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Your Child And Common Sense
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Your Child And Common Sense

Processing information given to us is a very important cognitive function. In life we need to be able to reasonably deduct the possibilities when we are given situations or when situations could appear. Without deductive reasoning, we can be lost and without what people commonly call common sense. To some extent, common sense can be taught and it can be learned. Common sense makes it much easier to go through life.

What do I mean by common sense? Common sense tells us to put shoes on if we go outside in 110 degree heat. Common sense also tells us more complicated information such as if we don’t sleep at night, we may not function properly the next day. Driving often involves both deductive reasoning and straight memory or rule obedience. Some people are gifted in having a lot of common sense and some are not.

Children that have suffered from malnutrition or heavy metal poisoning may have some cognitive defects. One of the most obvious cognitive errors you will notice is a difficulty or lack of deductive reasoning or common sense. This defect is commonly seen in the child from foreign institutions or orphanages. This type of defect may not be seen until the child reaches second or third grade. The reason for the delay in picking up the defect is because this is when the child begins to acquire the skill of more complex learning and relationships. Before the third grade most of the learning is rote memory and practice as in reading, learning ABC’s, and learning safety rules.

Subtle defects in processing can be seen in children that are age nine on up when you see them do pretty uninformed things and making bad decisions. For instance, food hoarding is very common with children that have come from orphanages or institutions or even have attachment problems. We teach and teach these kids not to hoard food or eat food that has been on the floor or in the trash, yet these kids often will grab food out of the trash or off the floor and eat it. That is a more obvious sign of a defect in processing the information that is available to them. And when you ask them why they took the food, the answer just may be, “because I wanted it”.

A more subtle sign of processing problems or lack of common sense can be seen in the example following: I needed to return dented cans at a pet food store. (My son is book smart) What we were doing and why we were doing it was explained to the children just before we went inside the pet store. I walked in and explained to the cashier that the cans were part of a case and I didn’t see that they were dented. One can was inside a container of dog biscuits and the cashier took them and put them beside the cash register. Attempting to give the kids independence and judge where they are, I asked my son to get a new can. Off he went. A few minutes pass and I ask my daughter to go get my son. About two minutes pass and first comes my son proudly holding a dented can. Soon follows my daughter proudly holding a case of food. Neither child properly processed the information given to them. My son stated that he thought I wanted a new dented can. After going through the scenario with him, he finally realized what he did. My daughter picked up the entire case because we had looked at the case the day before and purchased a few cases, so she thought I wanted the entire case. Neither child properly processed the information given to them.

I explained to the children that it is like cooking eggs. If the information isn’t processed, it is like serving raw eggs. They could understand that concept and took to it. Does it give them common sense? No, but it does lead to more teaching and opportunities to increase their common sense.

What can you do for the child that has average or above intellect with no common sense or has processing problems is practice, practice, practice. Find situations that they can safely encounter and teach them often and with repetition. Allow them to make their small errors and teach them after so that they can learn from their errors. Give them a natural diet and omega three fish oils. Limit their sugar and fast foods that have little nutritional value. Play games with the kids that have behavior or learning lessons in them. Love them, don’t indulge them.


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