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Autonomy-Supportive Parenting with Dr. Emily Edlynn

As parents, we want our children to take responsibility for their schoolwork, chores, and choices. We want them to grow into independent adults, but when we see them struggling, we sometimes step in and problem-solve, telling them exactly what to do or even doing things ourselves. The problem is the more controlling we are with our kids, the more we can get in the way of them becoming confident, resilient, self-motivated, and independent. 

How do we shift gears to supporting our children’s independence and confidence? How can we do less so they do more?

My special guest, Dr. Emily Edlynn, is here to share her book, Autonomy-Supportive Parenting, Reduce Parental Burnout and Raise Competent, Confident Children.

This is a great conversation about our struggle with letting go and allowing our kids to be independent and how we can get out of the way and support our tween’s and teen’s independence, confidence, and motivation.

Let’s jump right in!

What You Will Learn: 

  • What does it mean to move from full-service to self-service with our kids? 
  • The importance of having a chore routine with our tweens and teens. 
  • Supportive parenting is about increasing internal motivation and how we do this with teens and tweens. 
  • The three fundamental human needs of autonomy. 
  • The importance of asking open-ended questions instead of lectures. 
  • The power of emotional connection with our teens and tweens. 
  • Controlling vs. autonomy-supportive parenting. 
  • What it means to be a good-enough parent. 
  • How we should aim for influence but not control. 

Where to find Dr. Emily:

Find more encouragement, wisdom, and resources:

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And here is the episode typed out!

Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you were failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone, and you have come to the right place.

Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love well and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.

I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and the woman that you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.

SHERYL:  Well, hi, Emily. Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. I’m so excited that you’re here.

EMILY:  I’m really happy to be here. Sheryl. Thanks for having me.

SHERYL:  You’re so welcome. And we will talk about such important challenges in raising tweens and teens. Today we will discuss your new book, which comes out in September. Super exciting. Congratulations.

EMILY:  Thank you very much.

SHERYL:  Yeah. Autonomy-Supportive Parenting, Reduce Parental Burnout and Raise Competent, Confident Children

EMILY:  Yes, a bit of a mouthful. But there’s a lot packed into the book.

SHERYL:  Yeah, no, I love it. And I love the book. And I want to launch and have you share a little about yourself; I believe you have three kids, and what led you to write this book?

EMILY:  Sure. So my kids right now are 8, 11 and 13. So I am well in the tween and teen years, with one more following, although he sometimes acts like a tween. But so, my background is a clinical psychologist by training. 

I spent the first almost decade of my career working in academic medicine and large children’s hospitals, working with kids with medical conditions and their families. So I’ve always worked with kids, teenagers, parents, and families, but it was in a different capacity. 

During that time, I became a mother and realized, despite my extensive training in families and child development and parenting, that I still did not know what I was doing and felt adrift much of the time as a new mother, which shocked me. I am naturally a perfectionist; I like to know what I’m doing and do it well.

Parenting is not meant for a perfectionist. So I started looking at the guidance that was out there. And I was a little disappointed and sometimes dismayed at the kind of parenting guidance that was not well informed by what I knew was out there in the literature about children and families. It wasn’t good guidance for parents and, in fact, often would contribute to feeling like a failure or feeling more shame. 

One example is I could never do the babywearing. That was all the trend when I was a new mother. I could not get it. The baby would just slip down my body, making me panic. And so I just let it go and realized I could still have a secure attachment with my child without babywearing. So that’s just one example where I saw these limitations in parenting guidance. 

I worried about other mothers who didn’t have the same background to be so critical about the guidance. So I kind of started thinking about writing my parenting book. And as I had three kids in five years, I was like this parenting of the day that’s super involved with the kids. It’s not for me; it’s because I’m exhausted. And I don’t have a lot to give to my kids. 

And so I started looking around and calling it lazy parenting, this idea of encouraging self-sufficiency and doing it yourself while Mommy rests here. And I realized I kind of stumbled onto this autonomy-supportive literature. 

