Autonomy is our ability to make self-directed decisions. This does not mean that we’re alone in our decision making.
What it means is that our decisions reflect our own values and beliefs – not other people’s!
The research shows that we can help our children build autonomy in the context of relatedness and other people through mentoring groups. Today’s tip for building autonomy is to find a mentoring group for your child!
Building any of the Umbrella Skills is a great way to improve your child’s autonomy and internal locus of control. This is their perception that they have control over the direction of their lives instead of feeling that life is happening to them.
By focusing on each of the Umbrella Skills, you have already done great parenting work towards shifting your child to a more empowered view of their lives! Keep up the good work! You have been building your child’s autonomy all along!
These skills nurture your child’s ability to make strong, healthy and self-directed choices in life.
Report cards outline adult expectations for kids and give details of what we’re evaluating them on. This does not leave much opportunity for them to identify or act on their own goals.
Parents – you can help support your child’s autonomy by adding a few additional lines into their report card. Have them fill out these lines with their own self-directed goals. This gives your child an opportunity to work towards a goal with the process of learning under their control.
To help your child develop autonomy, you want them to take responsibility for their learning.
There will always be external factors at play in our lives. However, it can be easy for your children to externalize onto other people why certain things were not completed. For example, not preparing for a test because there was no reminder on the board.
It’s important that we hold our children accountable for their own learning. This lets them build a sense of confidence around their own abilities to learn and get things done, regardless of external factors.
To start this process, ask your child ‘What could you have done?’ Dr. Jen explains more in today’s video tip.
Welcome to March! This month, we are focusing our energy on building autonomy. In my personal journey of building my own umbrella, autonomy is something that I didn’t get a lot of through my childhood. As an adult, I have spent a lot of focus building out this particular hole in my umbrella. I can attest to the powerful skill that autonomy offers in moving us towards our goals and dreams.
What is Autonomy?
Autonomy is our child’s need to perceive that they have choices and that they are the source of their own actions.
It is their ability and confidence in making self-directed decisions and choices, especially when the situation is uncertain and not part of the usual routine. Autonomy helps us to feel motivated, engaged and satisfied with our lives and helps us apply energy in the right directions.
There is a universal desire to be active agents in our own lives. The impact of autonomy has been studied in over 80 countries around the world. Regardless of culture, autonomy is consistently linked to better life satisfaction.
The number one well-being benefit we get from autonomy is: feeling able to make our own decisions and have control over our path in life. This is not completely independent of the other people in our lives. As we will explore this month, maintaining healthy community while having your own direction creates powerful autonomy and is a big part of a well-rounded umbrella.