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“Want a self-driven child? Start with the basics with your child: You are the expert on you. You have a brain in your head. You want your life to work.” – William Stixrud/ Ned Johnson

Self-driven, or self-motivated, means to be motivated by your interest and enthusiasm. It’s a desire to work hard and achieve that comes from within and it is critical to success. 

We are born with this! Babies work hard at crawling and walking because of their enthusiasm and desire to ‘GO!’ and move and explore. We trust that they know what they need to do. 

As our children grow, we sometimes start to lose that trust. We are afraid that they don’t know what they need or want and we have to step in and try to control things. 

The problem is that control, or micro-managing, kills our internal motivation. 

Picture you have a job for which you are expertly qualified and experienced. But you have a manager who not only tells you every little thing you should do, but requires that you get their approval before proceeding with anything. 

But what if your manager said, “I know you are well-qualified for this work and want to do well. Let me know if you need any guidance from me. I trust you know your job.”

In which scenario would you feel more motivated?

In the same way, we need to trust that our children are the experts on themselves and their lives and not step in thinking we always know better.

This doesn’t mean that they are in charge. It means we give them space to make real and meaningful decisions about their lives. 

We let them wear no socks with their snow boots, even if we think that would be really uncomfortable. They’re the experts on their feet.

We don’t make them finish their dinner, even though we think they haven’t eaten enough. They’re the experts on their tummies. 

We let them stop taking dance, even though we think they are a wonderful dancer. They’re the expert on what they like to do.

We don’t try to make them take the hard math class in high school when they say they want to go to art school, even though we want them to keep their options open. They have a brain in their head and they want their life to work out.

They might make mistakes or bad choices. That’s okay. Experiencing making decisions is the only thing that makes you better at making decisions. 

We start from here: We trust our kids so that they learn to trust themselves. We can only be self-driven when we know and trust what’s inside ourselves and have the freedom to actualize it.

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Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three big kids (ages 14, 17, and 20). Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to, “We’ve got this!”

Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com

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