How to raise the thinking child - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 35 Old 07-05-2007, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
goodcents's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
How do you do it? What does it mean to you? It is very important to me that I raise children who think for themselves, who are able to way both sides of a situation or argument and come to a conclusion that is right for them. I also do not want to impose my personal beliefs on my children (political leanings for example) but rather be used as a guide or a resource for information for them to reach their own opinions. I don't want to raise a little me I guess, but rather an individual responsible and interested in making his or her own decisions.

This has been at the forfront of my mind as my dd gets close to entering pre-k. Coming out of the public school system, I am not sure they delivered on teaching me a wide range of critical thinking skills. I feel like it is something I have had to work on in my adult life, and I still lapse into responding on impulse rather than always thinking things through.

One of my only present resources is letting my children, regardless of there age (2 and 4 if you are wondering) be in charge of their own choices as long as an issue of safety isn't involved.

For example, my daughter went through the dress up phase HARD. I mean HARD. Like wouldn't leave the house without a princess dress on, crown, jewelry, pocketbooks etc. It really concerned me for a while, but at the same time I felt she was expressing herself, and my desire to alter that perhaps wasn't in her best interest. I felt it was important for me to respect her choices concering dressup, just as I had when she wore the same dress every day for three months (and it drove me frickin bonkers!).

Today my son left the house in his pajamas, striped socks, and a pair of his sister's shoes that are pink satin and beaded. The stares I received at the store weren't that friendly. But my reasoning is, my son is making a choice. He is thinking. It should be respected.

But I know this is a very limited resource (re. their own fashion choices ). And I wonder how other parents instill and teach critical thinking skills to their children. Both of my children have or will attend Montessori schools for early ed which I think is great at offering choices. After Pre-K though, its pretty much public school. Homeschooling isn't an option at the moment, in part because I am a SAHM, and in part because I am not confident I could do it.

Thoughts?
goodcents is offline  
#2 of 35 Old 07-05-2007, 07:38 PM
 
nd_deadhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,152
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
My twin boys are almost 13, and up until they got run over by the puberty train (which apparently selectively removes all brain cells not required for life support systems), they were pretty good thinkers. They just finished grade 7 in public school.

I asked a lot of "Why" questions. Why did that happen? Why did he say that? How do you think that made her feel?

DH and I also included the children in conversation from a very early age - we always eat supper together. Sometimes conversations are silly, but the fact that we can go off on silly tangents that they come up with makes them realize that their opinions and comments ARE important to us. Gradually they started making valuable contributions to adult-type discussions.

Reading a variety of books helps. Our boys were dinosaur fanatics, and loved to read non-fiction books about dinosaurs. Since there are many theories about these creatures, and no one knows exactly what they were like, they saw that adults don't know everything, and questioning the world around us is a life-long process.

Don't worry about them being mirrors of you! In many ways, you want them to be - you want to instill in them your values and beliefs. But don't worry - pretty soon they will begin questioning those beliefs - as in "Mom, you were right about Queen, they are a great band, but System of a Down is the BEST!" As they get older, they will develop their own ideas, but it's nice if those ideas are rooted in a strong foundation (the Golden Rule, for example).

If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

nd_deadhead is offline  
#3 of 35 Old 07-05-2007, 09:06 PM
 
GuildJenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 4,776
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My tip, as yet unproven on my own child, is to consult with them about family decisions regularly, ask their opions on topics at hand, and ask them why - not obnoxiously but with your full attention and with the expectation that they will generally have reasons.

In other words, invite them to have a role in the "family thinking" and family conversation." I bet they will run with it.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
GuildJenn is offline  
#4 of 35 Old 07-05-2007, 09:14 PM
 
LilyGrace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,284
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I listen. I watch. I don't interrupt their work unless they need me to. I don't stop them from struggling. I try to show different sides to the story - from Jack and the beanstalk to the American revolution. I give them the tools to fight their own battles. I ask questions. I watch silently as they make mistakes and cheer when they get back up. Every solution is possible, even the unpossible. I encourage them to find the answers by any means they can. I discipline with natural/logical consequences and encourage their input.

