Podcast: Ned Johnson: The Self-Driven Child

In today’s episode, join me in a thought-provoking conversation with Ned Johnson, author of several books and founder of PrepMatters. We delve into crucial parenting topics, sharing insights from his book, “The Self-Driven Child.” Your journey to understanding and empowering your child begins here, tune in!

TRANSCRIPT

Ned Johnson: 

Few things can be more empowering to young person than to say I have confidence in your ability to make decisions about your life. And that when you make mistakes, which you will, because you’re human and adult and training, that you’ll be able to figure out how to clean up that mess and make it good enough.

Sheila Akbar: 

Hi, folks, welcome back to the podcast. It’s been pretty rainy here in Southern California where I live, you might hear a little pitter patter in the background of this recording. But I think the rain on was puts me in a very reflective mood. And appropriately, I have a really reflective guest joining us today. His name is Ned Johnson. He’s the author of several books and the founder of prep matters, which is a company that does a lot of the same things that Signet does. They’re just based in the Washington DC area. So one of the reasons I asked him to join me on the podcast was really to talk about his first book, called The Self Driven Child, the subtitle is the science and sense of giving your kids more control over their lives. And it’s a fantastic book, I recommend it to people all the time. And in it, he’s partnered with Dr. Bill Stix road to talk about both the science behind and the more practical parenting tactics and behind how to raise a kid who has agency and take some ownership of their lives. And I think it has come out at a very interesting time, when we see you know, there’s this huge mental health crisis in our teens, we had, of course, COVID, that complicated things. And we see that there is just this rat race towards college and so much burnout in our teenagers. And alongside of that, because we want to protect them, we want to take care of them, we want to support them. Parents are more involved than ever. And sometimes that’s not a good thing. Sometimes we we need to let our students struggle a little and feel ownership of their own challenges. Of course, we’re not abandoning them. But we need to know where to draw that line. And I think his book is a really amazing resource for learning how to do that. So have a listen. And I’ll see you on the other side of the interview. Ned, it’s always so nice to talk with you.

Ned Johnson: 

Hey, Sheila. That’s great to be with you.

Sheila Akbar: 

I’m hoping we can start a little bit with you know, what you do. And then I always love to hear about the educational journeys of anyone I have on the show. So I’d love to hear about that too.

Ned Johnson: 

The Marvel origin story. Yeah, yeah. Test geek, give me a cape. Yeah, so my name is Nick Johnson. I am the founder and test prep geek because I just got myself here at a company called prep matters. We do a lot of the work that’s similar to what Sheila and your fabulous colleagues do. And we’re just down here in DC. So my night job outside of doing test prep and leading the small company is I’m co author of a couple of books with a friend of mine who’s a clinical neuropsychologist, a book called The Self Driven Child, this science and sense of giving your kids more control over their lives. And a follow up to that book called What do you say, how to talk with kids to build motivation, stress tolerance, and happy home and we got a this bill and I have been friends for a decade anyway, he is a clinical neuropsychologist, me and my test prep geek roll. We’re seeing where we start actually started out lecturing at a bunch of schools about how do kids develop healthy motivation, intrinsic motivation, motivation was not born out of fear and, and really a sustainable model of motivation. And somewhere along line, he said, It seems like it might be worth writing some of this stuff down. And he asked you sit does it feel to you like there’s kind of a unifying theme of all the stuff that we write. And I paused and I said, I do i It seems to me that everything that we talk about is designed to increase a kid’s sense of control. And we started digging into this and it turns out a sense of control is good for everything, academic success, career success, mental health, physical health, and longevity. And we think about a sense of control and and kind of two domains. One, the subjective sense of autonomy of this is my life. This is this is you know, my choices, because it’s really hard to be motivated for things, you know, for other people’s goals for you. And the second sense, is really the brain state that supports that meaning that when we’re in our right minds, the prefrontal cortex and all those executive functions, run the show as opposed to kind of runaway stress responsible, kind of a hyperactive amygdala. And we really have approached his work because of the two really epidemics that we saw and young people have either mental health issues you know, stress related anxiety, depression or and dysregulated motivation you There are kids who are obsessively driven and we kind of sacrifice everything, including their, their mental health, or kids who figure if I can’t be top 10%. Well, ihuck it why, why even bother. And both of these are problems. And certainly she’ll you know, in the work that you do like as to why that why we’re trying to help kids be academically successful and get really good opportunities for college where they can learn and develop themselves for the next four years of their life. I think that all of us, if we’re honest, should really accept the fact that the most important outcome of high school and adolescence is not where you go to college, but the brain that you develop and carry into college if you go, at least into your adult life. And so this is really our mission on trying to help parents and educators and young people themselves approach the high school and adolescence as really a brain development process from which you can then build a successful life rather than sacrificing everything on the altar of, of who’s got the shmanciest college tours admitted,

