Raising self-directed kids

Watch Video: Raising self-directed kids by Madeline Levine, PhD, ...
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Raising self-directed kids

Parents are often concerned about how much internal motivation their children have versus how much external motivation they have. The get a big helping of external motivation in school, in their grades, "I'm so proud of you. You did such a good job." But really, in life, it is internal motivation that counts. Kids who are engaged in learning, which means they really care about what they learn; have very high levels of internal motivation. The problem with external motivation is that you are dependent on somebody else to make you feel good. Kids who are externally motivated, tend not to take risks, tend not to push themselves because if they do, they may lose all the external goodies of somebody saying, "You are terrific," or "You got straight A's." In the work world, CEOs of companies are desperate for intrinsically motivated kids. It used to be that you had to give workers a report once a year, now CEOs are constantly reporting to me. "I have to go in every day and tell them what a good job they did. I have to go in every day and tell them what they are supposed to do the next day. I'm exhausted." From a very early age, to the extent you can encourage, "How do you feel about that?" Your child stands a much better chance out in the work world and just in terms of being happy with the choices they make.

Watch Video: Raising self-directed kids by Madeline Levine, PhD, ...


Expert Bio

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Madeline Levine, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Madeline Levine, PhD, is a psychologist with close to 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant and educator. Her New York Times bestseller, The Price of Privilege, explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems.  Her book, Teach Your Children Well, outlines how our current narrow definition of success unnecessarily stresses academically talented kids and marginalizes many more whose talents and interests are less amenable to measurement. The development of skills needed to be successful in the 21st century- creativity, collaboration, innovation – are not easily developed in our competitive, fast-paced, high pressure world. Teach Your Children Well gives practical, research- based solutions to help parents return their families to healthier and saner versions of themselves.

Dr. Levine is also a co-founder of Challenge Success, a project born at the Stanford School of Education. Challenge Success believes that our increasingly competitive world has led to tremendous anxiety about our children’s’ futures and has resulted in a high pressure, myopic focus on grades, test scores and performance. This kind of pressure and narrow focus isn’t helping our kids become the resilient, capable, meaningful contributors we need in the 21st century. So every day, Challenge Success provides families and schools with the practical research-based tools they need to raise healthy, motivated kids, capable of reaching their full potential. We know that success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of the grading period.

Dr. Levine began her career as an elementary and junior high school teacher in the South Bronx of New York before moving to California and earning her degrees in psychology. She has had a large clinical practice with an emphasis on child and adolescent problems and parenting issues. Currently however, she spends most of her time crisscrossing the country speaking to parents, educators, students, and business leaders. Dr. Levine has taught Child Development classes to graduate students at the University of California Medical Center/ San Francisco. For many years, Dr. Levine has been a consultant to various schools, from preschool through High School, public as well as private, throughout the country. She has been featured on television programs from the Early Show to the Lehrer report, on NPR stations such as Diane Rheems in Washington and positively reviewed in publications from Scientific American to the Washington Post. She is sought out both nationally and internationally as an expert and keynote speaker. 

Dr. Levine and her husband of 35 years, Lee Schwartz, MD are the incredibly proud (and slightly relieved) parents of three newly minted and thriving sons.

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