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How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

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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 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 high 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 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. "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 "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


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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 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 high 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 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. "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 "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

30 review for How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    (4.0) Takes a while to get useful (if you need convincing that overparenting is A Thing, you probably need a lot more than this book), but has many concrete suggestions to better prepare your children for adulthood. Many of these start at toddlerhood or early elementary school, so get started as soon as you have a child! Started off with 4.5, but remembered how long it took to get out of the anecdotal whining at the beginning. Summary: 1. Most of overparenting comes from fear (of abduction, of fall (4.0) Takes a while to get useful (if you need convincing that overparenting is A Thing, you probably need a lot more than this book), but has many concrete suggestions to better prepare your children for adulthood. Many of these start at toddlerhood or early elementary school, so get started as soon as you have a child! Started off with 4.5, but remembered how long it took to get out of the anecdotal whining at the beginning. Summary: 1. Most of overparenting comes from fear (of abduction, of falling behind) 2. Some of it is an attempt for parents to re-live childhood "right" with the benefit of wisdom of mistakes they made, or at least to give them "every advantage": - "opportunity for parents to demonstrate just how skilled they are at being children" -- p. 59 - "How our kids look, what they eat, how they dress, what activities the pursue, what they achieve have become reflections of us. Of how we see ourselves. Like their life is our accomplishment. Like their failures are our fault." -- p. 124 3. Smaller effect, but perhaps real: on p. 29 mentions that some of the coddling may come from the difficulty of actually having children given that many adults (especially affluent/successful) wait until their 30s 4. You should stop overparenting: - let your kids play - help them develop life skills - let them roam free out of your supervision - teach them critical thinking / think for themselves - prepare for hard work - resilience - help them choose school best for them, not necessarily The Best. What to do to be a good parent (comes later in the book, but more valuable I'd argue than the stuff farther below): * "Don't do for your kid what your kid can already do or can almost do." -- Madeline Levine * let your kids play, let them make the rules, resolve the conflicts, best is if they do it spontaneously on their own (rather than scheduled by parents) - if you can, explicitly agree with other parents that this is the goal (so that they don't interfere/overparent, for example) - choose toys that allow free play (the more multipurpose/generic the better: blocks and LEGO rather than action heroes) - let the kids decide how and what to play - give distance between you and kids - learn to 'wince and not pounce': they're going to get hurt, but they'll be learning to take care of themselves, take appropriate risks and deal with consequences - work with other parents to build safe outdoor spaces where kids can play on their own * Life skills: - by 3 years, kid should: -- put away toys -- dress self -- put clothes in hamper -- clear plate after meal -- assist in setting table -- brush teeth and wash face with assistance - by 5 years, kid should -- know full name, address, phone number -- know how to make emergency call -- perform simple cleaning chores -- feed pets -- identify monetary denominations, understand concept of money use -- brush teeth, comb hair, wash face without assistance -- help with laundry chores -- choose own clothes to wear - by 7 years, kid can -- mix, stir, cut food -- make basic meal (e.g. sandwich) -- help put away groceries -- wash dishes -- basic household cleaners -- straighten up bathroom after use -- make bed without assistance -- bathe unsupervised - by 9 years, kid should: -- fold clothes -- simple sewing -- care for outdoor toys (e.g. bike) -- take care of personal hygiene without being told -- use broom and dustpan -- read a recipe and prepare simple meal -- help create grocery list -- count and make change -- take written phone messages -- help with lawn/garden duties -- take out trash - by 13 years, kid should: -- able to stay home alone -- go to store and make purchase by self -- change bedsheets -- use washing machine and dryer/clothes line -- plan and prepare a meal with several ingredients -- use oven to broil/bake -- read labels -- iron clothes -- basic hand tools -- mow lawn -- look after younger siblings or neighbors - by 18, kid should: -- perform sophisticated cleaning and maintenance chores (e.g. changing vacuum cleaner bag) -- fill car with gas, add air to tire -- read and understand medicine labels -- interview for and get job -- prepare and cook meals - by moving out own own, young adult should: -- make doctor/dental appointments -- basic understanding of finances (balance checkbook, pay bills, use credit cards responsibly) -- understand basic contracts (e.g. apartment lease) -- schedule oil changes and basic car maintenance * "free-range kids": teach them how to do things, then let them do them on their own completely independently. try teaching them a few and then ask them which on they want to learn to do on their own (walk/bike to school, cook meal etc.) - kids making own breakfast at 5 years :) * teach kids to think