Sheila Akbar: 

That resonates so much, you know, you mentioned this, it’s, it’s a lot of what motivates us at Signet as well, I borrow this phrase from a parent coaching group that I really love. This is all a process of enrolling a young person in their own adulthood. Like that, they are practicing, they are learning they are developing, and building a foundation for whatever life they are going to go on to lead. And when we focus too much on the specific outcome, and not enough on the process of developing, we shortchange that process entirely, right? We pervert the incentives. We diffuse the motivation, we create really, really difficult family dynamics that feel entrenched. And you know, young people don’t always have the best instincts around choices, and it can lead them to make some pretty poor choices.

Ned Johnson: 

Well, yeah, simply put in some kids drive the car of their life straight into the ditch just to prove that it’s their life.

Sheila Akbar: 

Right. But I want to put a pin in this for a second and backup to, to something else here. Want to hear about your story? And how self driven were you? And how much control did you feel you had over your education and your path?

Ned Johnson: 

That’s a good question. I mean, there’s, you know, with any kind of Marvel origin story, there’s always kind of where do you begin? So I don’t know. So I’m an identical twin. I grew up in a few places, but middle school and high school in rural Connecticut, up near the math border, tiny public high school may be 100 kids in my graduating class, school is always pretty easy for me. And partly it was a small, not that intense learning environment. I always had almost always had the benefit of some of the really better teachers who were there. Like I’m in 53. So like, a lot of people of my generation, my parents weren’t on top of me about doing my homework, they had gone both had graduated. Penn State would lovely place, but not Harvard or die kind of thing. The thing for me, I mean, I was, I think pretty self driven in many ways. You know, I because I went to a tiny public high school, I got to involve myself in every single extracurricular activity. That was interesting to me, because everybody needed more more folks. So I had a dad who was alcoholic eventually drank himself to death, a mom who struggled a lot with mental health in and out of some institutions. Neglect, I mean, just it’s hard. And so yeah, I mean, I but I do think that, well, if I go back a minute, there’s some of the research that we leaned on the most is a by a guy named Steve Mayer, who did all the work on learned helplessness. And then the takeaway, because it’s a long story, and you have a short podcast, but the takeaway is that when in this case, rodents, but also people, when they have an adverse experience, where they feel a healthy sense of control, like this is really challenging, and there’s something that I can do to navigate my way through this, when you have that experience, it wires the brain to become really quite tolerant of stress and challenge in other situations. And so one of the points that you alluded to in the introduction to this podcast, is that when we want kids to feel that they are using this time of developing their own lives, including developing their ability to handle things to enroll in their own lives and to feel that they can cope with the natural challenges that are part of taken on were the challenges right, you know, of school, or work or relationships or sports, music, whatever it happens to be. So I think one of the things that I think makes me marginally better at the work that I do with young people, is I had some really challenging experiences as a younger person and for either by my own wherewithal, or just a lot of support or just dumb luck, was able to navigate those things successfully enough. And I love the word enough. That makes me pretty confident about my ability to handle hard things now. So that’s a long, kind of long winded. Marvel origin story.

