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Mental Health Perspectives: The Decline of Critical Thinking Skills

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Unfortunately, the reported decline in thinking ability is occurring at a time when there are increasing shortages of quali­fied candidates for jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Indeed, a young adult whose brain has been “wired” to be innovative, think critically, and problem solve is at a tremendous competitive advantage in today’s increasingly complex and competitive world. Because of this, parents should consciously seek to foster independence, problem solving, critical thinking, and reasoning in their young children. This can be done by implementing an intuitive developmental “dance” between parents and their developing children; which provides everything needed to foster and nurture proper brain development and automatically yields hundreds of thousands of learning opportunities during critical learning periods.

It is vital to bear in mind that the acquisition of problem-solving skills is the direct result of children’s immature, incomplete, and often incorrect attempts to engage with the world that trigger authentic feedback and consequences. Rather than being psychologically damaging events, a child’s unsuccessful attempts are actually opportunities for them to learn persistence and resilience—as well as how to think when things don’t work out quite as they hoped. Indeed, “failure” and overcoming failure are essential events that trigger that neurological development that underpins thinking ability: Opportunities for a child to try—and to fail and then try again—are a crucial part of learning and brain development and should be sought out rather than avoided.

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