How is it possible to *not* raise a thinking child?
LilyGrace is offline  
#5 of 35 Old 07-05-2007, 09:31 PM
 
mamazee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: US midwest
Posts: 7,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I don't impose my will on my daughter. She gets to make decisions about herself.

I will say though that I do intend to discuss my belief system with my daughter. If she doesn't share it, that will be fine, but I don't agree that parents shouldn't teach their kids their values, including religious (or not) and political values and ethics. If I don't teach my daughter my values, she'll learn someone else's values (or lack thereof), and values are important to me. In fact, I think teaching values and ethics is an important part of parenting.
mamazee is offline  
#6 of 35 Old 07-05-2007, 09:36 PM
 
mothragirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: neverland
Posts: 3,332
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
model being a "thinking" person.
mothragirl is offline  
#7 of 35 Old 07-06-2007, 04:51 AM
 
amitymama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London
Posts: 1,769
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Re: your DD's need to dress up in frilly dresses, you might find this article interesting http://prok.princeton.edu/2-2/inventions/pink_frilly

Mother. Doula. Writer. Feminist. Activist. 
Mum to Moo Moo (4) blahblah.gifand EJ (2) bftoddler.gif
 
 
 
amitymama is offline  
#8 of 35 Old 07-06-2007, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
goodcents's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Amitymama that article was so great- thanky you very much for sharing. I for sure feel that my dd's obession with dresses was identity related. She wasn't into pink though frilly for days and days, but generally not pink.

I wanted to clear up a few things about my OP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyGrace View Post

How is it possible to *not* raise a thinking child?
Of course all children and people think. I guess I am more interested in developing the specific skill of critical thinking.

My children definitily participate in making decisions with us, and I do take the time to explain things to them (over and over and over sometimes to my chagrin!)

In terms of imparting my values, well a guess that is a bit tricky and depends on how we are defining morals and values. I do want my children to learn compassion, understanding, being honest, helping others, a passion to learn and to explore, being kind, patient (I need some help with this myself sometimes) etc.

In terms of religion or politics, I would prefer to create an environment that is conducive to them exploring all aspects of thr topic, or that is at least nuetral.
goodcents is offline  
#9 of 35 Old 07-06-2007, 09:45 AM
 
staceychev's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Jersey, the Southern one
Posts: 3,239
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I teach 9th and 10th grade English in a mid-sized suburban high school. I get a lot of kids who are obviously just parroting back their parents ideas and who are completely unwilling to engage in discourse. I believe it's totally possible to raise "non-thinking" children, where I define not thinking as not considering and evaluating, and working with an unflexible set of assumptions about the world.

As a teacher, I try to challenge their ideas while at the same time honoring them. (Eg, they know that I'm a liberal, but they also know that I respect the conservatives in the room and will often ask for their opinions to get the other side of the picture). I have them write a paper where they need to defend an idea that they value (the right to abortion, legalization of marijuana, war in Iraq, etc). Both their peers and I work to challenge their assumptions about their topics, not with the goal of changing their minds but of having them consider all sides of the issue.

I think Mothragirl's got it right--model being a thinking person. Make your thought processes transparent (the dinner table is a great place for this) so that your children can see you wrestling with ideas and considering multiple facets of situations.

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
staceychev is offline  
#10 of 35 Old 07-06-2007, 11:53 AM
 
mistymama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,964
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I wish I knew a magic answer, I think about this often myself.

My son is only 4.5, but I do try to ask him to think up solutions instead of just telling him what to do. I ask him lots of questions, like WHY do you think x did y? What would be another way to do y? Things like that.

He's a pretty darn creative thinker thus far .. we get a kick out of hearing his "solutions" to problems because they are sooo far out there and off the wall. It's adorable .. and cool, because he's thinking outside the box.

I look forward to reading what others are doing ..

Candacepeace.gif, Married to dh   guitar.gif, Mom to ds (8) biggrinbounce.gif , Gavin candle.gif (9/30/10 - 12/19/10) and cautiously expecting our rainbow1284.gif 4-29-12

mistymama is offline  
#11 of 35 Old 07-06-2007, 12:12 PM
 
2tadpoles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,142
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodcents View Post
Today my son left the house in his pajamas, striped socks, and a pair of his sister's shoes that are pink satin and beaded. The stares I received at the store weren't that friendly. But my reasoning is, my son is making a choice. He is thinking. It should be respected.
I don't disagree with you, but I do question whether or not your son was making an informed choice. I think that's important, too. Of course, I have no idea how old your son is.

