How can we best help our children when they have problems?

Bernie Siegel, retired pediatric surgeon, author, and lecturer gives us some advice about how to best help our children when they are struggling with problems.

Bernie says, “My kids would tell me that they had a problem. I’d say, ‘Well, sit right down and tell me about it.’  Then I would proceed to share some of my problem-solving wisdom with them.  After all I had several degrees and was a doctor, lecturer and author.  However, after a few minutes they would jump up and say, ‘Oh Dad you’re no help. You don’t understand.’

Later in my life, my patients taught me the importance of listening to their pain.  So now when one of my kids has a problem, I am quiet and I listen and ask a few questions to help them clarify.  Again after a while they jump up, but this time they come give me a hug and thank me for helping them so much? All I did was be there. Listen. And ask a few questions so that he or she could clarify his or her story.”

Try giving someone this week the wonderful gift of just listening–listen to his or her story, and leave your advice on the shelf.

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”   –Henri Nouwen

To download a free e-book on simple ways to care for the people in your life go to our post  titled 122+ Ways to Care Well.

Photo credit: Christiana Care (

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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