The morning is off to a rough start. I slept through the alarm and missed my peaceful morning routine. The kids are demanding food as soon as my feet hit the floor. Everything is getting on my nerves. Everything they say and do is followed by a snappy remark from me. Why is it so much easier to notice everything bad our kids do? Surely they have done something worthy of praise this morning.
Philippians 4:8 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Yikes. That is not how our morning routine played out. Everything I was focusing on became magnified. Thankfully, the opposite is true too. When I can focus on the good, the good becomes magnified.
Research from psychologist B.F. Skinner executed an experiment with mice. He placed hungry mice inside a box with a lever. When the mice accidentally stumbled upon the lever they received a food pellet. It did not take long before the mice were pushing the lever purposefully to receive the reward. Skinner’s finds show that when you add a positive stimulus after the desired behavior occurs it is more likely that the behavior will occur again.*
This brings us to N in our acronym. N is a vital part of the THINK method. N is for notice. It requires that we take notice of the changes we see occurring in the thought and action patterns of our children so that they occur more often.
Another morning is upon us. I make a big deal when Cypress cleans up his plate without being prompted by clapping and giving him a big hug. Later I see him run to grab his shoes from the shoe rack with no prompt from me. The kid is really catching on, and as I notice he really starts showing off his new skills. When you see these behaviors happening in your children start taking notice.
Let your child know that you see them and you are proud of their decisions. Focus on the good and it will be magnified in the process of getting your child to think. Our children are wired with the desire to have our attention and to please us. If you don’t believe me try to do something other than giving them your full attention, and watch how they respond. We can foster this natural wiring while they are young by encouraging and focusing on the good decisions that they make. When we do this we build their confidence to continue using their ability to think and see the desired behavior repeated.
Why is it hard to see the good? Well, it’s difficult to focus on good from our children if we are consumed by the bad things they do. Implementing the N component of the T.H.I.N.K acronym allows us to change our focus. We start to notice the good things our children do with positive reinforcement. As we do this their desire to please us encourages more good decisions and more good decisions lead to a strengthed outcome of getting our children to think critically.
Take this next week to really focus on GOOD behaviors from your child only. compound the other components. So this next week be sure to talk to your child, hide God’s word in their heart, encourage inferences with question prompts, and finally notice and reward good changes you see them executing. Let us know in the comments a few new behaviors you’re seeing them display. Remember focus on the good & it will be magnified. See you next week for our final component.
Mcleod, S. (n.d.). Skinner – Operant Conditioning. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/operant-conditioning.html