Reflection Sciences Co-founder Dr. Stephanie Carlson explains how “goldilocks parenting”, or finding techniques that are “just right” for a child’s autonomy development, affects the child’s executive function development.

When parents interact with their child in a way that balances patience, helpfulness, and involvedness, the child develops the ability to reflection on choices and make decisions according to their own free will: what is known as “autonomy”. Autonomy-supportive parents allow their child to accomplish tasks at his or her own pace and step in to help only as when needed. This allows the child to feel an empowered sense of personal agency (“I did it!”) and self-efficacy (“I’m good at figuring things out even if they are hard at first”), as well as cultivate those critical executive functioning skills.

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