19 Intellectual Changes Students in the upper elementary grades are ready to explore the world and learn about life. They are beginning to think more abstractly, and they can handle more complex intellectual tasks. They also have a strong sense of what’s fair. Parents can help their children develop intellectually by discussing serious topics with them, by giving them opportunities to express their opinions, and by showing respect for their ideas. Students this age are better able to process information and make decisions. This is therefore a good time to help children develop their decision-making skills. Parents can help their children learn how to make good choices and decisions by giving them increasing opportunities to make their own decisions (when to do homework, what clothes to wear, what sport to play, etc.). Parents should encourage their children to look at the pros and cons of each choice, and to also consider the consequences of their choices and decisions. By allowing children to make small “safe” decisions, parents are helping their children develop the skills they will need to make the bigger, more important decisions later. “There are two great things that you can give your children: one is roots, the other is wings.” Hodding Carter, author