Inductive Versus Deductive Parenting

Inductive Versus Deductive Parenting

There are two types of strategies typically used for problem-solving.  One is inductive reasoning.  That is where you look at a collection of facts and circumstances and then make an educated guess, or induce, what is likely to happen.  The other is deductive reasoning.  That is where you look at the end result and then figure out, or deduce, how it came about.  While the former method is occasionally effective, the latter almost always guarantees the right solution.

Regrettably, when it comes to promoting their child’s future success in school, many parents go with inductive reasoning.  They come to the seemingly sensible conclusion that if their young child is to do well in first grade and beyond, she should be engaging in highly structured academically-oriented activities as early as possible.

However, if they were to pursue deductive reasoning, they would realize that the children who are excelling in school are actually spending their early years in play-based programs.  There is overwhelming research evidence from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, from the Harvard Preschool Project, and numerous other sources indicating that while young children who engage in highly structured academically-oriented activities are “trained” to perform some superficially impressive behaviors, it is the young children who are truly “educated” through fun, fascinating, free-form activities who develop the broad concepts, general skills, and love of learning that allow them to succeed in school later on.

When an early childhood education expert says something like this, to a parent’s ear it may sound like he is saying, “Throw away the broccoli and carrots.  What your child needs are Twinkies and hot fudge sundaes.”  And it is hard to imagine that your neighbor’s child who is producing Mozart sonatas on a little violin and reciting Shakespeare sonnets with perfect diction isn’t racing ahead while your child is wasting so much time just “playing around” at Romp n’ Roll.  But if you abandon iffy assumptions and go with hard facts, you can rest assured that enrolling your child in Romp n’ Roll is really the way to go.

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