Thinking errors, also known as cognitive biases, are unconscious patterns of thinking that can lead to inaccurate or irrational thoughts and beliefs. These errors can affect people of all ages, but are particularly common in children and young people who are still developing their critical thinking skills.
Here are some common thinking errors in children and young people:
Black and White Thinking: This is when a child or young person sees things as either all good or all bad, with no in-between. This type of thinking can lead to feelings of frustration and disappointment when things don’t go as planned.
Overgeneralization: This is when a child or young person applies a single negative experience to a broader category of things, leading to negative beliefs about themselves or others. For example, a child who fails a test might believe they are a failure at everything.
Mind Reading: This is when a child or young person assumes they know what others are thinking or feeling, without any evidence to support their assumption. This type of thinking can lead to misunderstandings and conflict.
Catastrophizing: This is when a child or young person assumes that the worst possible outcome will happen, leading to anxiety and fear. For example, a child who is afraid of a dentist appointment might believe they will experience the most painful procedure possible.
Personalization: This is when a child or young person takes responsibility for things outside of their control, leading to feelings of guilt and shame. For example, a child who receives a bad grade might believe it’s because they are a bad person.
Selective Attention: This is when a child or young person focuses only on the negative aspects of a situation, ignoring any positive aspects. This type of thinking can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair.
Confirmation Bias: This is when a child or young person seeks out information that supports their beliefs, while ignoring information that contradicts them. This type of thinking can lead to rigid and inflexible beliefs.
It’s important to note that these thinking errors are normal and can be helpful in certain situations, but can become problematic when they become ingrained patterns of thinking. By recognizing and addressing these thinking errors, children and young people can develop healthier and more accurate ways of thinking.