I encourage the kids to try hard to solve their own problems. I tell them that I'm here to help them, but I would like them to make an effort to handle some things on their own. They've been doing an impressive job this summer of solving many of their own problems, even if I don't necessarily approve of the solutions.
Quite often, though, things happen for which the kids have no body of experience from which to draw in order to formulate a solution. The other day, the power went off at the house. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal. I have, however, two uninterruptible power supplies, one in our living room connected to our entertainment center equipment and one in our bedroom connected to our DSL modem and wireless router. When the power goes out, these UPS units begin to beep every 30 seconds or so. The kids had no idea where the beeping was coming from, or what they could do about it; so they called me. I wasn't interested in explaining to them how to turn off the UPS, so I simply suggested that they go to the pool for a couple of hours. Sometimes avoiding the problem is solution enough.
The power went out again last night, just as Carina and I were preparing to go to sleep. I turned off the UPS in our room, because I wouldn't have been able to sleep with it beeping, but decided that I could ignore the faint beeping coming from downstairs. Carina, after a few minutes, decided she couldn't handle the heat in the room without the air conditioning or ceiling fan working, so she made to go sleep downstairs on the couch. She said to me "That thing is beeping downstairs. I'm going to unplug it."
I paused for a moment, and then said "Yes, do that. Unplugging it from the outlet when there's no electricity coming from that outlet will certainly stop the battery from functioning. Good plan."
Hopefully I can impart upon the twins some slightly better problem solving skills as they grow.