Self Direction 101: Protecting Your Child’s Autonomy

The Big Question:

Will people understand what you’re doing and why?

Your Challenge For The Week:

You are not required to have all the answers. Practice saying “I don’t know. Let’s find out!”.

There is a common adult urge to have an answer for all questions. Not only does this fail to model a willingness to be wrong, make mistakes, and learn new things to our children – it also influences how we respond when other adults challenge our parenting decisions. When other adults challenge our decisions, we often feel a need to have the right answer, immediately.

Practicing saying “I don’t know” can allow us to answer other adults more authentically and without the pressure of saying the “right” thing. 

What if she chooses not to do math? I don’t know. We’ll find out and work through it together. 

What happens if he doesn’t learn to read this year? I don’t know. We’ll have to cross that bridge if we come to it. 

What happens if they want to go to college? I don’t know. They’re only 7 so we’ll figure that out together when the time comes.

Saying “I don’t know” and identifying your willingness to partner with your child to find the answers gives your child the space to do the same when confronted with challenging questions.

Journal Prompt #1

When you were a child, did you enjoy showing off new things you learned or completed? What about when you were asked to show off things you were forced to learn? Did you enjoy performing for others as much? Why or why not?

Journal Prompt #2 

Have you given your child permission to say “no” to adults when they are asked to perform or “show off”? Why or why not? What’s holding you back?

Dig Deeper…