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah, it was so great and great of you to share it. Yeah, thank you. Not that you had the adverse experiences, but also great that you were able to develop a great amount of resilience from them. And I think it’s such a great object lesson and what we’re shortchanging a lot of kids of when we snowplow when we try to pair the road for them instead of prepare them for the road.

Ned Johnson: 

Yeah, I love that. That’s a great one. Love that line

Sheila Akbar: 

Not mine. I also paraphrase from somebody else.

Ned Johnson: 

Yeah, yeah. And part of you know, someone of a former colleague of mine said, you know, problems now our problems later. And I mean, I have a 19 year old daughter and a 20, almost 22 year old son, and I don’t want to see them suffer, I don’t want to see them struggle, I want to see them have all the great outcomes, you know, in the world be their oyster, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But I also have to remind myself, that part of life is learning to handle things that are hard, and you don’t learn to handle hard things unless you handle hard things. And I can’t do that, I can try to do that for them, and absorb all the slings and arrows for them so that they never struggle. But it’s a terrible disservice. Because then in many, we talked about The Self Driven Child, this idea of being a non anxious presence. And when we, when we step in front and handle everything for kids, we’re when depriving them of this opportunity, the Steve Mayer, of, you know, something was harder than I could handle it. And I wired my brain for that stress tolerance. But I’m also conveyed to kids, perhaps unwittingly, that I have to handle this for you, because I don’t have confidence in you that you can handle yourself. And even if it were a mess, and or, if you do make a mess, I don’t have confidence that you or I could handle the emotional of the mistake that you make. And that too, is a really big problem. Because good luck having a life where you never get you’re heartbroken, where you never lose a job where you never do something stupid, where you never hurt someone else who never screw up. I mean, good luck with that. But well, we, you know, we talked about in The Self Driven Child about doing everything we can to support kids, in letting them fix the mistakes that they make, and not sweep in and do them for them. Because Few things can be more empowering to young person than to say I have confidence in your ability to make decisions about your life. And that when you make mistakes, which you will, because you’re human and adult and training, that you’ll be able to figure out how to clean up that mess and make it good enough. Because otherwise, you know, we see, I mean, so many young people undone by anxiety. And the major manifestation of anxiety is just avoidance. So particularly with perfectionistic kids, we see them, they don’t put themselves out there into anything that’s challenging, because they worry if I screw it up. But if you knew that you no matter how bad the screwed up that you could fix it. Well, you’re a lot less afraid.

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah, you’re also much more willing to ask for help.

Ned Johnson: 

True, true

Sheila Akbar: 

Right? They don’t that’s such a hard thing. You know, I don’t know if you have this, but I certainly do. It’s very hard for me to ask for help. And when I do, and I get over, whatever, you know, head trash is keeping me from asking for help. When I do, I’m like, Man, that was so great. It was so easy. I got help, I learned something now I know how to do it. I know that asking for help is not the end of the world. It’s this whole, you know, little opera thing go through. But you know, kids today is we can say is us old folks here, kids today are really afraid to ask for help, they’re really afraid to show that they don’t know how to do something. And so like you said that they’re just gonna avoid doing it. And they may be missing out on things that they really want to take part in things that might be really enriching or fun or meaningful to them, and they avoid it because they can’t bear the stress of looking like they’re not doing it perfectly. And that really breaks my heart.

