Problem Solving
Emotions, a lack of confidence, and indecisiveness are some of the most common barriers to solving problems with your partner or other family members. But solutions exist; finding them takes persistence, creativity and teamwork.

By: Family - Family - 11/15/2018

Put problem-solving skills high on your family to-do list. Emotions, a lack of confidence, and indecisiveness are some of the most common barriers to solving problems with your partner or other family members. And when intense emotions are involved, the problem itself can even fall by the wayside. In fact, when you get worked up to a certain point, you stop being able to think clearly, handicapping your ability to work through a problem. Your brain is flooded. The discussion becomes more about feelings than about working towards a solution.

A lack of confidence also might impede your ability to problem solve. This might be lack of confidence in yourself, your relationship, or the belief that the other person wants to find a solution.

Perhaps you haven't yet thought through the outcome you're hoping for, so you don't know where to begin. Problem solving is a challenge when you're indecisive about the subject at hand and uncertain about what a satisfying conclusion might entail.

Whatever the reason for not solving a problem, unresolved issues can add up and seriously damage any relationship. So it's important to address problems as they arise. In order to solve problems and make decisions well, first clearly identify both the problem and the possible solutions, however outlandish they might seem. Try this process:

  1. Specifically state the issue and why it's important.

  2. List and brainstorm a variety of possible solutions.

  3. Decide on a realistic solution that you both can live with.

  4. Pick a specific amount of time to try the solution.

  5. Evaluate how well the solution you tried worked, and tweak it as necessary.

If one solution doesn't work, pick another one and follow steps 3–5 until you've solved the issue, managed it well, or made a decision.

Remember: When you pick a solution to try, it doesn't have to be perfect. It's more important to move forward by picking something you can work on together.

Using this step-by-step process can help you resolve new—and old—problems. If emotions, indecisiveness, or lack of confidence get in the way, take a break to regroup and then get back to it. Solutions exist. Finding them takes part persistence, part creativity, and lots of teamwork.

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