The Self-Driven Child

The science and the sense of giving kids more control over their lives.

The Self-Driven Child

The science and the sense of giving kids more control over their lives.


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giving kids more control over their lives

Our Story

Ten years ago, we started lecturing together about the things that really concerned us, namely the increasing prevalence of stress-related mental health problems and what we perceived to be patterns of unhealthy motivation in young people.  Fortunately, as we worked together over the years, we came to realize that these problems have a common cause, as well as a common solution.  

We learned that all mental health problems are rooted in a low sense of control – and that a strong sense of control or autonomy is necessary for the kind of healthy self-motivation that drives children, teenagers, and young adults to develop themselves as students and as people.  We also learned that helping young people develop a stronger sense of control over their lives improves virtually all aspects of their functioning.  Based on this knowledge, and on our decades of experience working with kids, we wrote The Self-Driven Child which, as the subtitle indicates, is about the science and the sense of giving kids more control over their lives.  

Our second book is What Do You Say? How to Talk with Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance, and a Happy Home.  It builds on the principles outlined in the Self-Driven Child, and it offers parents communication tools for raising children who are self-driven, self-confident, and not unduly stressed and anxious.

Why a Sense of Control Matters


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The Self-Driven Child


What Do You Say?



What our readers have to say

The Most Radical and Important !
“It is not an overstatement to say that this is one of the most radical and important books on raising healthy, resilient, purpose-driven kids.”

Madeline Levine, PhD. Author

Our Parents Need to Hear This
“Did they record this talk? Our parents need to hear everything you just said.”

8th Grade Student The McLean School

You Read My Mind
“How did you know I was thinking that?!?”

11th Grade Student St. John's High School

“Everything you said is true.”

Riana Alexander Mental Health Advocate

I Can't Explain How Helpful this Was
“Ned Johnson is a great speaker with lots of gold nuggets for parents. I can’t even explain how helpful this session was. I’ve learned so much in the last one hour than I have trying to scramble and learn this all on my own.”

The SPARK Kindness Team Mental Health Advocate and Recent HS Graduate

You Just Resonate with People
“You just resonate with people, and I continually learn something from you every time I see your presentations. Thank you for your expertise and wisdom. Looking forward to seeing your next presentation! ”

Kim Bennetta Happy Mom Summit Attendee

You Just Resonate with People
“Hi Ned, thanks so much for sharing. Loved that you not only shared the science, but also the very practical approaches we can implement in our homes. Appreciated that it also helped me to better serve my clients.”

Nicole Happy Mom Summit Attendee

I Loved Your Presentation
“Yes!! Thank you so much Ned!! I loved your presentation & also, thanks for being so patient and answering all our questions during the live Q&A. So much great info. I’ll be able to communicate with my children better. I really appreciate it!! Have a wonderful weekend”

Miscellaneous Happy Mom Summit Attendee