How to improve problem solving skills in teens

mother and daughter having tea

Problem solving is a big part of adult life. But if a teenager is used to their parents making decisions for them, then approaching problems can be seriously daunting and they may not know where to start. The good news is that problem solving is a skill that can be learnt. As a parent, you are in the best position to help your child develop these skills and learn how to tackle problems head-on, as well as knowing when they should get support from others.

This can help if you:

  • find your child struggles to find solutions to even simple problems or seems overwhelmed by the options available to them

  • notice that your child is avoiding making decisions altogether

  • want to build your child’s confidence and ability to make good decisions and solve problems.

What does problem solving involve?

In the years between being a child and being a teenager, young people learn many skills required for adulthood. This is the time when they need to start working things out for themselves. They don’t always get it right but that’s all part of the learning process, and you can help point them in the right direction. Problem solving is an important skill for everyone, and is all about how your child approaches a problem. The problem may be small or large, ranging from how to get home from the library to how to get out of a situation they are not comfortable in, such as a party with drinking.

Why do teenagers need problem solving skills?

Problem solving skills are essential to be able to navigate the complex teenage years, and will be needed throughout life. We all have to solve problems every day, in work and social situations. By developing problem solving skills your child will be empowered to:

  • sort out conflict

  • be independent

  • achieve challenging goals

  • make decisions on their own.

Helping your child develop these skills should make you and your child feel more comfortable and confident about situations and circumstances that may arise.

The ability to problem solve can stop small issues from escalating into big ones, and can therefore have an important impact on your child’s mental health and wellbeing. As a parent, enabling your child to solve their own problems will provide them with skills useful in every area of their life.

If you would like more tips on how to help your child with problem solving see tips to help your teenager solve problems.