I think that modeling being a thinking person is key.

I also think that, in order to raise thinking children, one needs to steer pretty clear of authoritarian behavior. My good friend wants her children to think for themselves (when they're with their friends), but then she wants them to do as they're told (when they're at home). Conflicting message, IMO.
2tadpoles is offline  
#12 of 35 Old 07-06-2007, 02:01 PM
 
RomanGoddess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Across the pond
Posts: 2,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Great thread! I want to send my daughter to a Montessori kindergarten because I find that most public systems (especially at the primary/elementary level) place value on conformity more than anything else.

I also think it is important to listen to children. If we don't value what a child is saying, why should she bother thinking for herself?

Roman Goddess, mom to J (August 2004) and J (April 2009).    h20homebirth.gif signcirc1.gif
RomanGoddess is offline  
#13 of 35 Old 07-06-2007, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
goodcents's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tadpoles View Post
I don't disagree with you, but I do question whether or not your son was making an informed choice. I think that's important, too. Of course, I have no idea how old your son is.
my son is 2 as i said in the op.

what sort of informed choice do you mean?

would that informed choice be different at 2 then it would be at 8?

what sort of information would he need? gender identity? social expections?
goodcents is offline  
#14 of 35 Old 07-06-2007, 07:36 PM
 
2tadpoles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,142
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodcents View Post
my son is 2 as i said in the op.

what sort of informed choice do you mean?

would that informed choice be different at 2 then it would be at 8?

what sort of information would he need? gender identity? social expections?
I'm so sorry that I missed the portion of your post where your kids' ages were stated.

Yes, I think informed choice would be different at age 2 than at age 8. I would expect that most 2yo's really don't care what others think of them. Most 8yo's do, to an extent.

I think that most 8yo boys would know that wearing pink satin shoes would be setting themselves up for ridicule. A 2yo wouldn't know that, nor would he care. A 4yo? Possibly in between. If a 4yo boy wears pink satin shoes to the playground, for instance.....adults might not say anything, but other children might. And 4yo's can get very angry when teased.

I think that as kids get older, it's good to explain what the possible outcome of their actions might be, if they're otherwise unaware. Not everyone shares my opinion on that....I tend to be a "what if" person and somewhat of a worry-wart. I know lots of parents who have more of a school-of-hard-knocks approach to parenting. My parents did.
2tadpoles is offline  
#15 of 35 Old 07-07-2007, 01:49 PM
 
LauraLoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: By the light of the silvery moon
Posts: 3,762
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tadpoles View Post
I think that most 8yo boys would know that wearing pink satin shoes would be setting themselves up for ridicule. A 2yo wouldn't know that, nor would he care. A 4yo? Possibly in between. If a 4yo boy wears pink satin shoes to the playground, for instance.....adults might not say anything, but other children might. And 4yo's can get very angry when teased.

I think that as kids get older, it's good to explain what the possible outcome of their actions might be, if they're otherwise unaware. Not everyone shares my opinion on that....I tend to be a "what if" person and somewhat of a worry-wart. I know lots of parents who have more of a school-of-hard-knocks approach to parenting. My parents did.
I'm hoping this is just a hypothetical example because part of what I believe my responsibility as a parent is is to allow choice whenever possible. I would never discourage my ds (who is 6) from wearing anything that he chose - including pink satin shoes. I would, however, discuss ramifications for going in public with just his underwear on. Even though ds might be teased for wearing pink shoes, I'd rather have it come from peers than to have ds think that I would be embarrassed if he wore pink shoes - or worse, to have him feel that I was undermining his decision making process.

A very simple way to encourage a thinking child is when they ask you a question, is to ask them a question back. For example, if they ask you "Why are leaves green?" You can easily respond "Why do you think leaves are green?" Maybe the child has a theory. If they don't, maybe they can draw a picture. Or you can ask "If we wanted to find out why leaves are green, what could we do?" I think a big key to raising a thinking child is to guide them in finding their own answers.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

LauraLoo is offline  
#16 of 35 Old 07-07-2007, 03:37 PM
 
giggleball's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 423
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Awesome thread -- neat to read everyone's responses.