I realized there’s this huge evidence base for why it’s good and healthy for parents to do less for their children. I mean, that’s kind of a nutshell. So, that’s the whole path from my professional background, becoming a mother and blending my personal and professional experiences.

SHERYL:  Yeah, thank you. I am sharing that because I loved how you said, Here I am; I’m in the field. And I understand, and yet I’m a perfectionist, and then you had your first child, and you’re like, oh my gosh, I’m shocked, and I was curious. Like, what were you shocked about? When you became a new parent, what you thought would be different?

EMILY:  I felt anxious about everything. One was sleep. Okay, was I feeding her, but was I responsive enough? I mean, I just felt so insecure because, of course, she was going to cry and need me. And she won’t always be in a good mood, which applies directly to tweens and teens. 

But I realized there’s such little infrastructure support for new moms. I didn’t have a lot of money while I was taking my maternity leave. And so that was cut short; I went back to work when she was 12 weeks old, and I did that for all three kids. And I was just exhausted.

So I felt like I wasn’t as present as I wanted, which made me feel guilty. I wasn’t connected enough to my kids, even though I think part of that is the social-cultural messaging that we need to be super hyper-connected to our kids to be good parents. And that’s what I realized was infiltrating.

SHERYL:  Oh, man, I relate so much to you about perfectionism and how anxious I was. And I was trying to do it all perfectly. Reading every parenting book thinking now, oh, my gosh, I’m falling short. I don’t have them in the snuggle before me for the attachment. And so then I’m failing. 

And then fast forward to when they’re tweens and teens, and then they get moody. And they are fighting for that independence. And they’re making mistakes. And then, because they’re making mistakes, you can feel like you’re failing because all it’s loaded.

EMILY:  It’s very loaded. And I think that one of the downfalls of our parenting culture right now is this tendency to let our children’s mistakes reflect our parenting when they don’t need to be connected

So we see it as a reflection of my parenting; I haven’t been doing a good job if they did that post on social media, for example, instead of seeing it as this is actually how they learn and what needs to happen for their healthy development. But if we interpret it as a reflection of our parenting, we will respond very differently to our child if we see it as a normal part of growing up.

SHERYL:  Yes, we will. We’ll be fueled with, to use a buzzword triggered, right? It reflects us, and then you put all this personal stuff on it. And then our reaction is much bigger than it needs to be. 

You talked a little bit about the driving force of the book. And you talk about moving from full service to self-service. And I thought that was so catchy. And I want you to explain what that means.

EMILY:  So in this culture of intensive parenting, which is based on my personal experience in my community and my work as a therapist, we have become programmed that we’re supposed to be available at all times for our children’s needs. 

And that has trickled into doing many things for them that they can do themselves. At the gym once, I heard this group of mothers complaining about their middle schoolers, asking them to fill up their water bottles every morning. And I was laughing, and I didn’t know them. But I had to say mine does the same thing. And it’s like you fill up your water bottle.

SHERYL:  It’s just the littlest thing. And you know that you must keep reminding and reminding and reminding. 

EMILY:  So I think the bigger picture of autonomy-supportive parenting is that we want to raise our children to be capable adults. I don’t know a parent; that is not their mission, right? That their child will eventually be an adult who can live in the world independently. 

But we’re doing many things for them that they can do. And then they get used to this full-service lifestyle because who wouldn’t enjoy everything being cooked, cleaned, and packed for them? Right sounds great to me. 

But we’re burning ourselves out by taking on so many tasks they can do and not even realizing it. I think parents don’t need even question maybe they can do this for themselves. So it’s just, I think, become kind of this cultural vicious cycle that comes with intensive parenting.

SHERYL:  And love that you’re raising that self-awareness in the book because, as you said, we don’t realize what we’re doing. We don’t realize the message we’re sending to our kids is that I don’t think you’re capable. 

Like when you’re doing things for them. It’s like, I don’t believe on some level that you can do this for yourself, which is what you talk about?

EMILY:  Yes. So one of the autonomy-supportive strategies is this expressing trust in your child’s skills and expecting independent behaviors. So when I was writing this book, I took all of this to heart and became very aware of how much more I could be doing, even though I felt like I instinctually was a very autonomous, supportive parent. 

