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
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
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
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
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.
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?”)
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
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.