I'll just throw something out here -- I think it is possible to bring a child up with a specific religious belief system (i.e., Christianity, Judaism, etc.) and STILL raise a critically thinking child. I was brought up Christian but went to a church that encouraged questioning our faith -- had parents who supported that questioning. I decided for awhile that I believed in reincarnation..... eventually decided I wasn't sure, but does it really matter right now anyway? Anyway, my point being, I don't think that just because you raise your children believing in a specific religion that they cannot critically think and/or analyze that same religion..... In fact, it gives them a base from which to draw, IMHO.
giggleball is offline  
#17 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
goodcents's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by giggleball View Post
I'll just throw something out here -- I think it is possible to bring a child up with a specific religious belief system (i.e., Christianity, Judaism, etc.) and STILL raise a critically thinking child. I was brought up Christian but went to a church that encouraged questioning our faith -- had parents who supported that questioning. I decided for awhile that I believed in reincarnation..... eventually decided I wasn't sure, but does it really matter right now anyway? Anyway, my point being, I don't think that just because you raise your children believing in a specific religion that they cannot critically think and/or analyze that same religion..... In fact, it gives them a base from which to draw, IMHO.
I totally agree and I didn't mean to infer that you cannot raise a critically thinking, religious child.


Good tip Laraloo

Quote:
A very simple way to encourage a thinking child is when they ask you a question, is to ask them a question back. For example, if they ask you "Why are leaves green?" You can easily respond "Why do you think leaves are green?" Maybe the child has a theory.
goodcents is offline  
#18 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 11:44 AM
 
2tadpoles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,142
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraLoo View Post
I'm hoping this is just a hypothetical example because part of what I believe my responsibility as a parent is is to allow choice whenever possible.
I don't recall saying that I don't allow choice.

Quote:
I would never discourage my ds (who is 6) from wearing anything that he chose - including pink satin shoes. I would, however, discuss ramifications for going in public with just his underwear on.
What's the difference? Is it because YOU find underwear to be inappropriate wear for a child outside the house? So do I. I also find pink satin shoes in public to be inappropriate wear for a 6yo boy. I wouldn't forbid my son from wearing them, but, as you said, I would discuss the ramifications for wearing them in public.

Quote:
Even though ds might be teased for wearing pink shoes, I'd rather have it come from peers than to have ds think that I would be embarrassed if he wore pink shoes - or worse, to have him feel that I was undermining his decision making process.
I prefer prevention, if possible. And since I'm a human being and like my kids to view me as such, I see nothing wrong with letting them know if I'm embarrassed. My 15yo sees nothing wrong with greasy hair and scuzzy teeth....I do. I let him know that I don't like to go places with him when he looks dirty. That doesn't mean I refuse to take him places. It just means that he knows I don't share his views, and lots of other people don't share his views, and that's okay as long as he's willing to deal with the potential ramifications of looking like he fell in a vat of Crisco.

If I was a 6yo boy and got teased by all my classmates for wearing pink shoes, I might think, "Why didn't Mom and Dad warn me?"

Quote:
A very simple way to encourage a thinking child is when they ask you a question, is to ask them a question back. For example, if they ask you "Why are leaves green?" You can easily respond "Why do you think leaves are green?"
See, I don't like that technique. If someone did that to me when I asked a question, I would feel like I was being patronized. I also think that, a good amount of the time, the kid's theory (if there is one) is going to be wrong. It's human nature that we don't like to be wrong. Being wrong often makes us feel stupid. If a child learns that asking questions leads to feeling stupid, then they may be discouraged from asking questions.

I'd rather just skip to this part....

Quote:
....you can ask "If we wanted to find out why leaves are green, what could we do?" I think a big key to raising a thinking child is to guide them in finding their own answers.
2tadpoles is offline  
#19 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 12:00 PM
 
rainbowmoon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 11,138
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think the best way to teach kids to think for themselves is to think for YOURself first. We must lead by example.

btw has anyone read this book? (it is on my long list of parenting books I want to read)
http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Childr...3906192&sr=8-1

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
rainbowmoon is offline  
#20 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 12:00 PM
 
Mary's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 486
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
My tip, as yet unproven on my own child, is to consult with them about family decisions regularly, ask their opions on topics at hand, and ask them why - not obnoxiously but with your full attention and with the expectation that they will generally have reasons.

