Encouraging Autonomy–Lessons from Parenting

From, “How to Talk to So Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk“, Faber & Mazlish

To Encourage Autonomy:

1. Let children students make choices

2. Show respect for a child’s student’s struggle

3. Don’t ask too many questions

4. Don’t rush to answer questions

5. Encourage children students to use sources outside the home classroom.

6. Don’t take away hope

To Praise

1. Describe what you see (instead of evaluating)

2. Sum of the praiseworthy behavior with a word

To Free Children Students from Playing Roles:

1. Look for opportunities to show the child student a new picture of himself or herself

2. Put children students in situations where they can see themselves differently

3. Model the behavior you’d like to see

4. Be a storehouse for the child’s students’ special moments

To Engage Cooperation:

1. Describe what you see or describe the problem

2. Give information

3. Sum up the situation with a word

4. Write a note

I’m likely going to use Chapter Four (encouraging autonomy) in my teaching of physics class. Here’s are two snippets:

And how could I let my children make mistakes and suffer failure when all they had to do was listen to me in the first place? You may be thinking, “What’s so terrible about helping children tie their shoelaces,or telling them how to resolve an argument,or seeing to it that they don’t make mistakes? After all children are younger and less experienced. They really are dependent on adults around them.

As much as we understand the importance of our children being independent, there are forces that work against us. First, there’s the matter of sheer convenience. Most of us today are busy and in a hurry. We usually wake children ourselves, button their bottoms, tell them what to eat and what to wear, because it seems so much easier and faster to do it for them. Then we have to cope with our strong feelings… We have to fight against seeing their failures as our failures. It’s hard to allow those so close and dear to us to struggle and make mistakes, when we’re certain that a few words of wisdom could protect them from pain. It also takes great restraint and self-discipline on our part not move in with advice, particularly when we’re sure we have the answer. I know to this day whenever one of my children asks, “Mom, what do you think I should do?” I have to sit on myself


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