Cultivating Your Child's Creativity (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 23, 2012

Although Liberman’s research is fascinating, it may seem that it cannot be applied in practice. After all, are parents and teachers supposed to show children a series of pictures before giving them anything to think about creatively? Obviously, the answer is more complex than that.

Here are several possible ways that parents (and teachers) can apply Liberman’s research:

·         Teach children about faraway places and diverse cultures. Understanding the various perspectives that exist in the world on issues that they may take for granted can expand children’s horizons and ways of thinking, another form of “psychological distance.”

·         Encourage children to think about how a situation might look from someone else’s perspective in order to give them some distance from the problem. For example, Liberman suggests that they might ask any of the following questions:

o   What does the other person feel and think?

o   What would somebody else think of the current situation?

o   What would an unbiased observer advise to do about this?

·         Encourage children to think about how they might think differently about a given situation a few years in the future, or how they might have thought differently about it a few years ago.

·         Show children how to move beyond themselves, and what is important to them at this stage in their lives.

·         Let children play games that involve imagination as much as possible, and to consider unusual alternatives to seemingly ordinary situations.

Liberman’s research also shows that the connection between psychological distancing and creativity is acquired at a young age – at least by the age of the children in this study. Perhaps the most important aspect of her research, however, is the fact that creativity can actually be a learned skill. “Many of us think of ability as being fixed, but mental functioning is very responsive to training and varies by situation,” says Liberman. In other words, when it comes to the nature vs. nurture controversy, it is important for parents to realize that creativity actually can be nurtured.

Therefore, open your child to new and exciting perspectives. Who knows? It may be this type of “psychological distancing” that gives them the creativity they’ll need to succeed later in life.

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