As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your child succeed in life. One important skill that will help your child is critical thinking. Critical thinking involves using reason and logic to solve problems and make decisions that support your child’s inner voice. It’s a skill that can be used in any area of life, from schoolwork to relationships with others.
Here are some tips on how you can help your kids develop critical thinking skills to prevent internalizing negative comments from friends, a parent who gaslights and makes false statements, or when facing life challenges.
1. What Is Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally while understanding the logic between one or more ideas. It allows an individual to engage in a conversation in a reflective and independent manner where they draw their own conclusions for themselves.
It is healthy during a child’s prime developmental years to be able to make life choices while honoring their inner truth. The ability to think critically allows them to question assumptions, false accusations, and fabrications, evaluate evidence, and identify bias or error.
Critical thinking skills are also great for making informed decisions about building trust with others, school, health, and other aspects of life. Ultimately, critical thinking helps children grow and develop their own belief systems and is a key component of lifelong learning.
2. How To Help Them Think, Rather Than Assume
Asking discovery questions is a great way to help children think, rather than assume or internalize what a friend said or coparent said to them. When we ask discovery questions, we are encouraging children to think about what was said to them rather than simply assume the statement to be true.
Discovery questions are open-ended questions used to gain insight into another person's perspective and understand where they are coming from rather than assume.
For example, if your coparent tells them a lie and the child confesses to you that it doesn’t make sense or seem to be true, then you would resort to discovery questions to help the child assess the facts, gain insight, and draw their own conclusions.
We don’t want to make statements such as, “Your mom/dad lies a lot” or ignore that child’s frustrations altogether, as this doesn’t help the child process their emotions around the situation. Asking discovery questions is a great way to help children develop critical thinking skills and learn to adopt a growth mindset and realize other people’s thoughts or opinions may have nothing to do with them.
Examples of Discovery Questions:
How come you think your mom/dad is telling you that?
Can you share with me what is bothering you?
How does it make you feel?
What is your perspective of what happened?
What do you believe to be true?
What supports your views?
What would make you feel better right now?
3. The Benefits Of Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a process of discovery, questioning and challenging assumptions. It involves thinking deeply about an issue or problem in order to understand all sides of the argument. Discovery questions are a key part of critical thinking, as they help us to uncover our own biases and examine different perspectives outside of our own.
By taking the time to help a child to critically think about an issue, they can develop a deeper understanding of the world around them and make more informed decisions that align with their authentic truth and inner voice.
Some of the benefits of critical thinking include:
Improved problem-solving ability
Greater success in school
Ability to think creatively
Improved communication skills
Enhanced research skills
Improved mental and emotional health
Not internalize other’s beliefs or views
Boost confidence and self-esteem
As a parent, critical thinking and discovery questions can help a child deal with a coparent who can be manipulative, overbearing, or controlling and doesn’t allow them to develop their own beliefs and identity. It also helps your child not internalize accusations, develop their own thoughts, realize that everyone won't always agree, and see the bigger picture of situations for their own development.
If your child is currently internalizing false narratives and viewpoint from your coparent, please reach out to get the support you need or your child needs. We are here to help you protect your children’s emotional and psychological development. Click here to for more info.