Concerns vs. Solutions


When the two of you have different ideas about how to parent, one of the most helpful things to do is to step back and re-focus on each of your concerns around parenting instead of fixating on solutions. Doing so will enable you to get the Collaborative Decision Making process rolling along.

Following is a list of some common parenting solutions and a list of some concerns underlying these solutions. Match each solution to its underlying concern.


  • A. I want to set a 10:00pm curfew.
  • B. I want to give Max a cell phone.
  • C. I think Aliyah needs a time-out if she pulls her brother's hair again.
  • D. We need to finish bedtimes by 8:00 even if the kids aren’t done with their homework.
  • E. I think we need to hire a nanny instead of using a daycare center.


The beauty of sharing concerns is that there are many ways to address them. Put on your creative thinking cap and see if you can come up with a different potential solution for each of the above concerns.

See our answers:

* We could ask Max to ride the same route each day and then if he’s not home on time I could trace his steps in the car.

* We could focus on fostering positive things between the kids. Maybe I could find some special “big sister” things for Aliyah to share with her brother and give her lots of praise when she’s kind to him.

* We could sit at the table and have “adults only” tea time in the dining room for 30 minutes after dinner each night.

* I’d like to talk with Alex about his friends and drug use so I know more about what’s going on. I wonder if he has some ideas about how he can have a social life and also stay away from drugs if other kids are doing them.

* I could see if I could find someone taking night-school classes who could be a “sick-nanny” on call for the days when Brittany can’t go to school because she had a fever the day before.

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