Develop Your Child's Thinking Skills
By Cheng Cheng Tan
We have to differentiate between information and ability to think.
In this day and age, we have an information overload. However, does
that mean that a person who is very knowledgeable can think well?
Our education gives us information but does not really teach us how
to use and apply them. Our ability to think is to apply knowledge we
have on new situations and circumstances and sometimes even
modifying them to suit the situation.
This is one way we can do it. For example, my son wants to buy a
watch. How would he know which brand and type to choose? He probably
wants to buy the watch that Peter has because it looks cool. We can
give him other factors to consider. He should think about the cost
(involve mathematics), durability, purpose and usefulness. After
taking all these factors into consideration, let the child explain
why he decided on that particular choice. He can then apply these
same questions when he decides to buy something else e.g. handphone,
Edward de Bono, founder of the Cognitive Research Trust program,
uses the PMI technique. PMI stands for pluses, minuses and
interesting points. For any question that arise, note down all the
PMI for that question. This helps you to decide on the better
answer. Try it on any question. Remember you and your child get
better with practice. The obvious answer may not necessarily be the
Kids have to learn how to decide too. They have to know that
regardless whether it is a right or wrong decision, they have to be
responsible because they made the choice. They have to be
accountable too!! I am not saying they have to decide on everything
but they should be given the chance to do so. Learning to make a
decision is an art too.
Nobody can make right decisions all the time. However, we must
have the courage to decide and be responsible for it. Surveys were
carried out and found that managers who were promoted or not made
roughly the same number of correct and wrong decisions. Those who
were promoted simply dare to make the decision and take
responsibility even though it is wrong. Those who were not promoted
did not have the courage to decide because they were afraid to make
the wrong decision.
Practice as often as you can. Ask questions like 'What will it be
like if Chinese is the only language the world speaks and learn?',
'How different will my life be if I were born in Australia', 'If the
light bulb was not invented, what do you think you could invent?'.
The best thing is you can do this anywhere and you do not need any
equipment at all. Remember to use PMI (pluses, minuses and
interesting points) .
Cheng Cheng is an Asian mother (Singaporean) with two boys age about
four and five. I have learnt a lot from them, other parents and
books. Find out more about how parenting can be fun and easy at