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  • Mary Smith

Only My Opinion Counts: The Myside Bias



ONLY MY OPINION COUNTS: THE MYSIDE BIAS What is it? When our children are tiny, it is easy for our conversation to be one-sided: we tell them, choose for them, explain to them. Our brains are more wired to decide than to discuss so even when children begin having their own emotions, thoughts and desires, our impulse to control the conversation doesn't naturally disappear. When we think we know best for our children, it is natural to search for evidence and evaluate evidence in a way that favors our initial beliefs, something that is referred to as myside bias. Connection, however, requires 'hearing' your child and validating their feelings, which is more difficult with a heavy myside bias. How to Address It? Open-mindedness is the willingness to actively hear evidence against our preferred beliefs, plans, or goals, and to weigh such evidence fairly. One way to do this with children is to ask open-ended questions with an open mind. Think of a topic that you consistently argue about with any of your children or a power struggle that you consistently have. Now, take their position and think of 3 substantial reasons why their point of view is valid. Next time it comes up, give them a chance to actually influence your thoughts or your decisions. GOT A MINUTE? Look for an opportunity where you are having a disagreement and feel yourself clinging tightly to your beliefs. Give space for your child to share his feelings and the reasons behind them, and try to make the arguement in your head that he's right. It's OK to disagree in the end - but she will be more likely to listen once she's been listened to. Take note of how you feel when the discussion is finished. Let me know how it goes.