How to raise good problem solving kids

Psychologist Mary Jane Rotheram, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to help their kids become better problem solvers and more resilient in life
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How to raise good problem solving kids

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Good problem solving starts by the age of 4. We can identify, as scientists, good problem solvers by 4 years of age. If your child is in preschool, three words they need to understand: The word "and," the word "or," and the word "if." Those are basic concepts to problem solving. Next, what's a goal? More than one sentence, more than one goal. A goal is always set in terms of, what do I want more of? Not in terms of, stop whining. It's, "Honey, look me in the eyes and talk to me in a loud clear voice." Goals, choices, and evaluating what each of those choices are going to cost you or how they are going to benefit you, identifies what is a good problem solver and what's not a good problem solver. The number one way, if you are a good problem solver, your kids will imitate you and also be good problem solvers.

Psychologist Mary Jane Rotheram, PhD, shares advice for parents on how to help their kids become better problem solvers and more resilient in life

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Mary Jane Rotheram, PhD

Psychologist

Dr. Rotheram-Borus has spent the past 20 years developing, evaluating, and disseminating evidence-based interventions for children and families. She has worked extensively with adolescents, especially those at risk for substance abuse, HIV, homelessness, depression, suicide, and long-term unemployment. Dr. Rotheram-Borus has directed and implemented several landmark intervention studies that have demonstrated the benefits of providing behavior change programs and support to families in risky situations. Several of these programs have received national and international recognition, including designation as model programs by the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Dr. Rotheram-Borus has ongoing projects in Uganda, China, and South Africa, as well as the United States. Dr. Rotheram-Borus has authored or co-authored more than 200 journal articles, including publications in Science, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the American Journal of Public Health. She has received more than 40 grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse to design prevention programs for children and families at high risk for HIV, mental health problems, suicide, and substance abuse. In 2001, Science identified her as number two of the top-funded NIH multi-grant recipients; she was the only woman in the top ten.

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