How and why you need to nudge your child to stop becoming an ostrich when it comes to seeing, confronting and understanding problems in life.
By Niyati Mehta
Did you know? An ostrich when confronted with danger or problem buries its head in a hole and simply denies the existence of the problem, thinking it will go away. Surprisingly this Ostrich Effect seems to be found in humans as well. According to psychologists the Ostrich Effect is the result of the conflict between what your rational mind knows is important but will also hurt you emotionally. To avoid the pain, you ignore the problem for as long as possible, only to respond in utter panic and stress when forced to act. The term Ostrich Effect was initially coined by two professors of finance Orly Sade and Dan Galai in 2006. They connected the term to investors who avoided risky financial situations simply by pretending they didn’t exist.
It is important to understand that when you begin succumbing to the Ostrich Effect you are nudging your children to follow your example of selective awareness. For e.g. you are not within your healthy weight limit but you continue to eat and drink what you enjoy. To a child this attitude is a message that condones irresponsible behavior and cultivates a brash attitude to problems in life.
Here we share with you some signs to help you understand if your child is becoming victim to the Ostrich Effect:
- He/she runs away at the sign of a problem and avoids confrontation.
- He/she turns to you for solutions when faced with difficulties.
- He/she get anxious about any situation that does not fall in their comfort zone.
Some simple and effective nudge ideas that can help you shape your child’s attitude and help them gain increased understanding and awareness are:
1.The Inspirational nudge
Message – Face don’t fear problems
Storytelling is often an effective nudge solution when it comes to children. Read to your child some books on real life heroes who faced and conquered their fears to emerge victorious in the journey of life. Instead of idolizing fictional superheroes or make believe characters, help your child idolize real heroes who faced adversities like true fighters. Who Says Women Can’t be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone and Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown are good examples of books in this genre.
2.The Solution Mindset Nudge
Message – A solution oriented mindset
As a parent you want to prepare your child to face challenges and developing a solution oriented mindset is vital for children. Every month challenge your child with a fun problem – It could be a Rubik’s cube for young kids, a complicated algorithm for older children or even damaged household equipment such as an old radio that you can ask them to help you repair. The idea is to slowly nudge your child’s mind to be able to:
-have the awareness to see a problem from various perspectives.
-gather all the necessary information and have a comprehensive understanding of the situation before seeking the best possible solution.
3.Let’s Learning to Grow Nudge
Message – Nurture an open mind and rational thinking.
Nudge yourself to focus on the growth mindset when it comes to your child. Encourage your child to try something new once every 3 months and gather life experiences over gifting them materialistic things such as toys and other treats. Take a camping trip or go trekking with your daughter. Teach your son how to stargaze or attend a cooking workshop with him. The idea is to always attempt to create and recreate new zones for your little one so that there is no one comfort zone that he/she prefers to stay in.
Adele Faber, a renowned author and expert of communication between parents and children said this “When we give children advice or instant solutions, we deprive them of the experience that comes from wrestling with their own problems.” As far as understanding the Ostrich effect and its repercussions on children, we at NFK can definitely say we couldn’t agree more.
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