin}


Emily said...

I actually laughed aloud at the last “stay miserable” because it’s so true. For the problems that can’t be solved, it’s attitude, acceptance, or being miserable, and so many people choose miserable (I almost said “most children choose miserable” but I think it’s just as prevalent in adults.

Kathryn Bagley said...

Good stuff!