The Dad Difference: New reasearch shows how Dads are different from Moms
About the Book Aspiration Empathy Autonomy What The Dad Difference means for women Author's Biography Order now on CreateSpace
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You and your baby have always been separate; you did not share one body during pregnancy. You are your baby's first other separate loved one. Your otherness stimulates your child to reach across the gulf between you. This is positive separateness not negative separation and your child's sense of self emerges in contrast to your self.

Autonomy: The child's growing recognition and increased comfort with accessing an internal sense of self.

What does it mean to be autonomous? The word root means, "to name oneself". Obviously, your child already has a name, but the concept of naming oneself implies the value statement, "I have the right to exist in free-will dignity."

Autonomy is not:

  • Identification, "I am like this person in that way."
  • Self esteem, "I feel good about who I am."
  • Mastery, "I am proud that I can do this or accomplish that."

Autonomy is:

  • The positive assertion, "I am. It is I. I am here. I am a player on the world stage."
  • The joyful discovery of your personal power: power in the purest sense of the word, “I have the power to take a step, to see with my own eyes, no one else will see what I see in exactly the same way.”

Autonomy reflects a healthy sense of being able to make choices. This sounds like a simple statement. But today's culture is very confused about notions of "the self". You should not be "full of yourself" or "egotistical". Autonomy steers clear of all these mixed messages about the self and ego. Your sense of personal prerogative resounds within you and only you experience its meaning.