for themselves: - elementary: ask them "why" questions: why do you belief that, how do you know, can you think of other reasons/possibilities? - middle: ask them what they enjoyed about school today (and why), what they didn't (and why) - high: what did you enjoy? why? what do you think makes that interesting to you? * discuss controversial topic with them, take devil's advocate (then ask them to take opposite position from where they start on subsequent topic) * let them / force them to speak up for themselves with strangers/authority. let them know ahead of time you'll be looking to them to do all the talking and you'll be able to provide any missing info if they need it. * prepare for hard work / work ethic: - start chores at 3 years old -- toddlers: help with chores: dusting, laundry help -- elementary: bring in groceries, clean up spills (including for others), broom + dustpan -- middle: wash car, shovel snow, rake leaves, pick up stuff from the store, grunt/gross work -- high: clean refrigerator, clean kitchen, help organize attic, help out others (e.g. neighbors) - expect their help, don't apologize, give straightforward instructions, give thanks and feedback, make it routine * developing purpose: - let long-term goals and purpose become motivator (not parent, not grades, not getting into college) * resilience: - take an interest in them, what they like, how they feel - let them make their choices and how to decide them, let them take risks and make mistakes - help them learn from experience, combat perfectionism - notice them being good and comment on it - authentic feedback and criticism (criticize action, not them, don't place blame) - be good model yourself - some things your child should experience by 18 (longer list in book): -- experiencing death of pet -- breaking something valuable -- seeing tree that he/she planted die -- car trouble/accident -- not making varsity team -- being blamed for something he/she didn't do -- coming in last or being last one picked -- being hit by another kid -- deeply regretting something he/she can't take back * look at schools other than "the top" - be realistic about the odds - schools with less focus on testing - benefits of going to less selective school (and being among the best there) - fiske guide to colleges ("best buys") - niche "college prowler) (student opinion) - princeton review (student opinion) - Colleges That Change LIves - The Alumni Factor (which small colleges allow healthy development, good financial prospects as grads) - let the kid decide * convince other parents that overparenting is to be avoided: use opportunities to share with them, avoid having them overparent your child 4 shifts in childhood in the past 20-30 years: * media spread fear of abduction/injury/death * falling behind competition (e.g. from other countries) * self-esteem movement (e.g. everyone gets a trophy for existing) * emergence of playdates (vs child-initiated, spontaneous free play) -- though this is more a function of the first one plus two busy working parents. Playdates can be fun and social, but they're parent-driven, parent-supervised and typically not free play Symptoms: * college kids, graduate students, even employed adults: - increasingly dependent on their parents to advocate for them, help them make decisions, deal with uncertainty, provide motivation and path - without purpose - unable to cope with and overcome adversity of any kind - who feel entitled to advancement, promotion, success without really trying - lacking basic life skills (feed, clothe, launder, get out of bed in time) -- "learned helplessness" - mentally weak: college students stressed out, feel no control, can't handle failure (or success), unable to deviate from parents' chosen path * parents stressed out too! What's going on now: * fear of abduction even though children are safer now than ever (twisted devil's advocate: perhaps some of that drop in abduction/deaths is due to helicoptering) * allowing children independence, autonomy, going out alone is now criminalized at times * trying to create opportunities, give advantage to kids * "concierge parents" doing all the life skills work for kids, fixing their problems, dealing with other adults on behalf of adult children * parents doing homework * "college admissions is broken": too much reliance on SAT and US News & World Report...but doesn't really make claim that admissions offices are doing the wrong thing (other than encouraging applicants who have no shot but will pad the selectivity index) * estimated 1/4 of college applicants have used a private tutor or college consultant * many parents "game" ADHD diagnosis to get extra time for a non-affected student to get an unfair advantage (hear anecdotes from trusted source that this is very real) * ADHD recreational/frequent drug use off prescription (sounds like some peer pressure too, particularly in East Coast and boarding schools) Examples of things kids should be able to do by 18, but often cannot: * talk to strangers * find her way around (e.g. a campus) * manage assignments, work load, deadlines * contribute to the running of a household * handle interpersonal problems * cope with ups and downs (e.g. of school) * earn and manage money * take risks I liked this: * A parent: "I want our girls to be healthy, ethical, and to still love learning when the leave our home. Nothing else matters." -- p.216 Minor problems I have: * much of the book is recapitulation of other similar parenting/self-help books by non-scientists; not sure the original contribution contained here * claims that admissions process is "broken", but not sure what she means (reliance on SATs, US News). Which colleges are letting in people that they should not? - also: stopping overparenting doesn't 'fix' this problem at all, unless she actually means that parents are too focused on "top" schools and if they eased up things would be better? * her section on overparenting as cause of mental health problems: looks like it way overstates the problem to me, huge sample bias in the surveys and subjective reports/guesses from student affairs people/counselors at colleges (who see the problems every day) * claims