In theory, but I realized all these ways that I was taking things over, and it was very like you said, it’s just very automatically don’t realize we’re doing it. So as I was writing the book, it was a transformation for me as well, to open my eyes to all these areas where I could step back and expect more of my children.

SHERYL:  I love it. Can you give specific examples, so we can all raise our hands?

EMILY:  Well, one is the whole chore routine, right? And there are statistics about how the rates of kids doing chores have dropped significantly since our generation has become parents. And unfortunately, I think it’s tied to the uptick in the prominence of sports and activities. 

And they take so many hours and rigorous academics that parents don’t want other things to get in the way of kids spending time on those activities. But our house has a chore routine that is very autonomy-supportive because we have a list of possible chores. 

And every year, when the school year starts, the kids pick up the list of which chores they will do. And the older needs more responsibilities. So each year, they take on more. So there’s a leveling up, right? And they get to pick. 

We have a chart with the days; they pick when to do which chores. And if they have something come up that takes a lot of time like one of my daughters is a competitive gymnast, and she’ll have a meet that takes hours out of the weekend, she still has to figure out how to do that chore. So there are no excuses. They’re only excuses when they have a birthday; they get the day off.

There are things that I think we don’t think of our kids being able to do. Like my husband, one day, was painting. He was working on painting our backstairs. And he was seven then – our son was like, I want to help. And I could see my husband just imagining the mess our seven-year-old could make with white paint on our wooden deck. 

And I said, Honey, this is the critical point of messaging, that we trust him. And we expect them to help with these tasks. And this is like, we gotta seize the opportunity. And so he figured out a way to do it. That wasn’t what it was like painting over here, the wood my husband could paint later. There was a kind of compromise involved. But I think it’s seeing those opportunities and realizing they can do more than we give them credit.

SHERYL:  Oh my gosh, that’s such a good example. Especially if you’re a perfectionist like I am, a recovering perfectionist, and you don’t want them to mess something up. You don’t want them to make a mess.

EMILY:  Yep, you want them to do it. 

SHERYL:  Right. Yeah, but how do we end up shutting them down from helping in the future, and then why they don’t want to do it? And micromanaging, like even loading the dishwasher. 

I used to do that. Okay, this is where the plates go; you’re not doing it right. And not that we don’t want to choose them or teach them how to do things properly. But they won’t want to do it if we’re doing that too much, intervening and micromanaging.

EMILY:  It completely undermines their internal motivation and autonomy. Supportive parenting as a framework is all about increasing kids’ internal motivation. 

So this is why the start is kind of the deeper part; these strategies are effective because they help empower kids to be motivated to do things they didn’t want to do before. 

Not all the time not going to make over promises, but I think that if you think about how you feel as an adult when someone is constantly correcting you if it feels terrible, and you just you give up, you want to stop; it’s not enjoyable, and you don’t want to go do that again. 

So I think remembering what it’s like for our child to hear that and be corrected and told it’s not done right. Rather than there’s room for coaching, you’ve got this part down. Great job. Now, I will show you how to do the next part to be even better at it. I mean, there’s a way to do it that you’re teaching rather than correcting.

SHERYL:  I love that, like, affirm what they’re doing. Wow. Yes. And then you can say, I loved how you said that. Say that again. So, if you can remember, okay, you’ve got this part down. And here, we need to work on this part a little bit or let me show you. 

EMILY:  I’m going to show you how to do it, an even more advanced way to help them feel like it’s them being ready to do it better – it’s a compliment that you’re ready to do this. Even better.

SHERYL:  So there are three parts to autonomy parenting. So can you tell us what those three are? Trust is one.

EMILY:  Well, okay, so to back up a little bit. The autonomy-supportive parenting framework is part of this bigger theory called self-determination theory. It’s well-known in psychology. And it applies to all humans, not just kids. 

But this is important because it’s where autonomy support parenting gets its principles. So there are three fundamental human needs for all of us. 

