YOUR LIFE ON BRAINWISE: PART 8 By Jane Wilson- Parent Engagement Specialist

When we need information but do not ask the right questions, we form opinions on partial information – last month we learned that asking the right questions involves using thinking skills and takes time to master. With practice, the brain is able to retrieve information faster and rapidly sort through the knowledge you have fed it, selecting what you need to ask the right questions.

When faced with an opportunity to make a decision, the first step is to Identify Your Choices, which is Wise Way #7. People who tend to rely on their Lizard Brain often act as if they have only one option. People who use thinking skills realize they have many choices. When you learn to identify all your choices, you send signals to your Wizard Brain for analysis, and it uses the banks of information it has stored. It is important to remember that not making a choice is a choice in itself.

BrainWise Wise Way #7 builds on the skills we have learned through the previous Wise Ways. Identifying your choices teaches kids that there is more than one way to respond to a problem. Lizard Brain thinkers respond impulsively and see only one way to react to a problem because they do not stop and think about other options. As far as they are concerned, they have no other choices. This lesson is important because the best learning comes when children identify for themselves the choices available in dealing with a problem.

Youth tend to only look at one or two alternatives and make a choice from those options. They do not consider the consequences when making a decision either. (We will look consequences next month). To help your kids get in the habit of generating as many choices (good and bad) as possible, ask them questions such as “Do you think that is your only choice?” and “What is another choice you have?” Encouraging kids to take responsibility of their choices will continue to foster their Wizard Brain connection.

For more information on Engaging Families and the BrainWise program, email

Melissa Lovato