Part of enjoying your kids’ childhood is talking and making friends with their parents at school, games, or parties. You’re all in the same stage of parenting, so it’s a fun network to be in. Your kids belong and are happy, parents connect, and it doesn’t take long to realize there are many shared beliefs and suppositions that most everyone agrees with.
Educational and cultural psychologist Jerome Bruner used the term folk wisdom to define these beliefs. Some folk wisdom is harmless. Other folk wisdom is just plain wrong. Why would we want to raise our children with inaccurate science?
Here are two examples:
If you go outside in cold weather without a jacket, you’ll get sick.
- Scientists state that people get sick from viruses, not because they didn’t wear a jacket.
If you give kids too much candy, they get hyperactive.
- No science confirms this. In fact, study after study has disproved this belief.
There are always parents–and even teachers–who claim that for their child / class, they’ve personally witnessed it. That’s all the proof they need to stick to their folk wisdom. But why promulgate something inaccurate?
When we teach our children to look at science, they learn to question, examine, think, and draw conclusions. Showing a child how to be a critical thinker is some of the best teaching parents can do.