Eps 242: Nurturing a Self-Driven Child With Author, Ned Johnson


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Ned Johnson is president & founder PrepMatters, an educational company providing academic tutoring, educational planning, and standardized test preparation.

A battle-tested veteran in the fields of test preparation, anxiety management, and student performance, Ned has been a professional “tutor-geek” since 1993, with more than 40,000 one-on-one hours helping students conquer an alphabet of standardized tests and reach their full potential.

In 2018, Ned co-authored, With Dr. William Stixrude, The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. Their book explores how fostering children’s autonomy can help solve two challenges endemic to kids today: facing anxiety and developing intrinsic motivation. Ned is a sought-after speaker and teen coach on study skills, sleep deprivation, parent-teen dynamics, and test anxiety, and his work is featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC, and many others.

Takeaways from the show:


  • Supporting our kids in stepping into their autonomy

  • How to let go of control and have faith our teens know what to do

  • Teaching your kids to be resilient and able to tolerate stress

  • Leading your kids to intrinsic motivation

  • What is a healthy sense of control

  • The brain’s experience with stress

  • Releasing the expectation of competency all the time

  • How autonomy looks in a pandemic

  • Alternate routes of education

  • How passionately pursuing pastimes is most major contributor to intrinsic motivation

  • Being sympathetic to our kids and ourselves

  • The time it takes teen’s brains to fully develop varys

  • Going through hard things gives us strength

  • The teenage experience overlapping with the pandemic

  • Teens crave relatedness

  • Connect with your kids through what they love

  • Reminding yourself as a parent, your job isn’t to make your kids care

  • Having sympathetic conversations with your kids

  • Being able to just be with our kids when they’re having a hard time

Find Ned:

Website | Twitter | The book

What does Joyful Courage mean to you?

What a fun question. This may be just a slice of it, I think people mistakenly think of courage and fear as opposites, but they’re not. Courage is only exemplified, demonstrated, experienced when you’re afraid because when you aren’t afraid it doesn’t take anything to be courageous. Courageous is doing the things that you know to be true, that you know to be valuable, even when you’re afraid to do them, and that’s just hard to do. From my experience, the joyful part of this is that it can be deeply satisfying to do the things that are important, even when they’re hard to do. The real joyful part of it probably comes back in the telling of it later.


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I have five AMAZING guests talking about all things screens – our teens attachment to their screens, setting limits that are useful, gaming, tech and the brain, and finally, having those conversations about WHAT they are posting on social media….

 Inside of these interviews are tips and strategies for helping our kids stay safe online, developing their own internal compass around using tech, knowing when their screen time is a problem, and how to nurture your RELATIONSHIP with your teen so that they will drop their defensiveness and engage in meaningful conversation with you.

 Cost is $29 until the summit starts.

 The summit will go live October 12th – 16th. It is appropriate for anyone raising tweens/preteens or teens.

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Joyful Courage is so much more than a podcast! I know that you love listening in every week AND I want to encourage you to dig deeper into the learning with me, INVEST in you parenting journey.

READ THE BOOKJoyful Courage, Calming the Drama and Taking Control of Your Parenting Journey is all about how to show up as a Joyful Courage parent so that you have better access to the tools you need in hot parenting moments – tools that are helpful and maintain connection with your child. Available both in book and audio book form → http://www.joyfulcourage.com/book

CONSIDER ONE ON ONE COACHING – The most POWERFUL of investments offered by Joyful Courage, one on one coaching allows for parents to really tease apart the current issues they are having with their child, while also developing a clear compass for guiding them in the direction they want to be going in. Coaching happens every other week, and is open for parents with kids 4 years old through the teen years. Go to my coaching page to book a free exploratory call and see if we are the right fit. → besproutable.com/parent-coaching


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