that drugs (and especially extra time) for ADHD kids isn't an "advantage", but levels playing field...seems inconsistent with much of the rest of the book, but also I would expect that ADHD has a wide spectrum, and anyone in the high functioning end of spectrum very likely gets advantage Bugs: * hardcover p. 19: "libeties" => "liberties"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    It is as if Julie Lythcott-Haims was eves-dropping on every teacher's room in America. This overparenting epidemic has broken down a student's will to persevere and take ownership of his or her own work. As a teacher for the last ten years, I have seen a steady increase in over-involvement which has left me shaking my head and even seriously considering leaving the field. I became an educator to help kids realize their dreams and become more literate citizens so as to have their voices heard as It is as if Julie Lythcott-Haims was eves-dropping on every teacher's room in America. This overparenting epidemic has broken down a student's will to persevere and take ownership of his or her own work. As a teacher for the last ten years, I have seen a steady increase in over-involvement which has left me shaking my head and even seriously considering leaving the field. I became an educator to help kids realize their dreams and become more literate citizens so as to have their voices heard as truly effective communicators. This can't happen if the voice heard is not even their own. As a new parent, I found it reasuring to hear that the research supports a different approach. I, too, want the best for my child, but not at the expense of his own freedom of thought and will. I want him to strive for success in the same way I did: on his own. It is very encouraging to hear that the research has been done and is there for anyone to see. Children don't need their parents to step in; they need them to step BACK. Julie Lythcott-Haims offers a tremendous amount of research to examine what is happening, why, the effects, and how to correct it. I feel that this is one to read, reread, and then read again. Stepping back is not easy, but she offers many resources and simple lists of the key points to remember. I will not only be using it to improve myself, but I intend to reach out to my school's parenting community through a book group around this book. Hopefully there is interest and the paradigm can shift.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I gave this two stars. I think it may deserve more, but that it was written for a different demographic than me. The beginning and the end were over the top. The author tells the reader not to worry so much about your kid getting into elite schools, there are lots of choices out there. Then, throughout the book, she mentions Barnard, Rice and Carleton as some of the alternatives!!!! I can only imagine what parents who think of these schools as alternatives would think if their kid wants to go to I gave this two stars. I think it may deserve more, but that it was written for a different demographic than me. The beginning and the end were over the top. The author tells the reader not to worry so much about your kid getting into elite schools, there are lots of choices out there. Then, throughout the book, she mentions Barnard, Rice and Carleton as some of the alternatives!!!! I can only imagine what parents who think of these schools as alternatives would think if their kid wants to go to cosmetology school. She also talks a lot about kids being coddled, but uses some mixed examples. Yes, a kid who can't figure out how to get a crate up to his dorm room or a parent who answers all the questions aimed at the kid during a session with a college advisor has probably been over-parented. But then she throws in examples like the 20 year old who asks his parents to help him look for an apartment. Everyone should have a buddy when looking for housing, especially a first-time renter, so they are not taken advantage of. If you have a parent willing to take on that role, so much the better. I thought the best part of this book was section 3 where the author gives concrete practical advice on steps you can take at your child's various ages to teach them independence skills. The rest of it seemed to be written for her peers in places like Palo Alto, not for the every day parent in middle of the road towns and cities throughout America. As is pretty obvious by the fact that she holds Teach for America up as a paragon of virtue. If she lived in a city with struggling schools, she would know that TFA has been under attack for many things, including a way to bust teachers unions, a revolving door of inexperienced teachers for our country's neediest students, and as mostly a way for elites to pad their resume.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    I was comforted by the fact that, despite my neurosis, we don't make enough money to completely ruin our children. Many of the examples were geared toward parents with virtually endless resources, but the book did give a more complete look at what our job as parents is and is not. The book also helped quell the idea that a successful life cannot be had outside of an Ivy League education. Overall, a good read for parents who need a chill pill.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    Don't overparent, allow mistakes, don't prioritize grades, relax about college. There now you don't have to read it :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amber Kerr