One is autonomy. One is competence. And the third is relatedness. So we haven’t talked about relatedness as much. But that’s the idea of being connected in a safe and secure relationship and having a sense of belonging and a community. 

So those have been researched around cultures around the world as three fundamental human needs that, when met, have better life satisfaction, psychological health, and performance in school and work. So they’re really important to all of us. 

So within autonomy, supportive parenting, in terms of how to meet those needs of kids across all ages, from toddlers, through teenagers, is about ten strategies, and I won’t go into all of them. Still, we’ve already talked about some of them. 

So that includes expecting independence, expressing trust in your child, scaffolding, which is the fancy word for meeting them where they’re at, and then pushing them to the next level. So, there’s kind of this set of strategies within it. 

So we haven’t already discussed which is more kind of in the mainstream parenting guidance. So I don’t feel like I need to emphasize them as much, but it is the idea of taking our children’s perspectives and using a lot of empathy in our responses to them. 

So there’s the connection piece and the relatedness piece. So I mean, we all know it makes sense that the safer we feel in a relationship, the more we will push ourselves, explore our world, and do uncomfortable things.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I’m thinking of how and you talk about this; if we’re so busy micromanaging, giving advice, telling our kids how to think what to do, they’re pulling away at this age. We’re gonna get in the way of that having that empathy and modeling that for them. 

So that’s interesting that you talk about that because we do get in the way when we’re getting in there and trying to manage versus listening and problem-solving. Yes. And that’s kind of what you’re referring to. Right?

EMILY:  Right. And checking like you, as a parent, your immediate reaction may be likely emotional and may not be what’s happening. So being able to take that pause, step back and come at it with more curiosity than reactivity, to say, I wonder why my child did that. And I’m going to ask. 

I have a story of when this hit home for me while I was writing about this, and it was so in my head; she was 12 at the time and had heard through the grapevine that she did something with a friend that sounded not great. 

And when I told my husband about it, we were really upset and felt like these weren’t our values around how we treat people. And it was upsetting to us that our child was acting against these values. And we were heated, I mean, doing that ranting thing in the kitchen together, you know? And he said, Well, what does your framework say we should do?

So I had to, like, actually ask myself the same question. And I said, well, first, we need to think about maybe where she was coming from and ask her some open-ended questions rather than starting to lecture her. But before that, you and I need to calm down. 

So we took some time, we kind of like let it sit a bit. And then, when we had an opportunity, we sat her down and asked more open-ended questions rather than going straight to the, why would you do this lecture? 

And it ended up being a really important conversation with a lot of genuine emotion and connection. And I just realized how much would have been lost if we had gone for our immediate reaction. So it was stuck with me.

SHERYL:  That is very powerful. And we can asses just like you said. We can have so many emotions when we find out something. Of course, they’re going to make mistakes, right? And then we end up reacting in a way that shuts them down. And it’s not connecting; they don’t feel heard. They don’t feel understood. They feel shame.

EMILY:  Right, exactly. Which is the most disconnecting emotion.

SHERYL:  And then they don’t want to open up and talk to us. Right. So how beautiful that you did that. And it ended up being emotional. Some imagine there were some tears involved.

EMILY:  Yes, yes, a lot came out. And it was kind of beautiful that it also was with both of us, with Mom and Dad together. And the three of us deeply discussed bigger issues for a 12-year-old. I mean, developmentally, it was an important time for her to feel like she could do that with us. 

SHERYL:  A pivotal moment. Yeah. In your relationship.

EMILY:  And I want you to know when I talk about autonomy and supportive parenting, I want to be clear that it doesn’t mean we use empathy and curiosity. So all behaviors are free. Just act however you want. 

These very important behavioral expectations should still be in place for their growth and development because that is part of parenting is having good limits and boundaries. So I do like to point out that nuance is that you can connect with empathy and take their perspective and expect different behaviors.

SHERYL:  Yep, yep. That is not a separate thing. I think that’s when sometimes you listen, thinking, Oh, well, they’re just telling me it’s okay. But what you’re saying is like, I think what you’re saying, tell me if I’m accurate in this, is that first, you want to connect, be curious, dance, and have that conversation.