In other words, invite them to have a role in the "family thinking" and family conversation." I bet they will run with it.
: I totally agree and this is how it works in our house. My kids have a say, but this doesn't mean that they have a say in every little thing that goes on, but on family matters, life/world issues they know that their opinion is important and has value.

We have honest conversations and I don't try to sugar coat things just to over shelter them from the harsh realities of the world.

I don't think it's as simple as letting them wear what they want- the other day my littlest one wanted to wear a tie with his play clothes and I said no (I didn't want to have to deal with it all day and it could be a strangulation hazard anyways). My kids know that I'm on their side and that dh and I have the final say on things like that and that 99% of the time we have a good reason (if what we want is not what they want).

Most importantly, I trust my kids to have good judgement and they know this. I think just knowing that I trust them helps them rise to the occasion in life.
Mary is offline  
#21 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 01:16 PM
 
North_Of_60's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Beautiful British Columbia
Posts: 7,622
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tadpoles View Post
I also think that, in order to raise thinking children, one needs to steer pretty clear of authoritarian behavior. My good friend wants her children to think for themselves (when they're with their friends), but then she wants them to do as they're told (when they're at home). Conflicting message, IMO.
This begs the question of how one raises a thinking a child, and one who is respectful of not just their parents, but everyone? I would expect my child not to hit, tease, name call, or otherwise disrespect or be mean to people at home and while out with friends. But on the other hand, I want to her to be free-thinking and able, and confident (!), enough to make decisions for herself.

If by authoritarian you mean treating your kids like little slaves - then I agree with you. My parents were like this - "go do the dishes", "go mow the grass", "bring me that book", etc. It was like we were there to serve them and it left us with little time to be kids, let alone think and learn and explore, it seemed. But even looking back I recognize that there was a difference between that and say, calling the neighbor kids names.

So I guess in a long winded way I'm saying that I agee and disagree with you. I think it's our responsibility as parents to raise respectful, mindful, objective, tolerant, compassionate, etc children as much as it is to raise thinking children.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tadpoles View Post
If I was a 6yo boy and got teased by all my classmates for wearing pink shoes, I might think, "Why didn't Mom and Dad warn me?"
I don't know about that. When I was 6 and teased I just though the teaser's were mean and stupid. I wasn't resentful that my parents didn't warn me or protect me. I'm not sure that kind of thought process is typical at that age. As an adult, oh yeah! I get mad at my husband when we get home from dinner and learn I have food in my teeth and he didn't warn me. But at 6 when I was teased it just fueled my desire to conform, which meant my mom had to buy me cooler shoes... not necessarily "warn" me that my off brand k-mart pair might be considered uncool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tadpoles View Post
See, I don't like that technique. If someone did that to me when I asked a question, I would feel like I was being patronized. I also think that, a good amount of the time, the kid's theory (if there is one) is going to be wrong. It's human nature that we don't like to be wrong. Being wrong often makes us feel stupid. If a child learns that asking questions leads to feeling stupid, then they may be discouraged from asking questions.
I agree. I can't stand it when people answer me with a rhetorical questions, especially when I'm genuinely interested in knowing something. The self consciousness that washes over me when faced with mustering up the correct answer causes me to loose all desire in knowing. I usually end up replying with a "never mind".

But, if someone said to me.. "you know, that's a good question, there are several theories..." and then gives me an opportunity to share my theory while also answering my question, I think that's different. And for the purpose of encouraging children to speak up and voice their opinions/thoughts/theories, I think that's a much more productive route. I don't think using rhetorical questions is an effective communication technique.

Right now we are still all about problem solving and exploring, which we encourage, and baring and safety issues, we fully allow. DD isn't verbal yet, so the way we get her thinking is in her physical environment. Obviously we talk to her, but at this age I think it's all in how she's able to explore and learn from her environment. Ie - she doesn't want to let me change her clothes, she runs around naked. When she gets cold she grabs a blanket I take that as my cue to ask her if she's ready to put some clothes on. By that point she's usually happy to let me dress her. Even at this age I can tell that letting her figure things out on her own reduces the power struggles while also letting her figure out that gee, no clothes means you freeze.