    I thought this book had sound advice and was well-written. So why am I only giving it three stars? Because most of what the author said was in the "Well, duh" category (e.g., don't write your kids' college essays for them). The book also had a lot of redundancy; the main points could have been sufficiently described in a long article rather than in an entire book. I live in the same place and the same time as the author (Silicon Valley in the mid-2010s), and I'm also a parent of young children, s I thought this book had sound advice and was well-written. So why am I only giving it three stars? Because most of what the author said was in the "Well, duh" category (e.g., don't write your kids' college essays for them). The book also had a lot of redundancy; the main points could have been sufficiently described in a long article rather than in an entire book. I live in the same place and the same time as the author (Silicon Valley in the mid-2010s), and I'm also a parent of young children, so I'm sure I'll meet parents who do the things that Lythcott-Haims describes: sign their kids up for "prestigious" nursery schools in their first week of life; do all their kids' chores for them; overschedule their kids with music lessons and organized sports and tutoring so that they no longer have time to play; micromanage every aspect of the college application process; and even accompany them to job interviews! However, this behavior is all patently ridiculous to me. With me as a reader, Lythcott-Haims is preaching to the converted. You can bet that MY kids are gonna wash the dishes, fold their own laundry, and do their own homework. And I'd much rather see them go to a state school and feel fulfilled and at-home, rather than make it to the Ivy League and be stressed and miserable. I have to wonder if the worst perpetrators of "helicopter parenting" would even pick up this book, and if so, whether it would change their views? Another thing that made the book less appealing to me is the fact that Lythcott-Haims relies mostly on anecdotes and pithy quotes rather than concrete data on what influences kids' ultimate success and satisfaction in life. Granted, good data on this topic are hard to come by, but I got a bit weary of the author making her points with quotes from other popular authors rather than with evidence. In summary: if you're a helicopter parent, read this book carefully and take it to heart. If you're not a helicopter parent, you only need to skim it, and you can have a laugh (or a cry) at the woeful excesses that exist in some very ambitious but ultimately not very happy families.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This book annoyed me, and I would have stopped reading it except for being in a book group. It is a book written by a former dean at Stanford who herself lives in Palo Alto, and the parenting guidance it gives is very affected by her experiences with upper/ upper-middle parents/ and their smart kids who get into Stanford or who are trying to apply to top schools like Stanford. She generalizes about other parents who do not fit into this elite group. Based on her expertise, there probably is some This book annoyed me, and I would have stopped reading it except for being in a book group. It is a book written by a former dean at Stanford who herself lives in Palo Alto, and the parenting guidance it gives is very affected by her experiences with upper/ upper-middle parents/ and their smart kids who get into Stanford or who are trying to apply to top schools like Stanford. She generalizes about other parents who do not fit into this elite group. Based on her expertise, there probably is some good advice here for upper class families with smart kids applying to all of the big name universities. For so many other families, single parent families, families with a child with mental health or learning issues, parents who live in actually dangerous neighborhoods, middle and working class families, etc, these are not, for the most part, the issues that keep them up at night or preoccupy their time. As a single parent of a child with learning disabilities, it wouldn't have even occurred to me to try to check off all of the boxes and jump through all the hoops to position my child to go to Stanford (the author's target parent audience, although it is not stated outright) to prepare her to be an adult. It would be ridiculous. And other families I know are also struggling with trying to get their child through high school and into adulthood with mental health issues, negative peer influences, and associated legal involvement. There are a few good tips here and some website resources for helping your child discover their own interests and strengths, but for the most part, I did not find it very generalizable.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    This was a timely read for me. I’ve been musing recently on how much less directly involved my grandparents were in my parent’s day-to-day childhood and how intimately involved I’m expected to be in my own children’s lives, and what that means for kids as they grow up. Is it related to prolonged adolescence in our culture, where 22 year old people are called college “kids” and all sorts of irresponsibility and stupidity among undergraduates is excused as being part of their “growing up?” Consider This was a timely read for me. I’ve been musing recently on how much less directly involved my grandparents were in my parent’s day-to-day childhood and how intimately involved I’m expected to be in my own children’s lives, and what that means for kids as they grow up. Is it related to prolonged adolescence in our culture, where 22 year old people are called college “kids” and all sorts of irresponsibility and stupidity among undergraduates is excused as being part of their “growing up?” Consider two simple examples of the shift: 1. My grandmother used to pack her children lunch and send them out the door to play in a wooded area a mile or so from their home—for the day. They were young, they had no cell phones, they were gone for upwards of six hours playing by a river. And it was okay—not just with my grandma and the kids, but with the neighbors too. My mom and aunts and uncles spent a good portion of their summer vacation unsupervised. Today parents could lose custody of their kids for the same behavior. 