EMILY:  Yes. And so, one of my favorite parts of writing the book was writing a bunch of vignettes based on very realistic interactions and dilemmas for parents and their kids. And I do it across age groups. So there’s early childhood, elementary age, and then teenagers. And it’s really fun because I have the controlling and then the autonomy-supportive responses. 

So it’s really easy to visualize and just see it before you of the contrast, and then think about it, okay, so the controlling would be easy. And I could easily develop those examples because I’ve done many of them. But when you see the autonomy-supportive response, you can see how much richer the interaction is than a controlling response.

SHERYL:  I love that because we need scripts, we need to, okay, that, Oh, that’s what I say, or doesn’t need to do it perfectly. But can you refine it?

EMILY:  Yes. And so this was my mission with this book. There are 30 years of academic articles about this. And to read them, you don’t know what to do. 

You know, it’s like, oh, in this one lab, this happened, or in this study of questionnaires, they found this, but my mission was to kind of pull it all together and make it real and translate it to real life, what it would mean to parents. 

So in some ways, it’s my interpretation and not pure science. But in other ways, I feel the most useful for parents is to have that. That translation. 

SHERYL:  You’re cutting through all the clutter and heavy things. You’re simplifying that and making it practical for parents, which is so good. I had to say, when you’re telling the story about your daughter, which is so sweet, just what a tender moment. 

It’s so easy to assess things, and then we lose that opportunity to have that conversation with our kids. And I wonder, did you notice you were assessing a lot? It wasn’t exactly what you thought it was.

EMILY:  No. And we’ve got to hear and understand many more elements of the situation. And, looking back, of course, we wouldn’t have known that from the first way, we heard it because it wasn’t from her. And we weren’t there. 

So we were kind of falling into this trap that our tweens and teens fall into hearing one thing, taking it as truth, and not investigating or being curious about it. So yeah, and I feel like in writing the book, I’ve gotten much better at taking that pause in parenting moments to check myself, and I write about this, this importance of being attuned to your emotional response at the moment. 

And when you feel yourself heating up, knowing that you should probably take a break because you’re not going to respond in a way that you’re going to feel good about, and being able to even take that pause, it can be a few seconds, a few minutes, an hour, whatever is needed to then come back to the situation and deal with it in a way that feels like it’s aligned with your values, which is another part of autonomy, supportive parenting is part of having autonomy is behaving by your values. 

So as a parent, you’re trying to model and teach your kids how to live by certain values, we’re gonna mess up. So we’re all going to have our moments. It’s not perfection by any means. But it’s at least a guiding light. 

And although our kids may end up with different values, they may not be ours directly. I think it’s an important reminder for all of us what we’re doing in parenting in the big picture.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I like that pause. Slow down, and notice your feelings because it never goes anywhere good. When we’re coming into a conversation, we’re all heated. It’s not going to create that connection you had with your daughter. Right? 

EMILY:  And again, I want to address that. You don’t need to do this every interaction.

SHERYL:  And you don’t have to do it perfectly.

EMILY:  No. So to have pressure on every interaction with your child that’s too much. This is not helpful for anyone. So I think it’s also practicing self-compassion, grace for our humanity, in the idea that we are doing the best we can, we love our children fiercely and deeply, and we’re going to make mistakes. 

And in fact, apologizing to our children for those mistakes is healthy and good for their development. I always say autonomy and supportive parenting is not an identity; it’s a practice. So it’s not a helicopter; I’m a helicopter parent, snowplow parent, or whatever. 

Every morning I wake up, I hope to be as autonomy supportive as possible that day, and some days are harder than others. And it’s not all about us. I mean, our kids have rough days. And it’s a two-way thing. 

And there are days that we just aren’t going to respond in an autonomous, supportive way. And it does not mean you’ve ruined everything by any stretch of the imagination. It’s more the bigger picture of do we have an autonomy-supportive home overall.

SHERYL:  I appreciate you saying that because many of our listeners are hard on themselves. You talk a lot about how we can put so much pressure on ourselves. And you talk about the good enough parent, which I love. I love that term. Can you speak a little bit to that being the good enough parent?

