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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Raising Independent Thinking Children - Tips and Suggestions

By Andrew Loh

Independent thinking skills may not come naturally to us. In fact, it is a habit and practice to think in an independent manner. In a conservative society, thinking in that manner might be a big taboo as we are accustomed to follow a certain set of rules those are traditional in view. The school and classroom are examples of such a line of thinking. The classroom may not be a place for practicing in an independent manner. However, thinking independently could help your children become intellectual and intelligent. In fact, this special skill will help them perform in an open world where they will need to beat the stiff competition to survive and thrive.

Teaching your children how to think in an independent manner is not too easy, as you will be trying to change the basic mindset and streamline the way of in which they think and act. To enable independent and critical thinking, you will need to introduce a new set of paradigms and standards in the life of your children. Here are some of them:

What your children see and hear is very critical. What they see and hear could be entirely different with what they actually feel inside their heart and mind. This apparent disconnect between perception and realties could be a big impediment in the process.

Your children will need to analyze why the basic assumptions, beliefs and values could be out of tune and irrational. The most important thing is to retain all those rational beliefs in tact while rejecting those that are unreal and apparent.

Developing strong convictions for believing in self, in your abilities and capacities. Developing a motivation to think in an independent manner will help your children reach the goal in quick time. Everything is possible when children think in a positive manner.

Here are some tips and suggestions to train your children in the art of independent thinking:

Encourage children to ask critical questions: As a parent, never ever, try to give answers to your children's questions. When you give answers to every question asked by children, you will be curtailing their abilities to think in an independent manner. Instead, encourage your children to provide answers to your questions. When you ask probing questions, you will be encouraging your children answer those questions with skills and intelligence.

Never ever, criticize without any solid reasons: Criticism is very dangerous especially when it is unfair. Your children are just like you. They commit mistakes like you. When they commit any mistakes, ask why they committed those mistakes. There is always a scope for improvements. Suggest improvements and provide how they can improvise. If you keep criticizing your children, you will be hurting their self-esteem.

Respect your children's opinions and suggestions: Every child in an individual. Your children will have their opinions and expressions. Learn how to respect them.

Learning how to create questions for a set of ready answers: One of the most important tool that can help independent thinking is devising questions for a set of answers. This activity makes your children think, probe and expand on certain ideas. Critical and independent thinking will occur when your children know how to ask questions. Questions will also invoke a sense of curiosity in your children:

"Here is the answer! Ask me your question!" excise - Provide an answer to your children and ask them to create the most appropriate questions to those answers.

  1. Blue and green/mixing/what color - What is the question?
    (The question will be “What color will you get when you mix blue and green?”)

  2. Princess/ugly frog/you are so dirty - What is the question?
    (The question will be “What did the Princess tell the frog?”)

This exercise will teach your children how to think and answer questions. It will also teach the art of creativity and imagination.

When your children learn how to review and analyze a given situation, they will also be honing their exploratory skills. These skills will also help them develop a probing and decisive mind.

Independent thinking is also about how to be self-reliant and self-dependent. Your children should develop a mind that is capable taking its own decisions based on the needs of any given situation. Children should learn how to live a life without relying too much on others' opinions and ideas. This life skill becomes very important for achieving success in life.

Learning this important skill will help your children do their own work, perform given tasks without seeking help from others and become self-reliant in every aspect of life. In essence, independent thinking acts a supporting tool to lead a life that is free of hassles and worries.

Featured Resource

Teach Your Child How to Think
By Edward de Bono, Ph.D

Some parents may be confused by this busy primer, while others will agree with the author's premise that creative thinking skills can be directly taught. De Bono, a business and educational consultant, asserts that this manual is equally applicable to teaching children or senior executives. Crammed with exercises, games and diagrams, the book stresses that thinking involves "operacy"--the skills of doing or making things happen--as well as devising mental patterns more effective than the mind's routine habits.

Dr. De Bono takes a no-nonsense approach, pointing out that much thinking is inefficient and that many highly intelligent people are not good thinkers. He urges the use of speculation, hypotheses, provocation and other techniques as a way to get out of mental ruts and generate ideas.


Featured Resource


Child Development

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