It is important to educate children to think better. But what does it mean? The way we live begins in our head. And this also applies to children. In the face of the same situations, in fact, it happens that the little ones react in a very different way. Why? Every reaction a child faces to a situation depends on the thoughts he lives. When something happens, it’s like having a little voice that comments on the situation inwardly. On the basis of these thoughts, then, the emotions one feels depend on. Often, however, we do not realize the thoughts that drive us. In fact, they are automatic and consolidated over time.
There are rational thoughts in children that guide their behavior in a functional way. There are also, however, irrational thoughts that influence the perception of reality. It is therefore important to educate children to think better. Only this allows them to live peacefully, facing the big and small challenges of life in a more functional way.
We can distinguish the thoughts that drive behavior into two types. These two categories of thought are present both in adults and children. Thoughts can be:
RATIONAL. Rational thoughts consist of realistic and objective considerations. They aim for the purpose and cause adequate emotional reactions.
IRRATIONALS. Irrational thoughts are unrealistic and exaggerated thoughts. They are activated automatically. Irrational thoughts in children, as in adults, hinder the achievement of goals.
Educating children to think better means reducing irrational thoughts. This allows to make room for rational, realistic and objective thoughts. From these, more adequate behavior will follow, but not only. Emotions can also be managed more effectively. In short, educating children to think better can have many positive effects. It is a real investment for the well-being of children.
EDUCATING CHILDREN TO THINK BETTER: WHAT ARE THE IRRATIONAL THOUGHTS?
Educating children to think better is important from birth. Inevitably, each child develops some irrational thoughts. When they are so many and pervasive, however, they risk creating suffering and discomfort in children. Irrational thoughts can cause anxiety and depressive disorders, but also oppositional behavior and outbursts of uncontrollable anger.
It is therefore important to identify which irrational thoughts guide the child’s perceptions, so as to re-educate the children to think better. Irrational thoughts are absolute and extremely rigid, inflexible. They do not respond to any logic and are inconsistent with reality. Notwithstanding what you can think of, moreover, they do not help you reach your goals, indeed. They often hinder the development of the child and the possibility of reaching the small and big goals set. Finally, irrational thoughts are associated with dysfunctional emotions, which the child has difficulty managing.
We can distinguish different forms of irrational thought:
When the children claim that everything must go as they say. They consider their priorities as absolute needs.
LOW TOLERANCE TO FRUSTRATIONS
When unpleasant aspects of a person or event are magnified. Low tolerance to frustration can produce anger and avoidance in the child.
GLOBAL EVALUATIONS ON SAME OWNS AND OTHERS
It occurs when the child judges himself or other people in their entirety, starting from one or a few observed behaviors. This thought can produce hostility and rejection of others, or be unkind to oneself. A small mistake or wrong behavior can compromise the vision that children have of themselves, of others or of the world around them.
It happens when children consider unpleasant or annoying situations as real tragedies, terrible and horrendous. These thoughts can cause high levels of anxiety. On a continuum, children tend to exacerbate situations.
When the child considers absolute need what, in reality, is only preferable. This can bring out anxiety, depression and hostility.
HOW TO EDUCATE CHILDREN TO THINK BETTER?
Irrational thoughts in children are automatic and are activated in an uncontrolled way, because we are used to thinking that way. But how do you get rid of these mental viruses and start thinking in a functional way? Sometimes this process is done automatically. Other times, instead, it is necessary to commit oneself to “fight” certain thoughts, convincingly and insistently, until they lose their strength.
How can children be helped to think better? How to help the little ones reduce their irrational thoughts?
It is not easy to understand what thoughts drive our behavior. Sometimes they are so ingrained that they are part of us and automatically guide our emotions and our behaviors. Indeed, some thoughts have accompanied us since we were very young. For those who live there, they seem logical and natural. It seems that it is really so, it is not possible to think otherwise. Learning to recognize irrational thoughts then becomes the first step. This is essential to identify them and understand that they must be modified. Recognizing them is necessary to be able to take precautions and educate children to think better. Only by being aware of these thoughts, in fact, can we learn to eliminate them and replace them with more functional thoughts.
TEST THE THOUGHT
After identifying what the inner voice says and therefore highlighting the thought, it is useful to question it. We often tend to think that it is correct, but is it really so? Are there, for example, other ways of considering the event? Reflect on whether that thought says what is true or useful to feel better allows one to reflect on its usefulness.
TRANSFORM THE THOUGHT
Once irrational thinking is questioned it is important to replace it with a more useful and functional one. For example, you can train yourself to think that, even if someone makes fun of us, we are worth the same. Or, start thinking that those who do us wrong do not always do it voluntarily. It may happen, for example, that a friend may have caused us harm, but in an unconscious manner. It is important, however, to distinguish between those that are false consoling responses and real realistic arguments. It is a passage that is not always easy, which requires a lot of training.
EDUCATING CHILDREN TO THINK BETTER: WHEN TO ASK HELP A PROFESSIONAL?
It is not always easy to find arguments against a certain irrational thought, because it can be very rooted and be “obvious”. With a little training, however, it turns out that this is not the case. There are many practical exercises that allow you to train the emotional well-being of children, to help them make functional thoughts develop automatically. A path of rational-emotional education, in fact, helps children recognize their emotions and manage them, working on the mental mechanisms that influence them. It is a question, therefore, of accompanying the child to learn how to put the mind at the service of the heart.
When children face a moment of complexity, such work can be very useful. In fact, it provides children with the tools to face everyday challenges in a more functional way. It’s not simple, but it’s very important. In fact, besides working on the specific situation, educating children to think better is a gift for a long time. It’s a great little baggage that children will always carry with them. Sometimes it will be easier, others more difficult. But they will have the awareness that there is no single way of thinking and that it does not necessarily correspond to reality.
Rational emotional education works on the prevention and promotion of well – being. From an early age it is necessary to pay attention to one’s own well-being, because it is already here that the foundations are laid for the adults that will become tomorrow. As adults, we are all responsible for this. As parents, as educators, as health professionals. But not only. All adults are responsible, in their own way, for the generations to come.
Patrick Brown is a well-known content specialist and a blogger, he has a vast experience in industries, especially in education. He writes many articles to related CPP30411 Certificate III in Security Operations. In the meantime, he read books, listen to songs and maintains his own blog regarding children education.