We are late again this morning. There is not enough time to stop and explain every detail of why I need my child to put his socks on before his shoes. I yell, he cries. Everyone feels frustrated and defeated.
I flash forward 15 years when he isn’t under my authority anymore, and instead an employer takes my place. They aren’t going to be there to stand over him and tell him what to do every step. Do I really want my kids to be dependent on another person to make decisions? Any good parent is screaming NO WAY right now.
The T.H.I.N.K Method is all about teaching your child to think critically and make good decisions in your presence as well as your absence. During this process of developing these skills, I want you to keep two reasons in mind of why it’s important to talk to our children and not at them like I did in my morning scenario with my three-year-old.
First, we want our kids to be trustworthy and make smart decisions. So the development of that has to happen now. We are starting it at 3 years old with our first child, and I only wish I would have begun sooner. Instead of telling him every step of the morning routine, where we both end up frazzled and frustrated. I now prompt him with questions like the following. “Okay, you have on your jacket, what do you need to do next?”
As you and your child practice dialoguing the processes of things in day to day interactions, they will get it. They’ll catch on, and they’ll start connecting dots between everyday occurrences and the flow of the family routines. Eventually, the prompts will become unnecessary because they will learn to prompt themselves, and this helps us to achieve our goal of getting them to think.
The final reason it’s important to talk to your child and not at them is that we need to model for them how to think of themselves and talk to themselves in a respectful manner. Our self-talk is directly correlated with our confidence when it comes to making decisions. So it’s NEVER too early to start instilling respectful speech to our children in our daily interactions with them. Remember the long term goal. We are raising adults who need to know how to make good decisions and think critically this means we need to set the example and equip them with positive self-talk that allows them to confidently execute good decisions.
Getting your child to think for themselves is critically important in developing decision making and critical thinking skills. We can create a mindset of respectful inner speech and instill the habits of prompting them to ask questions to discern what needs to happen next when we talk to our children and not at them.
Print off your T.H.I.N.K cheat sheet and spend the next week implementing T into your morning routine. Practice talking and dialoguing with your little this week. Remember ask lots of questions. Let me know how it’s going in the comments, and stay tuned for H.