How to Get Kids to Think For Themselves

How to Get Kids to Think For Themselves

How can we make sure that our kids are doing their fair share of the thinking? How can we keep ourselves from getting pulled into working harder on their lives than they are? How can we help them become prepared for a world full of decisions and consequences?

Replace statements with questions

This might seem like a very simple approach. However, like many of the techniques of Love and Logic, it is based on an understanding of how our brains work—and how the brains of our kids work.

Some of the most powerful moments come when we empower kids by asking them what they plan to do about various situations instead of telling them what they need to do. The implied message we send says, “You are smart. You can come up with the answer.” Kids who are given this message of thinking for themselves are far more likely to succeed in school and in life.

On top of that, the human brain has a hard time ignoring the questions it hears. It wants to search for the answers – it just can’t help itself. What a gift we give kids when we get them to think versus telling them what to do.

A child who is redirected with the question, “Are you sure this is the right place for that behavior?” will respond much better than the child who is told, “Stop that!” One method invites thinking, the other invites resistance and battles for control. Which do you prefer?

In either case, we are enticing young brains to do lots of thinking by simply asking questions rather than stating “how it is.” So, do your kids’ brains a favor and feed them a steady diet of questions. Won’t it be fun to see the smoke start rolling out of their ears?

Recently Love and Logic, a parenting organization, began a logical collaboration with Amen Clinics, an organization focused on brain health. The integration of Love and Logic’s psychological principles and techniques with the powerful brain-health approach of Amen Clinics has created a synergy that can help you raise competent, resilient, and responsible kids.

This synergy can be seen in a new book, Raising Mentally Strong Kids, by my friend, Dr. Daniel Amen, and my son, Dr. Charles Fay. I highly recommend this book to all parents!


Thanks for reading!

Jim Fay

P.S. Watch this video from Charles to learn more about this extraordinarily valuable resource for parents!


Raising Mentally Strong Kids

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