Six-step Problem Solving Process

Six Problem-Solving Steps to a Child Assignment Scenario

            There are many options in problem-solving strategies. Deciding on which option to use may be difficult especially when the issue has an ethical dilemma. It requires one to think critically to come up with the most effective option. Similarly, as a parent with a studying child, it would be difficult to decide whether to help him with his assignments or not. The six steps of problem-solving including Identifying the problem, developing options, evaluating those options, and later deciding to implement the most effective option would help. This paper analyzes the six- steps of problem-solving to solve the parent-child problem of helping with a school project. In this case, the problem is deciding on whether to take over the assignment for the child or not.

I am unable to decide because I have different and contradicting knowledge on taking over the assignment for my child. For one, I discover that my child has missed some points in the project and I have some ideas on how I can improve on the project. If I disclose it to the child, I will lower his self-esteem and effort towards the project. Again, the knowledge that I acquired after reading the parenting magazine restricts me from helping the child and that will force me to watch him fail the project. On the other hand, I trace back my mind and remember how my parents took over my school assignments. I also come across another parent purchasing supplies for their child. Now, which information do I rely on? I develop doubts about whether I am being an irresponsible parent or I am helping my child develop critical thinking skills by completing the project independently. Am I being mean on the child or what exactly should I do?


After analyzing the problem, I came up with the following four options.

  1. Engage in clear communication with my child and disclose the missing parts of the project.
  2. Purchase project supplies for my child.
  3. Let the child do the assignment project independently as per my knowledge from the magazine.
  4. Do the whole project secretly and then issue it to my child as a gift as I congratulate him.

To start with the first option of disclosing it to my child, I may either help or ruin my child’s morale but I believe it may help me take over the problem. He is extremely excited about doing the project. The fact that he researches the internet means he trusts that the internet has all the answers he needs. If I decide to be transparent and engage in friendly communication with him, he might see sense in me and correct the missing points. Telling him about it will loosen the doubts I have. First, even him he won’t agree with me, I will have made an effort to help him. A parent needs to encourage their children and intervene where necessary in their assignments (Jellison, 2015). That will give me peace as a parent. Communication experts say that problem solving requires transparent communication because each party will have an opportunity to express their feelings freely (Amarel, 1981).  However, the disadvantage of this step is that I may lower my child’s self-esteem and confidence.

Purchasing the project supplies for him also crossed my mind after seeing another parent doing so. I had promised my son that I would support him in every way possible to see to it that he succeeds. Buying the supplies is also supporting him and if I would do so, he would pass the project. I believe that the project supplies have been formulated by experts in that field and giving them to my son would help him learn things he never knew before. Additionally, buying the papers will send a positive attitude to my child since he will notice that I am concerned about his education and I am ready to support him. The other side of this option is that he will not be able to think critically afterward because of feeding him with ready-made assignments. This may affect his education life negatively.

The third option is leaving the child to do the assignment independently as per the magazine. One advantage of a child doing assignments independently is that it fills them with joy and happiness that cannot come from any other source (Baumeirster, Campbell, Krueger, &Vohs, 2003). Therefore if I let him do the project alone, even if he misses some points, in the end, he will feel proud that that was his effort. I would not want to deprive him of the happiness that comes along with being independent. Besides, if he does it alone, he will learn the mistakes he did when the results are out and next time he will know what to do and not what to. This is because one learns from experience. Thus, letting him do the assignment independently would be a good option to consider. On the other side, it pains when I leave him to submit an incomplete assignment yet I have the ideas to help him.

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Doing the whole project secretly and then issuing it as a gift as I congratulate him would also work. Along with the assignment I would present a congratulatory note telling him that I read his project and I like the way he did it. Also, the note will state that I have gifted him the project and if he wishes he can refer to it while still tackling his.  This will instill self -confidence in him. Psychologists say that a child’s confidence should be shaped while young else that child will spend their teen life struggling with identity issues (Arditti, 2014). Thus, he will be able to correct the mistakes by going through my project. This way, I will be able to solve the problem.

After analyzing the options, I decided to solve the problem with the first option which is to disclose the mistakes through friendly communication. It is way better to expose a problem rather than sealing it because in future, its results might not be appealing.

I will implement the option by informing him that I need to have a talk with him on matters of education. Then we will schedule a convenient time for both of us. After that, I will ask him how he is doing in school in general, ask about the assignments he currently has, and how he is tackling them. In that process, he will mention the project and I will ask to see the progress. I will then congratulate him for the far he will have gone. Then I will narrate a story to him of my days in school. How I had many projects as assignments and how it would be difficult to tackle them alone. Providing real experience enables one to understand that others have too experienced the same situations and have overcome them anyway (Solomon, 2008). In that line, I will be able to disclose the mistakes in the project and later give him ideas on how he can correct that. I will then end the conversation on a congratulatory note.

This decision is the most effective because it will give him room to also open his mind to telling me other issues that might be hindering him in his education. This is because will I start the conversation by allowing him to talk about how he is doing in school. Another reason is that during the conversation, I will observe his unspoken communication such as facial expression, body language, and all that. It will enable me to understand whether I have hurt his feelings or not. If I have, I will develop strategies to amend that. Therefore, having a friendly conversation is the most effective strategy to solve the problem.

The six steps of problem-solving, that is, identifying and analyzing a problem, generating and evaluating options, making a decision, and later implementing the decision will help me solve the problem. Engaging in friendly communication with my child is the most effective option. Any problem should be faced with the most effective method that will benefit each party. By employing the six steps, parents will be able to solve such problems.


Amarel, S. (1981). On representations of problems of reasoning about actions. Readings in Artificial Intelligence, 2-22. DOI:10.1016/b978-0-934613-03-3.50006-4

Arditti, J. A. (2014). Parental incarceration and the family: Psychological and social effects of imprisonment on children, parents, and caregivers. NYU Press.

Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J. I., & Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest4(1), 1-44. DOI:10.1111/1529-1006.01431

Jellison, J. (2015). Including everyone. DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199358762.001.0001

Solomon, R. C. (2008). True to our feelings: What our emotions are telling us. Oxford University Press.