Anyone who has gone through the SFT program is aware of the difficulty of eliminating thinking errors from one’s thoughts. It requires a great deal of vigilance, patience and willpower. Adults of all ages struggle with taking their thoughts captive. Imagine then how much more difficult it can be for children to think accurately. Not only is a child’s maturity level unequal to that of an adult, but the developmental stages of the brain can actually make it next to impossible for a child to consider any point of view other than his own.
Most children go through the stage of egocentrism, meaning that their natural inclination is to think only of their own wants and desires, to the exclusion of all others. Though this egocentrism is something all humans struggle with, it is particularly acute in children. They have not yet learned that everyone does not see the world through their eyes. For example, children of a certain age believe that once they no longer see an object, it ceases to exist. This innate sense of self may also lead children to lie in an effort to protect their own interests. The lie does not necessarily have any intended disobedience behind it. The child simply sees it as a means to getting what they need, namely to avoid getting in trouble.
Though children fall prey to almost all of the thinking errors, just as adults do, there are several that seem to be particularly relevent to young minds. Jumping to conclusions is one that I see used all the tim in my work with children. This thinking error is fueled by that egocentric state of mind. Children can only see their own point of view so they automatically think that situations have happened exactly as they have percieved them to. Kate might get angry with James for picking up the marker she intended to use next. She assumes that because she though of using it next, James automatically knew she nedded it and took it anyway.
Check out Sara Hill’s Part 2 of this article next week for another common thinking error used by children and how these problems can be corrected.