The Art of Manliness – The Self-Driven Child

Intro
  • Rates of anxiety and depression are up among school-aged children and teens 
  • Bill Stixurd is a clinical neuropsychologist and Ned Johnson is a college test prep coach
The Self-Driven Child
  • As a clinical psychologist, Bill has noticed quite an increase in anxiety and depressive disorders
  • Ned, as a test prep coach, has observed many students who are extremely stressed about high school
  • “You can’t become truly self motivated in a healthy way, unless you have a sense of autonomy over your own life” – Bill
  • “A certain amount of stress is good, but too much stress is distress” – Ned
Anxiety and Depression
  • A lack of a sense of control, is one of the major drivers of these high rates of anxiety and depression for kids
    • Compared to young people 20-30 years ago, the feeling of a loss of control has sky rocketed
    • Our culture has this idea that there’s a very narrow path to success – achieved only by doing well in school.
    • “It feels like, to a lot of people, that all great things in life – a great home, spouse, vacation, etc. – all results from how we do academically” 
      • “We know this isn’t true, there are so many paths that someone can take to find success” – Ned
  • Sleep deprivation also accelerates feelings of anxiety and depression
    • “The proper way to success, is to work hard and rest hard”
    • Our culture prides itself on a lack of sleep, which needs to stop
  • Check out Has the Smart Phone Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic
  • For more on anxiety, check out these Podcast Notes on how to better deal with anxiety
The Locus of Control
  • The prefrontal cortex regulates the amygdala
    • Roles of the prefrontal cortex – planning, logical thinking
    • Roles of the amygdala – the brain’s threat detection system
    • Some kids are born more prone to stress – their amygdala is much more sensitive to signs of threat, due to a lack of control by the prefrontal cortex
    • To further the development of the prefrontal cortex, we have to allow our kids to make choices….even if they’re dumb choices
  • The problem – parents like to feel in control, and derive much of their social image by how well their son/daughter is doing in life
    • By always being in control – you’re hindering your child’s ability to develop their own sense of control
  • Many kids are terrified of making a mistake, because they’ve never made one
    • It’s important to instill a sense of the “It’s okay to make a mistake” mindset into our children – we need to give them confidence that even if they do make a mistake, they’ll be able to deal with it
  • “Experience is the best teacher”
  • “Kids often make as good of a decision as the parents would make” – so let them
  • Part of the reason kids have so little control of their lives – they don’t play as much anymore, all their time is structured
  • Kids who have never been forced to make choices for themselves before, are thrown to the wolves in college – leading to higher instances of anxiety and depression
    • “Don’t send your kids to college unless they’ve demonstrated for 6 months that they can run their own life”
  • Stop making every decision for your kid
    • If it helps – give them choices, instead of total free reign
  • “If you want someone to do well at something, you have to be comfortable with them doing it poorly first. That’s how we learn.”
Parenting
  • The most effective parenting style is, authoritative, as opposed to authoritarian or laissez faire
    • This means you set limits, but also negotiate more with your children
    • You’re still very much involved in their life
    • You should almost see yourself as a consultant, rather than a parent
  • Instead of saying something along the lines of “Shouldn’t you be doing your homework?”, say, “Would you like help with your homework?” – it puts the decision on them
  • How do you instill intrinsic motivation in your kids?
    • Hold family meetings, and talk about things
    • Give kids a choice of how they contribute to the family, as opposed to making them do a certain type of chore
  • Let your kids experience stressful situations – don’t steer them away from them
    • That’s how we develop resilience
  • Another effective parenting strategy – think out loud
    • Talk to your kids about situations you are going through, and how you’re dealing with them
Kids and Downtime
  • The world is so fast paced, and everyone is so busy. When we’re not busy, we find something to focus our attention on – it’s a real problem.
    • The default mode network (DMN) in the brain is activated when we’re not doing anything else
      • The DMN is essentially the ego 
    • “We don’t allow ourselves enough time, to just sit with our thoughts, to think stuff through and figure out our place in the world” – This is incredibly important in order to develop a sense of who you truly are
    • Kids are never bored nowadays
  • If kids want to perform better, the single most important thing they can do, is get more sleep
  • Set rules for your family
    • No digital devices at meal time
    • Charge your phone in the kitchen or living room, not the bed room
    • Don’t use a cell phone as an alarm clock – use an actual alarm clock
    • Have scheduled family time, where no one is distracted by a cell phone
Facebooktwitterredditmail

Don't Miss Out!

The top Takeaways, Lessons, Learnings and Quotes from the BEST podcasts each week in your inbox every Monday

Before You Go, Don't Miss Out!

The top Takeaways, Lessons, Learnings and Quotes from the BEST podcasts each week in your inbox every Monday