EMILY:  First, I would ask people to remember their childhoods and how detailed they remember every day. Right? If you think about it, it’s kind of a blur. Now, I’m exempting, like traumatic experiences. But more of the general childhood experiences with your parents, we do not remember everything that happened; we remember the general feeling we had, right? 

So I think that’s one thing to take a step back and have that perspective first. And then second, I write a lot about how if we are so stressed about how good our parenting is, we’re undermining that very missionBecause the more stressed we are, the less available and responsive we are to our kids. So the more we can be self-compassionate, let things go, and see the bigger picture, the more relaxed we are. 

And then the more our kids enjoy being around us. And there’s more connection. And they also are learning they don’t have to be perfect. So I think we forget that our kids are watching us in part two. And if we demand perfection from ourselves, they will follow suit and feel like they must do the same thing often. 

So I think it’s remembering, like, we’re also doing this for the betterment of our kids to show them that it’s okay, to make mistakes and not how we always want to act, but then take responsibility and apologize and show the love and other ways.

SHERYL:  This, we’re all going to mess up, and our kids will mess up. It’s like the word you use with safety will create this environment in your home if you feel safer. 

If you grew up in a critical home, working with moms makes it like we’re trying to overcompensate for that. But we don’t realize, and you talk about this too, that we transferred that to our kids. Yes. And we don’t mean to.

EMILY:  The irony is that the parents I know and who I work with are well-intentioned. I mean, they love their kids so much. And this is all to be the best for their kids. In my writing, I’m trying to point out that we’re undermining ourselves in our relationships with all the pressure, like we can dial it down, and everything will be okay. 

I spent years working in the child protection system like I’ve seen what damages children, and I have that bigger perspective that losing our temper and yelling sometimes, it’s okay. And some people have a hard time hearing that, but the science supports it.

SHERYL:  Because our kids will yell at us, that doesn’t make them bad.

EMILY:  Exactly, exactly. So starting with ourselves, having that grace for ourselves shows our children, making us more relaxed and open. And it’s just it’s better for everyone.

SHERYL:  Absolutely, gosh, I just feel like my shoulders come down. 

EMILY:  I give my I give myself pep talks all the time. 

SHERYL:  Well, and your book will help because it’s like, you have to keep reading this and just absorbing it and taking it in and have that self-awareness that we can where we might be able to relax and enjoy our kids more.

EMILY:  Yeah. And I always say we should aim for influence, but we don’t have control. Yes, and I just want to acknowledge there are kids out there, for whatever mix of reasons are more difficult to parent.

 Many of those kids may be amazing adults but are harder to parent. And I’m sure people with multiple kids can speak to this as I can. You can be the same parent and respond differently to each kid. So I think it’s also like taking it’s not all about us. Like, there’s a two-way interaction here.

SHERYL:  All the moms with strong-willed kids were like, Oh, ha. And then you try to be their brakes and steering. You know, you’re trying if they’re mean or throw a tantrum.

I did that with my oldest, and it did not work. And a lot of it is out of fear. And then, when we’re scared, we want to control. That usually does not go very well. But if we can let go of that control, we will have greater influence. So, so much good stuff. 

But I want to ensure we take a little time because you talk about fear. And even the statistics, It was just comforting to know the statistics. Even with our kid getting snatched, and all about the trafficking now and so fearful, we don’t want to let our kid get on their bike. 

You don’t go to the mall? Of course, you have to think about taking those baby steps. What is that going to look like? But talk a little, speak a little bit about what’s happening because of how afraid we can be.

EMILY:  Yes, and of course, the pandemic, I think, heightened all of that because we became so immersed in this fear of our children’s very well-being and physical safety that it was hard then to separate that from the rest of their lives.

It became this kind of driving baseline fear about their well-being. And I know when my daughters were eight and 10, That summer, they had little to do but wanted to go on bikes around the neighborhood with their friends and me. I remember when they took off on their bikes down my driveway; I had this pit in my stomach. That was completely illogical. 