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
North_Of_60 is offline  
#22 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
goodcents's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I also find pink satin shoes in public to be inappropriate wear for a 6yo boy.
Why?
goodcents is offline  
#23 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 05:28 PM
 
North_Of_60's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Beautiful British Columbia
Posts: 7,622
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodcents View Post
Why?
I am curious too, but I think it has less to do raising a thinking child and more to do with assumed gender roles in our society. I remember a thread a while back about about someone buying a pink car seat thinking they were having a girl, but then ended up with a boy, and so they wanted to return the seat to get a "boy colour". It was a very enlightening discussion about how we thrust gender roles upon children when they're at an age when gender roles don't, and shouldn't, matter.

I wouldn't care if my son wanted to wear pink party shoes. I think letting him make that decision for himself is pivotal to this very discussion. It confuses me how free thinking can exclude the colour of clothes our children want to wear.

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
North_Of_60 is offline  
#24 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 08:04 PM
 
lisac77's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 3,233
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My parents raised a bunch of critical thinkers, even though we were raised in a fairly authoritarian household. We were expected to be obedient, it was something that was stressed and we got punished if we weren't.

However, my parents also pushed us to use our own sense of judgment rather than just handing us the answer to a problem. I think this is something that really helped us develop critical thinking skills, although at the time it seemed like we were being put-upon, but now looking back on it I think they were doing us a favor. They were forcing us to find our own paths and justifications for our actions. And we were also responsible for the outcome (negative or positive) from those actions.

Contrast this with my husband, who had things handed to him most of his life. When he had a question they gave him pat (and often wrong) answers and I'm guessing there was some sort of punishment (this may not have been intentional on his mother's part) for questioning things and going against the grain. This has resulted in an adult who has a very rigid way of thinking and reasoning, can't make decisions easily on his own, and cannot live with the outcome of his decisions, especially if the outcome is not what he expected.

So I think an important part of creating critical thinkers is giving them a chance to use their skills! And of course you have to model critical thinking for them.
lisac77 is offline  
#25 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 08:10 PM
Banned
 
Meg Murry.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Between here and there
Posts: 1,841
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodcents View Post
Homeschooling isn't an option at the moment, in part because I am a SAHM, and in part because I am not confident I could do it.

Thoughts?
Trust me, Goodcents, you can homeschool.
Teaching is NOT rocket science; as a matter of fact, education majors tend to (as a general rule) score in the lowest quartile of standardized tests. Moreover, no teacher alive knows your kids like you do.

Honestly, if you want them to think independently, do these two things:

1. Homeschool
2. Unplug the television.
Meg Murry. is offline  
#26 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 09:32 PM
Dar
 
Dar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 11,438
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, I agree about homeschooling... although I don't think it's the only way. Guerilla Learning is a great book for parents who school and also want to raise thinking kids.

We like TV here - we have interesting discussion about everything from The Simpsons references to an odd show about British men and their Real Dolls (you don't want to know).

I personally would definitely tell my 6 year old boy about the responses he might get if he wore pink ballet shoes in public. I wouldn't forbid it, of course, but I'd make sure he had the data he needed to make an informed decision.

Really, I think it's important to talk with children, ask for their opinions, listen as they explain, ask clarifying and/or probing questions, and give honest feedback. That goes a long way...

Dar

 
fambedsingle1.gifSingle mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler earth.gif


  

Dar is offline  
#27 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 10:31 PM
 
mamarhu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: dining at the restaurant at the end of the universe
Posts: 3,079
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
From age 4 through 8, YoungSon's favorite item of clothing was an embroidered, floral vest in pink and turquoise, and in fact, he still has it (at 11 it's a little small!). He was in public school then and wore it nearly daily. I don't know if he was ever teased; he never mentioned it. I loved the vest, and in fact sort of miss it.:

It has been said above, but it bears repeating - asking thought provoking questions, modeling critical thinking skills, and giving kids decision making power in their own lives will teach thinking skills. When I am faced with a decision, I often talk over my thought processes with my kids - partly to get their input, but also to let them watch how I arrive at a decision.

