“Common sense” can be a hard thing to define, even though we all know what it means. Putting it simply, common sense involves the knowledge we use on a day-to-day basis but that may not be explicitly written down or studied for.
For example, lighting a scented candle in your living room and then placing it away from your curtains is explicitly a fire safety issue you can learn about on your own, but most people have the common sense necessary to avoid doing that, understanding the curtains are flammable, and this could lead to an unfortunate outcome.
To What Degree Should Parents Teach “Common Sense?”
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Of course, that’s not to say that everyone has common sense, nor that they’re worse people for lacking it. We all make silly mistakes from time to time and assume outcomes incorrectly. Moreover, some may have developmental or learning disorders that, of course, require a little more care, and as such they will be respectfully excluded from this advice.
It’s worth knowing, then, to what degree should parents teach their children “common sense?” After all, a parent doesn’t teach a child all they know, that can come from their teachers, or peers, even learning certain things about society from the television programs they see.
In this post, we’ll discuss to what degree parents should teach common sense, and how that could benefit them in the long run.
Basic Common Knowledge
Common sense doesn’t come from a vacuum, it most often sprouts from the general working knowledge we have about the world. Some of this comes from life experience, and we continue learning it until our final days.
That said, children can benefit from learning the basics that help them thrive in the world they’re learning to be part of. School will, in part, help them with this, but so can you. That might involve using presidents on coins worksheet assistance to teach them the history of how the country they live in has developed, and how that influences who they are to this very day.
You can also give simple quizzes, perhaps when you’re driving home from school or heading on a trip to the grocery store – like losing all the planets in the solar system from the sun. While this might not be as structured as you might see in a learning environment, having a natural curiosity and love for knowledge as a family can gently nudge your kids in the right direction.
A Curiosity For Culture
Families that love and engage in societal culture tend to be more connected and insightful than those that don’t. This doesn’t mean you have to go to every single Broadway show, visit every single museum in the state, or travel to every country.
That said, it’s nice to have a presence in some of these areas. Heading to the local art gallery at the weekend or visiting local landmarks can be a brilliant method of teaching your children to appreciate their heritage and culture where it happens.
There may even be some unique and wonderful institutions near you, for example, a planetarium or aquarium. But how does this help with common-sense understanding?
Well, perhaps you’ve been to the aquarium and have learned the difference between cold water and saltwater fish. Perhaps this could help your child better keep fish as a pet when they grow older, knowing how to care for them before purchase. These lessons we adapt to in childhood and our teen years can carry with us for years, to the point where we might not even fully appreciate their relevance until we grow older and reflect.
Some say that the habits you build in your childhood years will last a lifetime. Is this true? Well, we believe it can be, to a significant degree, at least. For example, self-care is common sense. Yet it’s true that many who didn’t have their parents there to constantly nag them to brush their teeth morning and night might not adopt the habit anew in adulthood unless their dentist stresses this to them.
The same goes for cleaning their personal space, taking pride in organization, being polite and humble, and learning to share with others. Is this common sense? We believe so, after all, what better sense is there than managing your life and well-being on a daily basis?
It’s not just hygienic habits that last, though. For example, if you teach your teenager to volume control their television and game console every night when other family members go to sleep, perhaps they’ll avert an argument with a testy apartment neighbor later in life. Little things like this really do make a difference, as values are often the pillars that support common sense.
Independent & Critical Thinking
The irony in “teaching” common sense is that common sense isn’t always taught. Common sense is about being able to figure out a sensible course of action despite not having all of the answers: see our previous example about where to place your scented candle.
As such, teaching our children to be independent and critical thinkers is ideal. When they become teens, we might discuss a news story, reading coverage from a left-leaning broadsheet newspaper, and the same from a right-learning tabloid. Here you can show them how certain narratives are crafted, conclusions are drawn, and details may be omitted depending on what took place. You could also discuss how they feel about the story, what emotions were being pulled by the writing, and what they think the goal of each piece was.
This isn’t to lean them in a specific political direction, but more to give them the tools to think for themselves, to understand the facts, and to be more secure in their own perspective. This example is hardly exhaustive nor the only one, but it shows how critical thinking can help you develop robust and educated children.
A Love For Learning
Ultimately, people can only be taught so much, even if they’re Albert Einstein. It’s a curiosity for knowledge, learning, and expressing themselves beyond what one knows is where real education is found, and you can teach that to your kids, also.
For example, it might be that they hope to learn martial arts. Encouraging that hobby by paying for and taking them to lessons could help them become more aware of themselves, more confident in a contact sport, and more capable of understanding the threats around them and how to avoid conflict and fights as they grow into adult – a valuable skill that many people could learn, and certainly common sense.
Exposure to new ideas, new practices and pursuits rounds off the knowledge of those lucky enough to have this attitude. Of course, “just learn for life!” hardly sounds like practical advice for those looking to adopt common sense, but really, this is the best possible method of earning it.
A love for learning means your child will continue to grow independently and take it upon themselves to grow their understanding of this very strange, very wonderful, very complex world we find ourselves in. They may even stretch their understanding to other cultures and how they view the world, including the common sense found there, built from a unique point of view. A love for learning will keep them safer, more interested, more successful and more willing to live in the first place than any other tip on this list, and of course, we hope our children have all of that and more.
With this advice, you’re sure to see to what degree parents should teach common sense, and how to achieve the best outcome.