Problem Ownership has to do with determining whose issue it is.  An issue can be a debate, controversy, unsettled matter that is ready for a decision or anything on oneís mind.  Problem Ownership determines who has primary responsibility for dealing with the issue.  This helps us to understand our place in the issue.  Knowing who owns the problem will help us know what our purpose is as a parent so we can Parent on Purpose.

To determine problem ownership, you have to think about who owns the problem, not who created the problem.  For example, if you are robbed, the robbery is a problem to you, but it is a solution to the robberís financial problems.  So who owns the problem is not the one who created the problem, but the one who has to deal with the problem.  In this case it's the person who got robbed.

Sometimes it is not easy to determine who owns the problem.  The same behavior may be parentís problem, or it may be a relationship problem.  It can depend on the attitudes and emotion behind the behavior.  A teen who breaks curfew out of normal teenage behavior is different than a teenager who comes home late as a means of irritating parents and feels good about upsetting you.

There are different parenting purposes, depending on who owns the problem.  It's important to understand who owns the problem in order to know what our purpose is.  Then we can Parent on Purpose.  When Parent Owns the Problem, our purpose is to set limits and teach cause and effect principles in life.  These principles often follow the general principle of privileges following responsible behavior.  When Child Owns the Problem, our purpose is provide support and to equip our Child/Teen to be able to handle the issue.  Our purpose when Relationship Owns the Problem is to resolve the issue together and teach conflict resolution shills by modeling them.  When Values Owns the Problem, our purpose is to pass on values that are important to us and that will help our Child/Teen live a productive life. 

We will now look at 4 options of problem ownership as it deals with parenting.  In each problem category, we will use the analogy of a traffic light system to help us understand our role in problem ownership.





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