How to Prevent Your Children from Developing the Same Biases as You Do

Preventing your children from developing the same “bias” thinking that you have can be challenging. Here are some excellent tips and advice.

A type of thought pattern that arises from our own personal experiences and observations is known as cognitive bias.

Defining Cognitive Bias.

We all have cognitive biases based on what we’ve learned and seen in the past. It’s a problem because it can get in the way of our ability to pick up new knowledge and keep us from being open to other viewpoints.

What Types of Cognitive Biases Are There?

There are around 175 cognitive biases that a person can suffer from. There are, however, several that are frequently encountered.

As a general rule, we tend to construct our opinions based on the initial facts we receive about a subject.

  • Attention Bias: Focuses on memorizing the most crucial information to your current survival needs while overlooking other aspects.
  • Authority Bias: A tendency to place undue emphasis on those in positions of power
  • Bias in favor of information that supports one’s preexisting beliefs, also known as confirmation seeking or confirmation receiving.
  • Bias in favor of conservatism: Taking into account only what is already known rather than new information.
  • Halo Effect: Assuming a single attribute is reflective of the complete person, such as gorgeous individuals being kind and intelligent.
  • If your acts or opinions are not widely accepted, it is called the “False Consensus Effect.”
  • Self-Serving Bias: Putting the blame for failure, weaknesses, and shortcomings on external factors—or people.
  • Negative events are less likely to occur if you are optimistic.

Of course, you’re probably wondering what this means for parents. In other words, what impact do our cognitive biases have on our children? 

As an example of prejudice, if you’ve ever said, “my child could never do XYZ; they are too smart/good/well-behaved,” then bias has influenced your views and judgments. 

The belief that your child must do something in a specific way or period in order to achieve it is an example of cognitive bias.

Is there a biological basis for cognitive biases?

Biases, in general, are shortcuts that allow our brains to organize information and build rules that mean we don’t have to invest the same energy into evaluating every new contact or experience.

Some of our biases come from the values and beliefs that we share with our parents. This has the potential to alter our preconceived notions about the world.

Cognitive bias can be passed on from parents to children.

To avoid misinterpreting people and circumstances around us due to our own “biased” perspective of the world, we must keep an eye out for cognitive biases. 

Avoid passing on these biases by studying, analyzing, and counteracting them. For our own children’s sake, we do not wish to instill in them harmful attitudes unintentionally.

This, of course, is more difficult than it appears. It’s like, how do you undo years of unconscious thinking? To begin, you must acknowledge your own biases. Your thinking skills can be improved by accepting and reworking them.

Reflection and self-awareness are essential. 

To effectively plan for the future, it’s important to look back at the past. Asking questions is a good way to learn more. By acknowledging our thinking isn’t always correct, we learn to accept discomfort. 

The ability to self-guide cognitive reorganization is something you can teach your children to do. Redirect them gently, offer an alternative perspective, process this change, and have a more open attitude with them when you observe them demonstrating a cognitive distortion.

With these information you can now formulate better techniques in preventing your children from developing the same “bias” thinking that you have.

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