Ned Johnson: 

And that’s a great place for parents to model that too. I mean, the really the most, the most powerful tool in a parent’s toolbox is modeling. And so you can for parents, there in The Self Driven Child, there’s a sort of I slip in a little pot shot at my wife, my much better half who is sort of spectacularly competent at like everything you can imagine except for ice skating, which is fantastic. And so, you know, I pointed out to somewhere along the line that young people can look at their overly competent parents and thinking this person agentic that they just pop fully formed from Zeus his brow and can’t imagine that they were ever awkward adolescence or made mistakes or had bumpy paths. And so parents can take their own example from this, but we years ago when my kids were little guys, we all went skating up at a pond. We’re visiting folks up in upstate New York and I am barely passable as an ice skater, my kids have not learned and my wife bless her heart is like Bambi on ice. It’s fantastic. So she went out there with a kitchen stool and just as anxious as you can be. And first of all, I was laughing because I’m a sweetheart, I know exactly what you’re going to look like when you’re at with a walker. And for my kids to see her like, oh my gosh, but but he or she was pushing on and making, making a go of it anyway. And it’s really powerful for him for parents to even turn around and ask their kids for help. And obviously, we’ll do that easily naturally with technology. But to model that it’s it part of life is to make mistakes and part of life to say, Sheila, I have no bloody idea what you just said. Can you try? Explain that to me again? And we just normalize that behavior? Do you know Louise Penny books, the inspector Gamar series? Is the four questions that lead to wisdom. One is our four statements. One is, I don’t know, two is I’m sorry, three is I was wrong. And four is, I need help. And you’re right, a lot of corners of our of our society are so hyper individualistic, that we feel like if I asked for help, I’m doing something wrong. And of course, that’s not that’s not least from me, that’s not in my adult life.

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah, I mean, yes. And also, it’s the whole point of school. Right? It’s the whole point of school, we’re learning from other people, whether that’s your teachers, your peers, whatever. At Signet, we work with a lot of students applying to graduate school. And so many of them are overwhelmed by the thought that they have to know exactly what their eventual PhD dissertation is going to be about. Before they even submit their application, they need to write about it. And I always try to tell them, part of the writing is figuring out what are the questions really, we just want to get to the questions, we don’t have the answers, the answers are the thing, you’re gonna go find under the guidance of all these wonderful people in the Ph. D. program. And you have to remember that it is a training program, school education is training. If you knew everything, before you even got in, why do you need to go?

Ned Johnson: 

I love that. I love that.

Sheila Akbar: 

So yeah, that’s just a really important reminder, I think, but I love that you brought up the role of the parent here, because so much of what we do as parents is just trying to herd these cats, get our kids to do X, Y, or Z that we need them to do. You know, my, my son is much younger, he’s only six. So mostly it’s please just put your shoes on, put shoes on, I have to ask about 15 times before we can get anywhere. But you know, you’re so right, that the modeling we can do as parents is probably the most effective thing that we can do to urge them towards different choices. Let’s say we can’t control their behavior. We know we can’t force them. But we can set examples for them, that allow them to learn things and you know, imbibed what they will from us. One of the things in your book that you talk about is home as a safe place. Can you talk about that?

Ned Johnson: 