I’m very privileged to live in a safe neighborhood. And it’s good for them to be riding bikes out there without me, but I could feel it even though I intellectually knew better that they would be fine. 

So I highly recommend the book Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy. And she does quite a bit on the statistics and the overblown fears. It’s almost like there are some hoaxes out there, like the dangerous Halloween candy and things like that. 

But these decades, probably the last 20 to 30 years, have become about parenting by fear, which is part of intensive parenting, a controlling parenting style. So this is how it’s all kind of linked together. But when we can step back and question the fear a little bit, first, we must notice and recognize, okay, I’m scared; something bad will happen to my child. 

And then we do, I think, need to push ourselves slightly to sit with that fear. And maybe it’s in increments. So you don’t like to throw a kid who can’t swim into the deep end. But maybe let your eight-year-old ride their bike around the neighborhood for 10 minutes.  

With that schedule, I have to tell you this summer, working from home and having three kids. I have one in camp daily. The youngest and the other two live their lives; I will not drive them everywhere. So they have to figure out how to do activities and get around. 

And I’m taking a very hands-off approach. And they’re making it work. So that’s an example of I have my boundary around my work time valuable and important, and I’m not going to sacrifice it. And it expects them to be independent. And I must be comfortable knowing they’re riding their bikes and out and about for hours. And it’s a good process for all of us.

SHERYL:  It is a good process. I remember when my youngest was, she was like an eighth grade, I think. And that’s when moms or tweens and teens group took off. And I wasn’t as available to her. And I remember it was a bumpy ride at first because she had doctor’s appointments. 

So I even had her keep track of appointments and when she had to get somewhere when she didn’t. And I remember like we missed something was it was a little rocky. But she became so capable that I was doing so much more for my older kid. And she learned how to manage it. 

And you know, it’s gonna be bumpy, right in the beginning, but just letting them do more. And just like you, it’s good when we can have our own lives.

EMILY:  Absolutely. And what message are we sending our kids that we don’t? Because of their needs? Do you know that? Okay, well, I won’t do my work. And I won’t hang out with my friends. And I won’t go on a weekend away because you need me.

SHERYL:  Yeah, we want to inspire them, I think, no, see us living there. And whatever that looks like.

EMILY:  Right. And, like you’re saying, what kids are capable of is amazing. And we just don’t give them enough credit. I think it’s questioning our options about kids’ capabilities. For example, we are well into my girls, at least packing their luggage for vacations. And it is just such a lifesaver. It’s already too busy getting ready for trips, you know. 

And then my eight-year-old son packed his luggage this time when we just went away. And we were too busy to chat because a lot was going on. And he forgot a couple of important things. But you know, he learned, and there were still stores where we were, so it wasn’t a disaster. But it was kind of good that he just kind of had to do it. And he’ll probably remember those things next time. 

SHERYL:  Exactly. I’m laughing because I remember letting my kids start packing in that happening like, Oh, I forgot underwear. Yeah. Okay, all right. I have one, so what will we do about this? 

But they do. They learn, and they’re not going to forget it next time. So I just, I love it. Well, Emily, tell them where to find you. I just want to say I love your blog. It has so many great articles, your Instagram, where to find you, where they can preorder your book.

EMILY:  So my website or my blog is https://www.emilyedlynnphd.com/. And then, I have a substack newsletter if people are interested in subscribing. So that’s https://substack.com/@emilyedlynn1. And then, I am on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at Dr. Emily Edlin. So people can find me all over the place. Oh, and preorder my book on Amazon or Bookshop or target.com. So it’s pretty much out there where you can find books.

SHERYL:  That’s great. Yeah. So you have to write it down. Autonomy-Supportive Parenting, Reduce Parental Burnout and Raise Competent, Confident Children

I love how you say this is a process. Yes. So we have to remember that. And, yeah, just keep on helping them to be independent.

EMILY:  Yes, we’re never done. It’s never over.

SHERYL:  You know, we’re always parents. So thank you, Emily, so much for coming on today.

EMILY:  Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure.

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