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NIDA. (2019, October 23). Family Checkup. Retrieved from

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Negotiating Solutions offers parents a way to work together to solve problems, make changes, promote and improve cooperation, and teach youth how to:

The Steps to Problem Solving:

Father and son talking outsidePhoto by
  • Focus on solutions rather than problems.
  • Think through possible outcomes of behavior.
  • Develop communication skills.

Set Up For Success

When: Select an unemotional or regularly scheduled time (not in the middle of a problem).

Where: Choose a neutral place with few distractions.


  • Choose problems that are small and specific.
  • State the problem neutrally.
  • Recognize the other person’s positive behavior.
  • Accept part of the responsibility for the problem.
  • Restate what you hear, show understanding, and stop if you get too upset.

The Steps to Problem Solving:

Problem-Solving Traps

  • Don’t try to solve hot issues.
  • Don’t blame the other person or put the other person down.
  • Don’t make assumptions about another person’s intentions.
  • Don’t defend yourself—try to let it go.
  • Don’t bring up the past—avoid using words such as “always” and “never.”
  • Don’t lecture—a simple statement will get your point across better.

Brainstorm – Open your mind to all ideas:

  • Try to come up with three ideas each.
  • Any idea is good—even ones that seem silly.
  • Take turns coming up with ideas.

Evaluate Your List of Ideas 

  • Go through and list the positives and negatives of each idea.

Choose a Solution

  • Combine ideas if needed.
  • All of you should agree on the chosen solution.

​Follow Up

Check in with each other after you have tried your solution a couple of times to see how it is working. If it isn’t working, go back to your list of ideas. If necessary, start over with some more brainstorming.