Yeah, when there are a couple things to this one is that from a stress perspective, this is wonderful research by a guy named Michael Meany, who studied what’s called epigenetics. And it’s basically how does stress get passed on generation to generation to generation. And this really neat experiment, they had these rats and rat pups, which are baby rats. And they they kind of from the moment they’re born, they whisk them away. And these lab techs southern kind of handle them with latex gloves. It’s really stressful. It’s not life threatening, but really stressful to you know, baby rat. And if they gave him back to mom and mom was a high licking and grooming rat, which is kind of the radical that of their, their their hugs and kisses. And they did that and then all the stress would basically flow out of them. And then they did this day after day. Oh, my goodness. Oh, goodness. And to the point when these rat pups reached maturity, and they looked at their brains, they had this unbelievable connection between the prefrontal cortex and the middle of the stress detecting part of the brain. And the strength of those connections neurologically is the single best marker of mental health because use freak out, and then your brain goes, Wait, we’ve got a plan for this, I can handle this to the point that they they nicknamed these rats, California, laid back rats, right? They were impossible to stress. Now, if we think about school for children, for some children, school is really easy, and it’s ended and they love it and they feel validated all the time. But for many kids are most kids that’s not their experience. And especially if you’re going through I don’t know Middle School. It’s not just school, but it’s friends and it’s social dynamics and it Who am I and I’m figuring myself out and my sexuality and on and on it goes and all of these things take hard work and and they can be threatening. And so a lot of times particularly if school is stressful or if they have that struggle with their their self control a lot of kids hold things together at schools, and then they get home and they go black, and they just kind of emotionally dump all their garbage at home. And that’s as it should be, it should be safe to come home and be a mess and not be your best self and be able to rip, treat your room for a couple hours and then come back down and be a civilized human being. When we parents get overly anxious about anything that’s not going well for our kids, instead of being a source of the solution, right, we become a source of the problem, we add energy to the problem. So in this chapter, we talk about the Debian a non anxious presence, with the idea of making home feel like a safe base. So when your kid comes home, oh, my gosh, was a disaster go Oh, my God, how could you screw that up? We studied for it. Not so helpful. Not so helpful. You’re certainly not high licking and grooming of your kid there. But also, if we do that repeatedly, kids will learn quickly. Don’t tell dad when things haven’t gone? Well. Don’t tell mom when things haven’t gone? Well. And there’s just a wonderful piece in The New York Times this week about a trouble shared is halved. Right? A joy shared is doubled. You and I have the same experience of working with kids, you know, so how’d you do on the PCT? It was terrible. No, in my in 30 years of doing this, no one has ever just hold me the score, right? They always, they always editorialize on it, right. And so when they can share you a score that’s wildly low compared to their expectations, or their school or whatever, and you go, Huh, well, yeah, my guess is you miss some stuff there, you probably knew how to do. And they’re like, that’s it. And they’re there waiting for some volcanic eruption. When we as parents, when we as educators can be less anxious and really siphoned stress out of kids nervous systems, their prefrontal cortex, and all those executive functions, including the mental and cognitive flexibility, to put things in perspective, come back online. And in a perfect world, the experience for any child is something that stretches them that’s kind of intense, whether the playground or school or whatever. And then they come back to mom or dad or another caregiver, and kind of recover, and then they end so it’s this huge foray, and recover for and recover. So there’s a story I’ll share. I was given a lecture at a local school about her second book, what do you say, and this mom came up to me afterwards. And she’s African American, this is important, I’ll tell you why in a moment. And she said, I bought The Self Driven Child at 2020, summer of 2020. So obviously, the COVID going crazy. But also, if we all remind ourselves Black Lives Matter, right. And she said, I read that book. And I, I was held back that I was going to make home feel like a safe base. Because nothing in our life felt safe. I mean, the whole world COVID And, and with a 14 year old son, to me, it felt like America was hunting people, children who look like my kid. And I was so I just I was so afraid that whole summer, and I just committed myself that I was going to make home feel safe. And she said, it completely transformed my relationship with my son. That’s amazing. And so it’s hard when your kids are struggling, right? I mean, my daughter’s doing beautifully now. But she was full school refusal for the last three months of eighth grade, the years leading up to that really hard, the years immediately after that really hard and so much of our work as parents is working on ourselves. Right? And I look like you I help people get into college, what’s my intermod? Like, what kind of a paradigm right? And said no, no, this is this is this is part of our path. This is part of your path. And obviously, as I shared about my own background, it was easy for me to have confidence that this was going to work out, okay, because I’ve walked that myself. But I also and any parent can, can do this, remind yourself that no matter how poorly things are going with your child’s school, friends, life, drugs, whatever your kid wants his life to work out. Day in day out today, next week, next month, next year, it may be a hot mess. But given how long I’ve done this stuff, and my writing partner even longer, we see this all the time, the kids who are just a disaster, years later, it’s like Holy smokes. I mean, I was just on another podcast with them about a kid who spent four years in a residential psychiatric hospital for years. And he now runs he’s a site psychiatrist himself, and he runs an entire group, somewhere in the Midwest, you know, and dozens of people working for him and he’s, you would imagine a pretty sensitive clinician. Life has a way of working itself out.

