Stage 4 The Formal Operation Stage

In this post you will learn what how your child is thinking now, and what you can do to set them up so they can grow the intelligence and self esteem, so you worry less about them in the future and just help them when it is needed.

To at around 11 years of age they can now start thinking in abstracts, now that might not mean much to you because of the word abstract , but to illustrate the point I would you think about a time you have played a video game using a character or an avatar. You know as an adult from experience that this is just a game it is not real and you go through the different levels of the game and trying to anticipate what will happen next knowing that this is not real, it may not exist in real life and it may even be a fantasy, this is how we can understand abstract.

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This is how your child is using understanding and thinking to look at hypothetical situations and try to figure out the possibilities of what may happen and what they have been told is true or not. This maybe why superhero movies do so well because of the possibilities that you may be able to do some of the things the superhero’s can do.

The other very important factor that is sometimes overlooked because it sometimes feels weird doing it, is the meta thinking.

Meta thinking is thinking about your thinking, so you get to reflect on your belief and values and if done correctly feeling why certain things feel right or wrong. In other words why do you believe the things that you believe, is it because your parents have told you to believe it or friends or family.

Now imagine as parent knowing this insight what questions and strategies do you need to do in order to prepare your child into adulthood.

The other thing to note about formal operation stage is that unlike the other stages where progression to the next stage is automatic this is not. So any thinking patterns and believes you develop in stage will remain with that child for a long term until they develop wisdom and it proves to be not true. For example superstitious believes, walking under a ladder, wearing a certain colour or a luck charm.

So what can you do as a parent to help them develop critical thinking and essentially make them smarter, well a couple of things really, firstly ask them questions on hypothetical situations like what happen if there were no more wheels in the world, or what would happen if we had no thumbs, and get them to give you not just one answers but a minimum of 10 deferent answers.

Now this stage is a very important stage and I would highly recommend that you get help and coaching for this stage of development, so please feel free to get in touch with me at: