Fostering independence while allowing for healthy dependence

JoAnn Deak, PhD Psychologist & Author, shares advice for parents on how they can foster their daughter's independence while allowing for a healthy dependence
Raising Girls | Fostering Independence And Allowing Healthy Dependence
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Fostering independence while allowing for healthy dependence

Independence versus Dependence. Let´s take the versus out. Human beings have a neurobiologic predisposition to be independent because the species will not survive if you do not take care of yourself. But there is also a species predisposition to be dependent, to take care of and be taken care of. That is how a species lives. So they are both instinctive in us. And so rather than saying should a person be more dependent or more independent, I want to use the word interdependent because it really means both. It means you have to be independent and you have to be dependent. It is where the fulcrum is on that. If it goes too far in either direction, it causes mental health issues and so adjusting the fulcrum for your daughter is a better way of talking about it.

JoAnn Deak, PhD Psychologist & Author, shares advice for parents on how they can foster their daughter's independence while allowing for a healthy dependence


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JoAnn Deak, PhD

Psychologist & Author

JoAnn Deak, PhD, has spent more than 30 years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or ‘neurosculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.”

Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identify formation and brain research.

Dr. Deak has been an advisor to Outward Bound, a past chair of the National Committee for Girls and Women in Independent Schools, on the advisory board for the Center on Research for Girls (Laurel School), for the Seattle Girls’ School, Bromley Brook School, the Red Oak School, Power Play and GOAL. She consults with organizations and schools across the United States. Most recently, she has worked internationally with schools, organizations, associations and parent groups in every continent (except Antarctica!) She has been awarded the Woman of Achievement Award by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, was given the first Female Educator of the Year Award by Orchard House School, and the Outstanding Partner for Girls Award from Clemson University. She has been named the Visiting Scholar in New Zealand, the Visiting Scholar for Montessori Children’s House and has been the Resident Scholar for the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs for the past five years.

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