Critical Thinking and Negative Thinking

The Meaning of the Word “No”

“No” is one of the first words that an infant begins to understand. The world is a dangerous place where many things are forbidden.

  • Often the “no” is said in a voice that means that a young baby quickly learns the meaning.
  • The expression and the tone of the voice send to signal to stop.

As a parent, I consciously tried not to overuse the word “no”. By not overusing a word, it is more effective when you really need to use it.

I also wanted my daughter to grow up in a world filled with opportunities, and I tried to capture her attention and lure her away from dangerous situations rather than to say ”no”. As a result, my daughter, to my joy and worry, throw herself fearlessly into the world.

Stop and Explore

Most of the time, I enjoyed having a fearless daughter but there were moments when I wished that I had taught her to stop and explore the situation before tumbling down the hill! It is important to explore the world in different way, and helping a young child to consider a situation from different perspectives. Looking and searching for negative aspects in life can easily lead to a negative attitude to life and I wanted to teach my daughter to embrace things.

Critical Thinking vs. Negative Thinking
When a child grows up, she eventually learns to criticise and critically examine the world. To teach your child to think critically is important but a child should learn to separate negative thinking and critical.

  • To explore the negative aspects of an object or situation should be made in a way so that new possibilities and solutions can be found.
  • Finding faults should be done with the explicit goal to find new possibilities.
  • Thinking should examine and explore dangers and negative aspects of a situation, not be of a negative character.
  • Help your child to figure out different things that might not be good about an idea without making strong negative remarks.
  • Move forward in the thinking rather than explore the world in a negative manner.
  • Some things are bad or dangerous but acknowledging this is enough.
  • The vital thing is what you can do to avoid the situation or improve the situation.

What is the Focus?
Actively focusing on what may work in a situation without concentrating on how you feel about a situation is difficult.

Feelings and emotions are fine, but when a child explores the danger with a situation, she should try to do this without simply relying on what she feels about the situation.

A child may have difficulty discussing whether it is dangerous to eat ten ice creams in a row because they cannot distinguish between the nice feeling of eating ice cream and the facts about eating.

  • Examining a situation and exploring possibly problems that certain behaviour can lead to “sometime” in the future is important.
  • You can use the Black Hat, the critical thinking hat, as tool to help your child explore the dangers with a decision, idea, or situation.
  • This tool allows your child  to explore the danger and to search for possible ways to solve a problem.


Try to encourage your child to look for similar situations and experiences. Discuss the problem and examine the difficulties rather than simply say “no”.

The aim is to search for underlying assumptions rather than to use arguments or criticise.  To develop this kind of thinking takes time.

The critical thinking that is used to weight the positive and negative things together and the Black Hat thinking tool may sound easy to use. Many people believe that this way of thinking is the most common form. But it is possible that negative thinking rather than critical thinking is the most used type of thinking.

  • Using critical thinking or the Black Hat  is difficult.
  • It is a way of  checking the real world and to use the facts and experiences without making a negative judgment.

Photo: Cute Girl Surprised When Her Hotdog Is Too Hot by Stuart Miles

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