Danger Explainers Convince Kids Better Than Do Edict Issuers




This is Scientific American 60-Second Mind, I'm Christie Nicholson. Got a minute?
An eight-year-old may view a hammer as a toy.
The parent, however, sees it as a soon-to-be broken finger.
Children and parents are rarely on the same page when it comes to potential danger.
And when the child is denied a seemingly fun activity with an authoritarian, "No, that's not safe," there's a high chance of conflict.
But explaining why something is dangerous gets better results, according to a study in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.
Researchers showed 63 mothers and their eight- and 10-year-olds photos of children engaged in various dicey endeavors, like chopping wood with an axe or riding a skateboard.
Each pair then tried to agree on a safety rating for each situation.
And moms were much better able to convince the child of the danger when they followed a couple of rules.
The most convincing moms first focused on the reasons that made the situation dangerous, like that ladder is high and wobbly.
Next they pointed out possible consequences: if you climb the ladder you could lose your balance and fall.
It may sound obvious but the researchers say that offering reasonable explanations allows children to become more skilled at assessing similar situations on their own.
And this will help them avoid learning lessons about potential danger the hard way.
Thanks for the minute, for Scientific American 60-Second Mind. I'm Christie Nicholson.