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Home I want my children to be critical thinkers! What is the key to growing my teens' critical thinking skills?

I want my children to be critical thinkers! What is the key to growing my teens' critical thinking skills?


As parents, you have poured a lot of care, dedication and hard work in raising your children. Now that they are in their teens, you want to prepare them for their life as  future adults. You want to equip them with life skills that will set them for success. 

The good news is that your hard work was not in vain! The skills you have taught them in childhood will serve as building blocks for other life skills they will develop in their teens. As they are practiced, they continue to be reinforced as they grow older. This is the case for critical thinking skills. 

Focusing on critical thinking in teens

Information is easy to get in this modern world. But beyond memorizing and knowing these facts, the ability to analyze information, think for one’s self, and make wise decisions have become more important. 

In addition, critical thinking skills make children understand what is happening around them, understand themselves, and build their own identity. 

Teens normally display unique behaviors as their mind matures and their social life takes a more important role in their lives. As their brain develops fast, practicing critical thinking enables them to use more complex reasoning. It helps them analyze information and use it to work with others. 

In terms of social changes, they have a tendency to conform to the behaviors of their peers, but with critical thinking, they can respond better to social pressures. 

Passing critical thinking skills to teens

  • Give opportunities to express their thoughts and opinions. 

Teens have a tendency to question the status quo. If parents take it personally, it can be hurtful and lead to negative feelings in the relationship. But when teens are given a chance to lay down their argument, practice putting up logical conclusions, they can learn without feeling repressed at home. 

When home is a place where they are allowed to ask difficult questions at home, they can apply the same critical thinking to pressures from the outside. 

  • Talk about values and ethics. 

Teens develop a keen eye for dilemmas. Parents can present these dilemmas to teens and encourage them to view them from different perspectives,  weigh options, choose their side and talk about insights from their choices. They learn to think about consequences of decisions and they strengthen their morals. 

  • Fuel curiosity and learning. 

How can parents encourage research and investigation? Be good models to them. One of the skills that support critical thinking is the love for reading and parents can show teens their own love for books. The same thing goes for art appreciation. 

  • Teach them to evaluate information. 

Teens’ decision making should be based on reliable and credible information. When parents teach them how to assess credible sources of information, how to search for evidence and how to differentiate between facts from opinions, teens are able to work their way around the trove of information, especially online. 

  • Stir up self reflection

Experience only becomes the best teacher when we learn things from it. Stir up the habit of self reflection in teens by asking them open-ended questions about their experiences, and the things they learned from them. Are there things they would have done differently if given the chance? How can their realization be applied to future situations? With these, they are able to see patterns in their behavior and plan for changes. 

  • Provide opportunities for application. 

What activities at home and outside can you do with your teens that can help them apply their critical thinking skills? Engage in experiments and home projects, so that their skills become meaningful to them. For example, if your family is taking a trip together, involve your teen in making the itinerary and making the budget work. This gives them a chance to do their research, search information, and find workarounds to challenges. 

Parents have the opportunity to provide both opportunities to engage in issues and guidance. When our teens develop the power of critical thinking and using effective ways to think and decide, they are equipped with a stable foundation in their school and personal lives. 

Do you have healthcare jobs to offer? Post your available jobs and connect with qualified professionals in the healthcare industry! 

I want my children to be critical thinkers! What is the key to growing my teens' critical thinking skills?
Brandon Resasco