10 Ways To Help Your Child Become a Critical Thinker

Ten tips to motivate your children to become independent thinkers who make healthy decisions.

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Photo Credit: JeanLouis_Zimmermann/Flickr

By Marie Roker-Jones

In a world where we live for followers, likes, tweets and more, how do we raise kids to be independent thinkers?

1. Encourage Questions

Don’t answer every question. Instead, ask your child what he or she thinks. Asking open-ended questions stimulates the conversation.

2. Don’t Criticize

Criticism invites low self-esteem. Children feel that they have failed or disappointed their parents when they are criticized. Find alternate ways of correcting the problem. A child will likely shut down communication if they feel that their parents are not supportive — and this behavior can haunt them as they grow and mature.

3. Respect Your Child’s Opinions

Your child is not your parrot or puppet. Although it is difficult to accept at times, it is normal and healthy for your child to have his own opinion. Boys and girls who are confident in expressing their opinions are less likely to succumb to peer pressure.

4. Teach Your Children To Embrace Diversity

Encourage your child to learn about different cultures and ethnicities. A well-informed child will understand and respect other people’s values.

5. Teach Your Sons and Daughters To Set Personal Boundaries

Boys need to have their personal space respected in order for them to respect other people’s personal space. The same goes for girls. Help your child establish boundaries and make sure to enforce your boundaries.

6. Establish A Nurturing Environment

Children thrive in environments in which they know they are loved and respected. Remind your children every day that you love and support them.

7. Understand Your Child’s Thought Process

In order for you to be an advocate for your child, you must know and understand how they learn. Is he or she a creative, logical, musical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or naturalistic learner? Seek with curiosity your child’s own unique capabilities and accept his or her creativity.

8. Don’t Think For Your Child
Encourage independent thinking. Let your son or daughter decide (within reason) what is appropriate. Let them make choices. Give him or her enough room to make decisions, but also be there in case plans don’t work out.

9. Teach Your Child Stress Management Skills

Help your children to effectively deal with stress. Try not to contribute to his or her stress with demands and unrealistic expectations. Make learning fun!

10. Teach Your Child To Trust His or Her Instincts

In order for boys and girls to be successful in life, they must learn how to trust their decisions. Your child needs to be confident in trusting his or her instincts. Boys and girls who trust their own decisions — and understand how to make good ones — are less likely to participate in unhealthy behaviors.

This story was originally published on Raising Great Men.com and republished on The Good Men Project.

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