How to Raise an Adult
Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
New York Times Bestseller!
A provocative manifesto that exposes the harms of helicopter parenting and sets forth an alternate philosophy for raising preteens and teens to self-sufficient young adulthood.
"Julie Lythcott-Haims is a national treasure. . . . A must-read for every parent who senses that there is a healthier and saner way to raise our children." -Madeline Levine, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well
In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.
Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings-and of special value to parents of teens-this book is a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence.
"For parents who want to foster hearty self-reliance instead of hollow self-esteem, How to Raise an Adult is the right book at the right time." -Daniel H. Pink, author of the New York Times bestsellers Drive and A Whole New Mind
Former Stanford University dean Lythcott-Haims presents a convincing vision of overprotected, overparented, overscheduled kids in this report on the current state of childhood and parenting in middle- and upper-class families. Lythcott-Haims, the mother of two teens, counts herself among those who have taken far too many aspects of their children's lives into their own hands. Today's young adults, she asserts, lack life skills and resilience; they can't competently make decisions, manage risk, overcome setbacks, or take charge. Along with overprotection, she sees a trend toward racing kids onto a fast track, with unreasonable pressures to get into highly selective colleges. After presenting the problem in detail (through interviews with college admissions officers, educators, parents, and others), she offers a number of viable solutions, encouraging parents to nurture kids' unique gifts rather than mold them like "little bonsai trees" and to help them develop life skills (e.g., doing chores, critical thinking, public speaking). She also claims that lower-income kids are more likely to end up with the grit necessary for success, while elite grads struggle to grow up. The overparenting trend, Lythcott-Haims contends, is harmful not only to kids but also to parents who are stressed and overscheduled themselves. This vigorous text will give parents the backup needed to make essential changes.