Sheila Akbar: 

Right, right. And trying to force someone down a path that we might know or recognize is not always the right Wait wave for them. Right?

Ned Johnson: 

Well, that’s right and your Don’t Force It has exactly the right energy was just talking to a kid that my 25 year old the other day, and he said, he told his parents, he said, I am so grateful to you that you never had a plan for my life. It was their job to help him figure out what his plan was for his life. But it didn’t come pre stamped with here’s the plan. Here’s what we expect of you.

Sheila Akbar: 

Right. Yeah. And I, you know, as a child of immigrants, I think this is a thing that I really care about, because they came here and they said, here’s what your life is gonna be. do X, Y, and Z. And you know, my whole life has been defined by trying to subvert that plan. At every turn. That’s what I tried to do. My brother, on the other hand, has done the opposite. He’s done exactly what they wanted him to do.

Ned Johnson: 

Are you the younger?

Sheila Akbar: 

I am the younger, I’m the younger, rebellious one.

Ned Johnson: 

Well, yeah, that’s not uncommon.

Sheila Akbar: 

No, right. But you know, my brother seems perfectly happy, I would never be happy in his life, he would never be happy in mind. And and that’s fine. Before I let you go, I do want you to talk a little bit about the new book, because I think that kind of practical talking point of how do we actually do this? This is a beautiful idea. But how do we do this? I think that’s really important to hear.

Ned Johnson: 

Yeah. So I mean, so first of all, every chapter of The Self Driven Child ends with what to do tonight. So it’s kind of like the SparkNotes cliffnotes of it, because there’s reading all this stuff and the science of it. And then there’s how do you actually make it a habit? And so that’s in Self Driven Child, and what do you say we give all these scenarios of the kinds of things that parents always fall into, about grades and technology, and on and on it goes, and kind of scenarios of what people might naturally say, and what you might say, instead, the most interesting for me, the most kind of eye opening chapter that we wrote, is called the language and silence of change. And it’s born of the idea that a lot of times when people are saying, How do I motivate my kid to do whatever? What they’re really asking is, how do I change my kid. And the reality is, you don’t change people who aren’t asking to be changed. It doesn’t work that way. What we talk about there, the big thing that we’ll talk about here is what’s called motivational interviewing. And it was a process that was developed by Stephen Miller and William Miller and Stephen rollneck. Anyway, there are psychologists who in the 80s, worked with problem drinkers, and they what they found was, when we force them, when we try to force help or advice, they resist the very people who are trying to help them, who and then that quickly tends to go south in terms of relationships. The insights are these, that a person who’s in a hard situation is typically ambivalent about change. So we’ll pick an easy one, if you’ve got a kid in school where things aren’t going well. And you’re trying to lean in them as a parent or as a teacher, say, Ned you get you know, if you get your grades up, you’ll have better choices for college or your teachers will like you better you know, the kids thinking my mom and dad will get off my back the reasons why working harder in school probably has some upside, I’ll get my friggin phone back, whatever, right? But also, there are reasons why that kid may not want to do that, right? I don’t like Mr. Johnson, he’s a crummy teacher, English is so boring, I’d rather be playing Xbox, or, and this is important, especially for kids who find school hard. They could work really hard and move their grades from sucky to sucky plus. And now they know exactly the limit of their cognitive or educational ability. And that’s really scary. It’s much easier to say, well, if I wanted to, I could write and you sort of handicap yourself. And then and because you can protect your ego that way. So here’s the way out of this. We ask open ended questions. We use reflective listening, and then we wait for change talk. So the story that’s in our book is kind of fun. This friend of ours is a counselor caught wind of a girl who was smoking a ton of pot. And she came up to him, the first thing she did is take force off the table said, listen, the first thing I’m going to do, I’m not going to try to talk you out of smoking pot. I hear that that’s kind of a part of your life right now. And I’m not I’m not going to try to talk you out of it. And that brings down the defensiveness. And she said I am however, I’d love to, I’d love to understand more about if I may. So can you tell me kind of like what do you get out of it? And the girl says, Well, my friends are really cool. You know, they’re really funny. I feel cooler when I’m with them feel more relaxed when I’m Hi. And our friend uses reflective listening. She just repeats back to her what she thought she heard is a way to convey I’m working really hard to understand your perspective. Eventually the girl says something like it is kind of expensive though. And this is where it’s easy to jump in as an adult don’t do. So well. Tell me more about that. And she says Why buy a couple times a week it is kind of expensive. If you had more money, what would you do with it? And she says I get my hair done. My friend Sheila has these really cute shoes back and forth. It goes a few rounds of this and then she you know thanks for the time that really helped me and under Same where you’re coming from, and they parted ways. She sees the girl a couple of weeks later, and she’s got her hair bobbed. And it’s like sidles up to us. Okay, there, your hair looks really cute. Oh, would you like it? Yeah, it looks great on you. So tell me about that. How did that happen? Oh, well, last couple of weeks, I decided only by once a week. And so I can use the money and do this. And the two biggest insights are these one, as parents, as educators as caring friends, we have a righting reflex, meaning if I have a problem, and you see it, your brain immediately goes into overdrive. And hey, Ned, what about this? Or what about that, and you start making suggestions. But I’ve have not asked you for help or suggestions, then I fight it. So we resist that righting reflex and instead ask open ended questions. And the most powerful motivation to help people change is for me to articulate for myself, the reasons that I want to change. It’s hard. It’s I mean, and granted, if my kid was smoking pot, it easier for you to step in and have that conversation with her than it might be for me, because I get I get stressed out about it. But it’s really yeah, there’s so much emotional baggage. But it works. I did this with a super perfectionistic kid, about a month ago who had had for administrators at her school for many teachers, advisors. So you got to drop on these classes. And she’s like, over my dead body. And she was smart enough to reason why not and anxious enough to be rigid. And I reread the chapter on this, and I went went out and we had a conversation by the end of it. She said, and I really don’t think I need to be in these two classes. And she’d articulate her own reasons why. So it’s good stuff.

