I have a nine year old son who's always coming home with an assortment of problems. In school, at home, at the playground, on his soccer team - wherever - he's just a problem-prone kid. He's the one who will spill the milk, spoil the game, and if nothing else, will manage to find something to complain about. Sometimes, I just cannot deal with the constant chaos that surrounds him. Do you have any advice for me?


The fact is, we can't always influence how things turn out. A person, even a parent, can only be held responsible for what is under his or her control. But one thing that is certainly in every parent's power to control is attitude. Much of our world, and our experience in it, is a direct result of the attitude we choose.

The belief that "I can" is an attitude. It's a choice we make. Once inserted, the input of this message on our brain harnesses our energies and abilities to achieve the desired and inspired outcome. Whether you achieve it all, or just some of it, you will accomplish more than if your message to yourself was "I can't."

Here are some more winning attitudes that can help you deal with your son's complaints. These attitudes can not only transform your life, but will trickle down to you son who will learn from your example.

1. Conflicts or problems are inevitable – they are bound to happen. All of us make mistakes in our actions, judgments and conclusions. When we see problems as a normal aspect of human experience, as occurrences simply to be expected, we avoid the element of surprise that throws us off kilter. This enables us to address these occurrences from a logical standpoint rather than from an emotional one.

2. Problems are okay! Creative people don't see obstacles as unacceptable parts of life, but as natural and normal. Many fantastic ideas were born from people experiencing a challenge. Problems are an integral part of life. If we are prepared for them, they will not disturb us as much or throw us off balance. No challenge is too big to overcome and every problem can be solved, with G‑d's help. King Solomon writes, "The heart knows the bitterness of the soul and no stranger shares its joy" (Proverbs 14:10). The soul understands the bitterness of difficulty, and celebrates the joy and sweetness when challenges are overcome.

3. Separate between who you inherently are and what you do. One of the basic tenets of Judaism is that the soul is inherently pure. When a person is aware that one's goodness is immutable, it prevents despair and helps him calm down more easily.

4. Problem solving is a process. Like anything worthwhile, finding the right solution often takes time. And a short path may turn out to be the longer route whilst the longer route may, in fact, lead you along the shorter path. The need to eliminate a problem immediately creates a lot of undue tension. Realizing that a problem isn't going to disappear quickly is an important step in minimizing frustration.

5. Approach problems technically, not emotionally. An emotional reaction might be, "Look at what you did! You spilled all that milk on the counter!" Remaining technical allows for a cool response such as, "Look at all that milk, let's grab a rag to wipe it down."

6. Along the same lines, before reacting, take a moment to ask yourself: is this a tragedy or a triviality? A simple shift of perspective can go a long way in helping you calm down.

7. All beginnings are difficult.

8. Take pleasure from small changes. No personal triumph is too trivial to be disregarded. Small stones have built many a lofty edifice. As Bachya ibn Pekuda wrote in Duties of the Heart: Think of your smallest victory over the evil inclination as a major achievement so that this small victory may serve you like a stepping-stone toward greater triumphs (Chovot HaLevavot; Shaar Yichud HaMa'aseh).

9. Cultivate gratitude and record your bursts of gratitude in a gratitude journal. It's a simple and effective way to increase your overall emotional wellbeing. That treasure may be found in the resplendent color of a butterfly, in a poignant thought, and in the melodious laughter of a child. It can be found in a smiling countenance, a listening ear, and in another person's delightful company. Awareness and appreciation of every infinitesimal gift or gesture will greatly enhance the tapestry of our lives.

10. Keep your sense of humor as you cope with life's challenges.

These positive attitudes lead to positive, constructive and creative thinking. Aside for keeping us motivated and inspired, it helps us expect, and achieve success. You will radiate joy and serenity and hopefully it'll be very contagious!