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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 8:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:04 pm
Posts: 720
OK so I might be using this board as therapy now!
I think I'm a classic problem-solver which seems a very sensible way to be (to me!)
It can cause some stress for my dh because if, for example, he is moaning about how much work he has and how he can't cope with it all I tend to reply with "well if you do 4 assessments an hour and 2 hours a night then you'll easily fit it in this week; why don't you make a plan?" or something along those lines but it turns out that he doesn't want help, what he really wants is sympathy. And I'm rubbish at that because when I say "oh poor you" what I'm really thinking is "well if you do 4 assessments an hour....." and thereforeI think the "poor you" doesn't really seem genuine...
For the children, up to now, the problem-solving approach has worked very well and been exactly what they want and need. But as dd is getting older she is becoming more like her father. She doesn't want me to help her solve the problem (and I think it's because neither of them need that help; they can manage perfectly well, they just want support) but she wants me to be sympathetic to her plight. And my approach is becoming annoying to her and has the potential to affect our relationship.
And really I am very rubbish at doing what they want. My entire job is basically solving people's problems for them and coming up with solutions. I never ask for sympathy for myself and I'd hate it - if I want help it's of the practical sort.
So how can I learn to be better? Are there any tricks that other people use? Any particular turns of phrase? Any way of helping me to get my head into their space?


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 8:50 am 
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First of all big up for you for recognising this and admitting it to yourself, that gets fab parent/wife vote in my book for a start! I have the same tendency myself, so it takes one to know one so I know where you are coming from. Sometimes I find it frustrating and highly stressful to be 'mindful' of my own problems as I need to feel better for 'having a plan', just like you mention, so I find it difficult to understand that others don't necessarily want to go straight to a plan themselves.
I am working on (note 'working on') trying to at least acknowledge the feeling before marching onto suggestions. Even for myself. So, even if it sounds a bit false, maybe when your daughter/husband comes in looking glum and having a good old moan, the very first thing you say is "you seem really stressed, that must be horrible, shall I put the kettle on?" - I know it sounds false to us problem solvers, but its called validation and its an important thing to do. I know this because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and just recently my much loved mum was doing exactly the same to me - offering to pay for this that or the other for me, but now I see your post I begin to feel that what annoys me is not the 'throw some money at it' solution, which I thought it was, but actually the leap to a solution without just saying "that sounds S***, poor you".

Personally for us problem solvers, I think its ok to at some stage later to say "would you like my help in formulating a plan/finding a solution/talking it through" and so on, as having a sounding board and ideas can certainly be useful, but others may disagree. And only offer solutions with permission (should that be our new mantra??).

So in conclusion, if you want a suggestion (ha, there, did it!!!) - it would be to, however false it sounds to you, genuinely reflect the feeling as your first stop and then know you can ASK if they want help later on.

Easier said than done I know..............


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
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It took me till DD was 18 to realise this, Loobylou. You are so far ahead of the game. And I still manage to irritate her with suggestions - even yesterday a situation arose here and I could feel it going wrong. So I am not a great one to give advice - all I can say is if you manage it, then well done. It does tend to defuse potentially volatile situations a lot more quickly but it isn't easy.

'Have you got any ideas on how to handle it?' is a start, but risks 'well I wouldn't be asking if I had!'. Recognising their pain - 'Yes I can see this is difficult, and I understand how you feel' (risks obvious - 'no you don't!'); also acknowledging that maybe there isn't a perfect solution - 'Hmm, yes this is tricky but if you do x then y won't get done and if you try to do them both then maybe they don't get done so well. Which is the least bad option do you think?' Or if the disaster has already occurred, (but make sure their temper has calmed down first!) - 'how could you have done things differently/how can you do things differently next time to make sure it doesn't happen again?'

It is all good practice for being an adult and I think worth it in the end (probably) when they show they can take really mature decisions having weighed up the pros and cons. But I do end up becoming negative/defensive on occasions - 'well why did you ask me if you're only going to sneer at every single suggestion I make?' - but can't always see a better answer!

Sorry, not much use I guess.


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:28 am 
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 9:26 pm
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Oh what a good thread, I think I could learn a lot by taking on board your suggestions. Thank you!


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 4:04 pm
Posts: 720
Thanks everyone.
Yamin151 I should have thought of the reflecting bit - I think I do do that at work (but I think I run out of empathy by the time I get home too, which adds to the issue) - that's very helpful thank you. And asking permission is an excellent idea! I shall start trying that straight away....
Amber I'm going to take that "not always a perfect solution" phrase on board too!
Thank you again!


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:39 am 
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All very helpful for me too :)


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 10:11 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
Am just realising this describes me.
:shock:


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 10:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:23 pm
Posts: 83
Me too. Is this board populated solely with problem-solving parents?! :lol: We have even more in common than we thought...


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 11:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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It's probably why we are here in the first place :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
Tinkers wrote:
Am just realising this describes me.
:shock:


:oops: :oops: me too


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