Sheila Akbar: 

Yeah. It’s so powerful. I mean, what you’ve just described as our entire coaching practice, right? It’s, it’s the modality of coaching, open ended questions, reflecting back to people, and letting them decide for themselves once they’ve articulated, whether its pros and cons are their own motivations, or their own desires. They’re already doing calculus in their head. Right. And in a way, you know, a lot of parents that hire us for coaching, they think we’re gonna like Inception, these ideas. But really what it is, is the kid already knows. They just need someone to hold some space for them, and help them, articulate it, and put it out there in front of them and agree with you. It is so hard for a parent to do, it’s much easier for some other sort of mentor figure to do it. Well, then I think this is a good place to leave it. This has been a great conversation. I’m going to make sure the links to both of these books are in our show notes. If people want to learn more about you, where can they do that.

Ned Johnson: 

So selfdrivenchild.com is our website and I’ve got a podcast by the same name. And I’ve been I made a Tiktok. Couple years ago that went a little viral. It was all about ADHD and procrastination. So I’m allegedly Tiktok famous. So I so my Tiktok is the other Ned Johnson.

Sheila Akbar: 

Thanks again. We’ll talk again soon.

Ned Johnson: 

Thanks a bunch yell. I love your work.

Sheila Akbar: 

Thank you. All right, as we wrap up here, I do want to recommend Ned’s book again, and that you check out his podcast, which is called The Self Driven Child and his new book as well. He’s a fantastic content creator and like you heard very knowledgeable about all of these things. So check them out. And as always, I’m here. If you need help as well, you can join my free parent community or reach out to me, we’ll set up a time to talk. Thanks, everybody. Have a great week.

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