The gift of introspection

Psychologist & Author Edwin Locke, PhD, explains the gift of introspection for children and how parents can help develop their child's own introspection
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The gift of introspection

Another thing that parents usually don't think about is teaching the child to understand the motions. The skill nobody teaches in school, nobody teaches anywhere is called Introspection which is the opposite of Extraspection. Extraspection is looking outwards, everyone does that, they see the world. Introspection is looking inwards, at your own thoughts and feelings. It's invaluable for a child to learn to Introspect. In the case of emotions, which is one of the most difficult things; children can be taught that emotions are not undecipherable, mysterious primaries that can't be grasped. All emotions, other than ones caused by brain disorders or hormonal disorders, are caused by subconscious ideas; ideas not in awareness now but ideas which you hold. For example, let's say you're child is very angry because you gave them a consequence they didn't like for not doing something they're supposed to do. For example they tried to watch TV and they didn't do their homework, so you take away TV for the week or something like that; now the child will experience the emotion anger so what can you do to help? You say, "Okay, I know what you're feeling, you're feeling angry, right?" The child says, "Yes, that was so unfair." You say, "The reason you're feeling angry is because you thought I was treating you unjustly, right?" "Yes!" So I'd say, "So your emotion of anger was caused by an idea which was injustice. So do you understand what I'm saying to you that your emotions are caused by an idea? They're not mysterious?" A child learning that emotions have causes that can be identified consciously and are not mysterious or ineffable or ungraspable is a very variable thing for a child to learn, and by the way, for an adult because most adults can't do it either.

Psychologist & Author Edwin Locke, PhD, explains the gift of introspection for children and how parents can help develop their child's own introspection


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Edwin A. Locke, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Edwin A. Locke, PhD, is Dean's Professor (Emeritus) of Leadership and Motivation at the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his BA from Harvard in 1960 and his PhD in Industrial Psychology from Cornell University in 1964.He has published over 300 chapters, notes and articles in professional journals, on such subjects as work motivation, job satisfaction, incentives, and the philosophy of science. He is also the author or editor of 12 books, including The Selfish Path to Romance: How to Love with Passion and Reason, Study Methods and Study Motivation, Goal Setting: A Motivational Technique That Works, A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance, Handbook of Principles of Organizational Behavior, The Prime Movers: Traits of the Great Wealth Creators  and Postmodernism and Management: Pros, Cons and the Alternative. He is internationally known for his research on goal setting. A recent survey found that Locke's goal setting theory (developed with G. Latham) was ranked #1 in importance among 73 management theories. His work has been supported by numerous research grants, and he has served as consultant to research firms and private businesses.Dr. Locke has been elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Academy of Management, and has been a consulting editor for leading journals. He was a winner of the Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award at the University of Maryland, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Career Contribution Award from the Academy of Management (Human Resource Division), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Management (Organizational Behavior Division), and the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science. He has been a writer and lecturer for the Ayn Rand Institute and is interested in the application of the philosophy of Objectivism to behavioral sciences.

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