The Self-Driven Child

USD $25.99


**This is a recording of a Live Presentation given at the Institute of Child Psychology’s 2022 Children’s Mental Health Conference. As it is a Live recording, please note that there may be unscheduled technical difficulties, pauses/breaks, as well as reading of comments which you may not be able to see.

The Self- Driven Child

Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone who works with kids was concerned about the escalating levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems in children, teens, and young adults.  The level of concern has escalated dramatically in the last two years related to the uncertainties, disruptions, and losses associated with the pandemic.  And for every child or adolescent who is crippled by anxiety or underperforming because of stress, there is another failing to thrive for lack of true intrinsic motivation.  In this workshop, Dr. Stixrud will discuss a crucial link between high stress and low motivation, namely a low sense of control.  A healthy sense of control is associated with virtually everything we want for kids, including good health, a positive mood, freedom from excessive anxiety, self-motivation, and academic and career success.  Unfortunately, students’ sense of control or autonomy decreases every year they are in school.

Dr. Stixrud will discuss the neuropsychological underpinnings of a sense of control, and he will present research and clinical experience related to the benefits children and teens experience when adults foster autonomy.  He will also discuss ways in which mental health professionals can support the development of a sense of control or autonomy in their clients.  Many of the approaches to be presented are discussed in the books Dr. Stixrud has written with Ned Johnson, including the national bestseller The Self-Driven Child and their new book, What Do You Say? Talking with Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance, and a Healthy Home.  Topics will include fostering a strong sense of control to lower stress and build self-motivation; developing high stress tolerance; empowering kids to make their own decisions; the wisdom of parents being “consultants” to their kids; the benefits kids gain when parents are a non-anxious presence; and strategies for supporting kids who struggle in school without compromising their autonomy.


  • Describe the four aspects of life that make it stressful
  • Discuss at least two important studies that support the importance of a sense of control
  • Discuss how stress and insufficient sleep undermine a sense of control
  • Explain ways of using rewards that don’t undermine intrinsic motivation
  • Discuss how technology can support and undermine control


  • CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION with 3.0 instructional hours & successful completion of a short quiz.
  • RESOURCESAccess to several mental health and parenting resources.
  • SUPPORT:​ Access to the institute should any questions arise.

This presentation is appropriate for parents, educators, child care professionals, caregivers, and mental health professionals.

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All courses offered by ICP are for individual use only. Using them for corporate/group training, or shared purposes are a violation of copyright law. Furthermore, all products/services provided by the Institute of Child Psychology, along with all workshop materials, are strictly for educational purposes only and cannot be categorized as psychological or mental health services.

***This workshop is not owned by ICP and therefore may be removed by discretion of the contractor at any time, with 90 day notice.




3 Hours



Age Group

2-17 Years

Instructor Information

Dr. William R. Stixrud

William R. Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist and founder of The Stixrud Group. He is a member of the teaching faculty at Children’s National Medical Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. Additionally, Dr. Stixrud is the author, with Ned Johnson, of the nationally bestselling book, The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives (Viking Books).

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