I think this is working in my family. I see my kids approaching problems from novel angles, but some of this may be unschooling - they don't really have a choice of conforming to an arbitrary set of standards, so they are forced to come up with their own ideas.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

mamarhu is offline  
#28 of 35 Old 07-08-2007, 10:40 PM
 
LauraLoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: By the light of the silvery moon
Posts: 3,762
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
However, my parents also pushed us to use our own sense of judgment rather than just handing us the answer to a problem. I think this is something that really helped us develop critical thinking skills, although at the time it seemed like we were being put-upon, but now looking back on it I think they were doing us a favor. They were forcing us to find our own paths and justifications for our actions. And we were also responsible for the outcome (negative or positive) from those actions.

Contrast this with my husband, who had things handed to him most of his life. When he had a question they gave him pat (and often wrong) answers and I'm guessing there was some sort of punishment (this may not have been intentional on his mother's part) for questioning things and going against the grain. This has resulted in an adult who has a very rigid way of thinking and reasoning, can't make decisions easily on his own, and cannot live with the outcome of his decisions, especially if the outcome is not what he expected.

So I think an important part of creating critical thinkers is giving them a chance to use their skills! And of course you have to model critical thinking for them.
I think this is a great example.

As far as rhetorical questions, yeah, I can see why that would bother some people. It doesn't seem to bother my son because his personal theory isn't ever "wrong" - or at least I don't shout out "That's WRONG!" even when it is. But I can ask him why he thinks that and where we could go to find out/test out/etc. what he's thinking about. It's actually pretty fun to do together. I find that it has encouraged him to ask deeper questions rather than to just expect an answer. I don't even have all the answers to the questions that he's asking, so it gets me off the hook as well.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

LauraLoo is offline  
#29 of 35 Old 07-10-2007, 07:17 AM
 
staceychev's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Jersey, the Southern one
Posts: 3,239
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
Teaching is NOT rocket science; as a matter of fact, education majors tend to (as a general rule) score in the lowest quartile of standardized tests.
Sigh. Maybe it's just 6 am, maybe it's that I'm about to drive 3 hours for the second day of my incredibly exhausting "Teaching Shakespeare Institute," but I have to respond to this. While the statistic that Meg quoted is technically true, I feel that by telling Goodcents that she can homeschool by essentially saying "Teachers aren't very bright" isn't overly helpful (or nice to the teachers on the board). In defense of teaching, the profession is working hard to try to bring in more new teachers from various educations and backgrounds, and I've met some amazing and brilliant people since switching to this career several yeas ago. Supporting the idea that teaching is for "those who can't" really hinders this effort and perpetuates the idea in the general public that teachers are lazy or glorified babysitters. Whether or not you think homeschooling is a good idea (and, guess what? I, a public high school teacher, do think it's wonderful), the fact is that public/private schooling is good for our nation, at the very least because not everyone is in a position to homeschool.

That being said, Goodcents, I bet you could homeschool too. Love and intent go a long way to bridging the gap between can't and can.

Sorry for the rant.

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
staceychev is offline  
#30 of 35 Old 07-10-2007, 12:20 PM
 
2tadpoles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,142
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Okay, let me clarify about the pink shoes.

Society has certain expectations, no? If one does not care about being accepted, socially, then by all means....wear whatever strikes your fancy. That includes underwear in public, I should think.

If you would not do your grocery shopping in a two piece bathing suit; if you would not wear a tuxedo to a baseball game; if you would not mow the lawn in your underwear....ask yourself why.

When you figure out the reason, it's likely the same reason I would prefer that my (hypothetical) 6yo boy not wear pink party shoes to the playground. There is a time and a place for certain types of dress. That's just MHO and feel free to disagree with it. I believe that being a non-comformist solely for non-comformity's sake is nothing more than a type of chip on the shoulder.

As for unplugging the TV....my kids are homeschooled and they learn a lot from the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, and (for my budding chef) the Food Network. Television gives them a way to see parts of the world they might never see. It exposes them to different ways of living and thinking, and sparks some interesting conversations.
2tadpoles is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off