How to Give Your Kid the Problem

by Queenie on March 4, 2010

Image of QueenieYou’re mad.

I mean you are livid.

Your kid keeps losing his clothes, and you’re down right tired of it.

How can your kid, your special little love of your life, lose the jacket you just bought him last week? Does he think that your money grows on trees? You’re so sick of your kid losing things that’s it’s about to give you a nervous break down!

So you did it, you did what every other parent does. You gave your kid the SPEECH, and to your kid it sounded like,




as you are talking.

Here is the deal. You want your child to understand the importance of the jacket and the truth of the matter is …


he’s seven.

He can’t possible see the importance of the jacket.

I see this all time, a parent just like you, getting mad over the shirt, the jacket, the toys, or whatever it may be. Trust me, I get it, I completely understand, that you want him to be more responsible. But you think that if you keep talking, then he will get it too. However, people not just kids, do not learn like that.

Here is a truth, just because its important to you, doesn’t mean that its important to your child. Your child must experience what you are talking about. You have to make it come alive for them and give it some ‘real meaning.’

Here is what you do. If your child keeps loosing their clothes, well then they only have two outfits to choose from in the morning, and I’m sure they will get tired of choosing from those two outfits. Or maybe its the toys that keep being left out. Well then, they can only play with the ones that are put away.

At some point playing with the same bionicle won’t be fun.

I could go on but the goal is to give your child the problem. Until they notice it as a problem and wake up and say, “Mom, I only have one bionicle to play with!” Then, and only then, will be the moment when your twelve earlier conversations about putting toys or clothes away seem relevant. And the change will begin.

Queenie Lindsey is an academic coach and educational consultant. She is the founder of Tandem Teaching and Distinguished Learning Group, an academic coaching firm. Follow her on Twitter.


Brooke March 17, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Such a great solution!

Mark March 22, 2010 at 6:33 am

I love how you propose the child experience natural consequences to help solve this problem. It makes SO much sense.