[callout]Every Wednesday, I’ll post about multiple intelligences so we can better understand children and why they do what they do.[/callout]
When our children or students are frustrated and what we say to them isn’t helpful, we add to their frustration. Our input needs to be relevant. If not, it might be better to not say anything. Of course, that’s not a good idea. Children need our input. Therefore, we need to know them and be alert to the situation.
One of the most relevant things to pay attention to is how children are smart. For example, when they’re logic smart they think with questions and like it when things make sense. This intelligence can cause frustrations both for children who have a lot of it and those who don’t.
When logic smart is a strength, children may get frustrated when people don’t make sense. If your rules don’t seem justifiable to them, they’ll let you know. If your instructions are fuzzy, ambiguous, or contradictory, their frustration will grow. Sometimes, even when your advice is solid, if it varies from what a teacher has recommended, they may not handle it well. Also, opinions we can’t seem to defend may also be hard for these kids to accept.
Other issues that may frustrate children with logic-smart strengths include thinking too deeply. This can be an issue for me. I always want to think, but sometimes asking questions and pondering things isn’t necessary. This can make small talk with friends frustrating. And, even when a teacher says to do something quickly, these kids may not be able to. Also, being satisfied and finished with writing assignments, experiments, and test answers is hard because they may be concerned about not thinking with one question that would have provided another insight. (I almost always give myself a time limit when writing these blogs because otherwise I’ll keep thinking and thinking and thinking!)
Fiction can be challenging for logic-smart students. This, too, is an issue for me. We think about everything and we almost always prefer reading nonfiction. (People who also have picture-smart strengths will enjoy and be quite good at reading both nonfiction and fiction.) When I transition from nonfiction to fiction, I have to choose to not ask as many questions as I read. I have to choose to relax and realize I don’t need to remember every detail. I also have to choose to work to picture the plot so I’ll enjoy what I’m reading more.
One of the best things to do is to let your kids know these things are challenging not because they’re stupid, but because of how they are smart. This can take off so much pressure and remove negative feelings!
When logic smart is not a strength, math can be an academic weakness. We may have to decide to be grateful when our children earn a B or a C because their grades could have been a C or a D. The logic of math just doesn’t make sense to kids without a lot of this intelligence. It doesn’t seem logical. The order and consistency, that looks obvious to those of us with strengths in this smart, alludes these kids.
Rather than pointing out what’s logical, it’s probably smarter to think about which intelligences these kids have that they can think with while working on math. For instance, if they have picture-smart strengths, they can picture the problem in their mind and even sketch what they see. They can use their word-smart strengths by talking about the problem and perhaps making up stories to go with it. If they’re people smart, they can study with others.
Science problem-solving may be another weakness for kids who don’t have lots of logic-smart ability. Where problem solving comes naturally to those of us who are logic smart, these kids will have trouble hypothesizing, predicting, and thinking about cause-effect relationships. They may not see a sequence obvious to the rest of us. They won’t be able to think of questions to ask to get to the answers the teacher says are obvious.
It can help to show them how to find key words in paragraphs and to model for them how you think of questions to direct your thinking. Talking about problem solving and how you find solutions in everyday life around your home, while you’re working in the garage, while you’re out shopping, etc., can also be helpful.
I hope these ideas for increasing your children’s confidence by considering their logic-smart abilities have been helpful. Let me know.
Recent responses to a survey we sent out made it clear many parents are concerned about things their children are and aren’t doing. A common thread to their comments was children’s confidence so I wrote this post to help you increase children’s confidence so they’ll be better and do better. (You can find titles and links to the other posts about confidence in the right sidebar.)