On thinking well – Part one

On Thinking Well – Part One

My last post on PAS touched on the importance of “critical thinking.” I want to revisit what I believe is this all important subject.

Imagine yourself in an average sized auditorium which holds 100 adults. The speaker asks, “How many in this room believe they know how to think? Raise your hands.”

What do you believe would be everyone’s response? I agree; most, if not every one in the audience, would raise their hands. Why? Because all of us believe we are thinking people; hardly an argument is needed to the contrary.

But while we all do think, the question is better framed in this way: do we think correctly? My response is “no.” In fact, I suggest most of us do not properly think as we should.

“…[I]n essence, we cannot teach thinking well without knowing what is wrong with it-what needs to be corrected through education.  We teach Latin or calculus because students do not already know how to speak Latin or find integrals. But, by any reasonable description of thinking, students already know how to think, and the problem is that they do not do it as effectively as they might.”

https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron/papers/WhyTeachThinking.pdf

My last post on PAS, as noted above, touched on critical thinking, defined as “…the identification and evaluation of evidence to guide decision making. A critical thinker uses broad in-depth analysis of evidence to make decisions and communicate his/her beliefs clearly and accurately.”

I like this sentence: “…the identification and evaluation of evidence to guide decision making.” This is the part of correct thinking that many of us fail to incorporate into our daily lives. As this post reveals, I’m guilty of poor thinking myself and am susceptible to falling prey to wrong thinking as well.

When we deal with PAS, I see children who have been victimized by this pathology fall into the trap of making decisions toward the disfavored parent that is not based on the proper evaluation of evidence. And we cannot blame them for this because, of course, they are children: they have yet to gain the needed training and life experience required to become “critical thinkers.”

We have all heard the saying, “There’s two sides to every story.” Unfortunately, for children harmed by PAS, this “listening to both sides of the story” does not happen. Their feelings toward the disfavored parent are formed, by the most part, by what they are told—brainwashed—by the favored parent.

Are you a child of divorce that, for whatever reason, you have little or no contact with one of your parents? Do you find yourself hating or carrying strong feelings of resentment toward the other parent? Have you sat down with that disfavored/alienated parent and “heard their side of the story”?

Evidence proves that children victimized by PAS find it almost impossible to think critically toward the disfavored parent. In the child’s eyes, this parent is all bad and the favored parent is all good. But if you ask this child, especially if they have now become mature adults and no longer live at home, “Have you ever sat down with this parent and heard their side of the story?,” you will find they probably haven’t. In fact, the brainwashing they have been indoctrinated with does not allow them to consider this option.

In conclusion, if you are a child separated from one of your parents, and you think you may be a victim of PAS, I encourage you to send your alienated parent an email, text, or give them a call and suggest you make some time to “hear their side of the story.” You will be glad you did.