Aspects of Autonomy in Children

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One of the principal conditions for one’s success in life is motivation, and the division of this concept into extrinsic and intrinsic factors allows revealing their role and impact in the process. Similar attempts were made by Daniel H. Pink, who examined the latter notion from the perspectives of three elements, one of which is autonomy considered alongside mastery and purpose (29). The inclusion of this component in assessing cognition and acquisition of vital skills is justified by its capability to underpin a person’s experience and thereby confirm its validity (Van der Kaap-Deeder et al. 237).

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This outcome is especially significant for children, and their development in this regard is easier to trace since any shifts in the environment are immediately reflected in the change in their actions (Van der Kaap-Deeder et al. 246). Therefore, the increase in children’s autonomy leads to the encouragement to explore their feelings and thoughts, helps them make the right choices, and improves the results of their activity both at home and at school.

The effects of this concept on a free exploration of one’s inner world in childhood can be viewed through the lens of natural tendencies. They have a significant impact on the process due to the lack of motivation compensated by the desire to receive experience (Van der Kaap-Deeder et al. 237). Moreover, it was proved that managing people is less effective than providing them with the necessary conditions for personal growth (Pink 29).

From this perspective, the task of encouraging children to examine and properly express their ideas can be performed only in the case if they are provided with the required degree of autonomy. At this stage of development, they are unable to set clear goals, and the lack thereof contributes to the need to teach them how to formulate their vision (Pink 30). This initiative is better addressed in an autonomy-supportive environment rather than in a psychologically controlling or autonomy-suppressing context (Van der Kaap-Deeder et al. 247). Thus, the appropriate exploration of feelings and thoughts is possible only if this condition is met.

The promotion of children’s capability to make the right choices in life also depends on this concept. This skill is best acquired in the state of activity and engagement rather than passivity, and they become self-directed if the former trends are supported by adults (Pink 30). However, natural curiosity can be demonstrated only through actions following one’s decisions in a suitable setting (Pink 29). It does not mean that it is necessary to ensure full independence. On the contrary, the guidance is still present, but it is being gradually transmitted to the one acting from the people supporting the process.

In other words, this ability can be developed only when a person is granted an opportunity to behave based on their considerations rather than continuously relying on others. This stance is confirmed by the findings of researchers who claim that psychological control leads to feelings of ill-being compared to well-being stemming from the freedom implied by the autonomous decision-making process (Van der Kaap-Deeder et al. 247). Hence, the specified circumstances positively correlate with one’s success in life, resulting from the perceived responsibility for the outcomes.

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The results of children’s activities both at home and at school also depend on the inclusion of this element daily. It has a tremendous impact not only on their performance but also on the overall attitudes towards people around them and various events (Pink 30). In addition, autonomy enhances the understanding of the studied subjects, ensures better grades for the students, and increases their persistence in studying as well as in sporting activities (Pink 30). In this way, the productivity and the level of psychological well-being of young generations are provided by the support of their initiative teachers.

As for the home setting, similar conclusions were made by scholars who compared the behavioral patterns of children with their parents and their conduct in other places. They determined the establishment of their autonomy at the family level indicates their greater participation in learning activities (Van der Kaap-Deeder et al. 247). In the same way, the similarity of the perceptions of siblings was reiterated (Van der Kaap-Deeder et al. 247). This fact adds to the importance of the home environment as a complement to educational facilities.

In conclusion, autonomy is one of the principal conditions of children’s successful socialization, personality formation, and achievements in life. Therefore, they are significantly dependent on its provision by adults, more specifically, their parents and teachers. This type of intrinsic motivation corresponds to their natural desire to explore the world and reflects the proper decision-making process, which is formed under its influence. Accordingly, autonomy can lead them to the right choices in any area. It should be applied to both the home setting and education since the inclusion of this component ensures the productiveness of their work. Thus, the greater degree of freedom children receive, the more likely they are to efficiently address daily tasks.

Works Cited

Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Books, 2009.

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Van der Kaap-Deeder, Jolene, et al. “Children’s Daily Well-Being: The Role of Mothers’, Teachers’, and Siblings’ Autonomy Support and Psychological Control.” Developmental Psychology, vol. 53, no. 2, 2017, pp. 237-251. Web.

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"Aspects of Autonomy in Children." PsychologyWriting, 16 July 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Aspects of Autonomy in Children'. 16 July.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Aspects of Autonomy in Children." July 16, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Aspects of Autonomy in Children." July 16, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Aspects of Autonomy in Children." July 16, 2022.