The problem of Solving Problems From Fear

The Police showed up at my door tonight.

Apparently, a call was placed to 911 from my home. Whomever called from my house hung-up immediately. As per the protocol, the 911 operator called our home back. No one answered, so they sent the police to investigate.

The police came and explained to my baffled husband and I why they were there. I walked downstairs to where my children were playing and asked, “did someone call 911?” “NO,” they all said.

I took a deep breath, and explained that there were two police officers at the front door wanting to make sure everything in our home as ok because someone had called 911. I also let them know that no one was going to get into trouble, we just simply needed to know who had called so they could fill out their report. “No” they all said again.

I had all of the children come upstairs to visit with the police officers. We questioned the kids again. They all said they hadn’t done it.

“You have got to be kidding me!” One of my children is going to lie to the police!!” I thought.

And lie they did. I was disappointed, angry and frustrated that any of my children would think it was to lie their parents, and the police.

After the police left, we did a little sleuthing and figured out who it was. They still lied about it. They were not going to tell the truth about this. No matter what.

 “What have I don’t wrong? I hate liars! Why don’t they tell the truth?” I asked my husband tonight in frustration.

He pointed out that it would have been scary to tell the truth with all your siblings standing there, and two police officers looking at you, if you were 7 years old.

In that moment I remembered that sometimes children are terrible problem solvers (adults too).”

When something goes wrong, or we are sure that something will go wrong, our brain goes to work to solve the problem. What a great system it is, until it isn’t. Sometimes our brains are run by fear, irrational as it may be at times. For instance, even with everyone telling a lying child they are not going to get into trouble if they tell the truth, they think they will, and so, to avoid the pain of punishment and the pain of disappointing their parents, they problem solve poorly with lying.

Adults do this to. We problem solve for our discomfort and for the discomfort we think we could cause someone else poorly when we lie, avoid, procrastinate, ignore, react and blame.

When we problem solve from fear, although it seems to fix an immediate problem, it in reality creates more problems for us. Fear is a not a good problem-solving emotion. As adults we have the capacity to recognize fear and problem solve from a higher place. It may be daunting to set your fear aside to do this, but I promise the results in your life will be exponentially better when you do.


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