Cognitive Development Enables Reasoning

Cognitive development

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Reinforced cognitive development allows your children to advance in their pattern of thinking and in the way they perceive the world around. At each developmental stage and age of a child, this ability is enhanced, enabling the child’s ability to reason and to have a better understanding of their environment.

By the time your child can understand behaviors and consequences, you can start reasoning with them. Even though their cognitive development is still largely elementary, the ability to reason is still existent. If you take the time to learn ways to communicate to your children on their level of cognition, you will be amazed how well they can reason and communicate with you.

As parents we are sometimes impatient when communicating with our children. We give very short answers when our children ask "why". One common answer many parents offer up is "because I say so." However, stopping for a moment to give your child a reasonable, age-appropriate answer can have better results.

The problem exists when you try to reason with a four year old the same way you reason with your 15 year old, or vice versa. Parents must learn how to adjust to their children’s age and reason with them on their level. This is something that requires some time and patience to learn and perfect. Parenting requires patience.

Reasoning with you child can:

  • Complement any disciplinary action and help to reinforce good behavior.

  • Increase communication, which leads to more open dialogue.

  • Help you to receive more cooperation from your child.

  • Help to get less resistance from your child when you explain the situation reasonably.

  • Let your child feel more love and understanding from you.

  • Help your child to want to please you more.

  • Help your child to value your opinion more.

    Define the stages of cognitive development. If your need help please contact me. Here are just a couple of examples to give you an idea of what I mean when I suggest that you reason with your child. For more examples on how to reason with your child please contact me.

    Example I.

    Your 4 year old daughter wants to open the can of tuna with the can opener. You say to her, "No, that's dangerous - you will cut your hand". She insists. You keep saying no. It gets out of control until she gets a rise from you - you get upset and send her out of the room or put her in time out.

    Reasoning I.

    (in a calm but firm tone of voice)

    The cognitive development of a 4 year old wouldn't understand why you got upset or why they got a time out. They would only understand they did something wrong. When your child insisted, that's when you both needed to take a time out. You take you child on your lap and you explain, "I know you want to help me. I am so happy that I have such a wonderful daughter who is such a great helper. (Give a kiss). However, the can opener has a very, very sharp blade that can slip and cut your finger. Because I love you so much, I don't want you to be hurt or lose your finger. So instead why don't you help me to do (………find a safe activity for her to do where she can still feel she is helping)." The cognitive development of a three year old should be able to accept this kind of reasoning and cooperate.

    Example II.

    Your ten year old disobeyed by bringing his video game to school. He disrupted the class by turning it on in class, and it accidentally fell on the floor and broke. You get a notice from the teacher. This type of behavior deserves a consequence. You must choose the form of discipline and follow through with it.

    Reasoning II.

    (in a calm but firm, tone of voice.)

    Based on the cognitive development of your ten year old, taking away privileges would serve as an ideal form of discipline in this situation. He/she should be able to understand that they disobeyed and didn't follow your rules, therefore, there will be a consequence. The privilege should be maintained for a week. At the end of the week you sit down to talk about it. Hopefully by now he/she would be showing some remorse.

    You say, "I know you are an obedient boy/girl most of the time. You've shown that to me many times. What happened here?"(let him speak) You continue, "do you understand why you were not allowed to take your video game to school?" let him speak) Whether or not he does you need to reiterate it. "First of all, school is for studying. When you bring a video game to school, it is distracting to you and the other children. That is why it is not permitted in school. There is a time and place for everything and school is not the place for video games. If you wanted to show off your game, you could have invited your friends over on the weekend and shared the fun with them." Your disobedience not only caused you to get in trouble with your teacher, you also broke your toy. When I instruct you to do something, it’s because I can anticipate what the outcome would be."

    "Because I love you so much (give a kiss), I try to help you by telling you not to do something. I want you to have fun with your video game. That’s why we bought it for you. However, school is not the place to enjoy it. I feel very disappointed in what you did. The reason you had (insert privilege here)taken away was because you disobeyed. Every time you disobey you will again lose a privilege. I expect to see you behaving obediently like the boy I know you are. In the future, whenever you feel tempted to disobey, talk to me about it first. I love you and I want to help you to be the best boy possible."

    The cognitive development of a ten year old should be able to understand this type of reasoning.

    The good news it that when you begin to reason with your child from a very early age, it gets easier as their cognitive development increases.

    In my coaching practice I notice that cognitive development recognition is an area where I do most of my parent coaching. If your need help don't wait. It is something you cannot afford to put off. Keep the lines of communication open by learning how to relate to your children at their level of cognitive development.

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