Problem Solving in Relationships

Whenever there is a problem in a relationship, there are a few key methods of problem solving.
Firstly, empathize! Saying statements like, “I’ve noticed that … (neutral, don’t blame or assume, stick to the facts.)
Focus on the problem, not the challenging behavior!
Gather information: ask questions, take guesses, reflect what you hear, provide reassurance.
Don’t rush! Move on only when you know the person’s concern or perspective.
Use sentence starters if needed:
– It bothers me when …
– I have a hard time with …
– I don’t like when …’
– I’m worried that …
– It’s hard for me because I need to …
– It’s hard for me because I want to …
Secondly, share your concern. What are your concerns? Health, safety, learning, impact on others? Be specific and write them down and share.
Thirdly, brainstorm.
Frame the problem: “I wonder if there’s a way that …” Repeat their concern and your concern.
Give the person the first crack at it. “Do you have any ideas?” Provide help if needed.
Any idea is a good idea. Litmus test: Does it work for you? Does it work for me? Is it doable? Does it bring up other concerns?
Try the solution and make a plan to come back to talk about how it is working and revisit it if the problem is still not solved.

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