2. When other kids are over at my house for a playdate, I don’t watch them constantly. But I like to have a door open, I like to hear the sounds of their play drifting down the hall. Sometimes I drop in and orchestrate things—a playdough party or whatnot. And here’s my confession, when the other parent comes to pick up their kid if they happen to come in when I’m directly involved in the play, I feel proud. Gold star for me. If they happen to come in when I’m letting the kids play unsupervised and I’m reading my own book or doing something for myself, I feel a bit deficient. My first impulse is to say, “Just a half hour ago I was playing with them…” Not only would I not let my kids spend 6 hours unsupervised by a river a mile from our house, but I feel the need to be aware of what they are doing when they are playing inside our house. From page 4: “Once a critical mass of parents began being involved in kids play, leaving kids home alone became taboo, as did allowing kids to play unsupervised.” “How to Raise an Adult” has some interesting thoughts on the why and how of the shift in parental involvement, and on what it means to be an adult (this part was my favorite part of the book – so interesting), as well as the phenomenon of childhood becoming an “achievement arms race.” Much of the material about the intensity and desperation parents feel for their kids to get into Ivy League schools was foreign to me. It is an interesting and dysfunctional system—the quote “the elite have purchased self-perpetuation at the price of their children’s unhappiness” seemed to be on target, and she had several thought-provoking quotes from Deresiewicz (author of Excellent Sheep). The second half of the book shifted away from the problem (“parenting [has changed] from preparing our kids FOR life to protecting them FROM life” – p7) to the solution. The main takeaways that are coming to my mind now are: *Don’t do things for your kids that they can do for themselves, or can almost do from themselves. *Kids need to do chores (and there’s decent evidence that homework has no proven benefit (p179). Ha! The more homework my kids get the more I resent the time it requires and how it eats into our family schedule (and their opportunity to do the dishes, vacuum, et cetera)). *Focus on growth mindset vs. fixed mindset (ex. “You left your clothes on the floor again. Put them in the dresser.” vs. “You are the biggest mess-maker in this house. You have to be more organized.” Or “Good job, you worked hard.” Vs. “Good job, you are so smart.”) *Free play is incredibly important. *Let them experience disappointment and setback (not being invited to the birthday party, getting a poor grade on a project they worked hard at—these experiences are an essential part of building resilience and self-efficacy. If the parent steps in to eliminate the obstacle they kill the learning opportunity and teach the kids that they are incapable of facing disappointment/adversity.) *And there was a nice portion giving permission to the parent to pursue their own interests. “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.”-Carl Jung In the last chapter there was an anecdote about a mother on the sideline at her kid’s soccer game. The weather was horrid and she was cold, wet, and muddy. She called her own mother to complain and Grandma replied, “I have no idea why you’re standing out there. You aren’t showing your kids anything. If you want to show them that athletics are important, [go for a run yourself].” I know why that mom was standing there. The invisible “they”—my perception of the collective cultural voice—tells me that I’m a good mother if I observe every detail of my children’s lives and attend every sporting event, recital, and school performance. (And I’m supposed to have them all—sports, music, academics, and extras. The checklisted childhood is packed with too many activities for a healthy/sane family to handle). “They” tell me that I’m deficient in my parental role if I don’t attend every soccer game. I don’t always listen to “them” in how I parent, and this book was a nice reminder that when our collective culture tells us to “helicopter parent” our kids, they’re wrong. And the alternatives to helicopter parenting are both healthier and easier.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Huyen Chip

    This book helps me realize that the struggle to raise a responsible adult is not unique to any society. It's happening all over the world. Reading this book, I had that exhilarating feeling that many problems facing upper middle class families in the US can be found in Vietnam: overprotecting parents, college pressure, competition and self-effacement during parenthood. However, the people she interviewed, the situations she described kept me thinking that I was reading about first world problems This book helps me realize that the struggle to raise a responsible adult is not unique to any society. It's happening all over the world. Reading this book, I had that exhilarating feeling that many problems facing upper middle class families in the US can be found in Vietnam: overprotecting parents, college pressure, competition and self-effacement during parenthood. However, the people she interviewed, the situations she described kept me thinking that I was reading about first world problems. It's understandable since she worked at Stanford and lived in Palo Alto. I have doubt that the solutions that she prescribed would work with parents in the lower income bracket. Maybe the books is better named as "How rich parents can raise an adult".

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ali M

    I picked up this book looking for validation of my parenting methods and I got it. Earlier this year I read "Overwhelmed" because of my growing sense of unease with my life and how overwhelmed with the task of raising my children I was. After reading that book I said I was subscribing to what I called "retro parenting." That is, I was going to raise my kids the way I was raised by my parents. My parents loved me and helped me and supported me, but they largely left me to my own devices and I man I picked up this book looking for validation of my parenting methods and I got it. Earlier this year I read "Overwhelmed" because of my growing sense of unease with my life and how overwhelmed with the task of raising my children I was. After reading that book I said I was subscribing to what I called "retro parenting." That is, I was going to raise my kids the way I was raised by my parents. My parents loved me and helped me and supported me, but they largely left me to my own devices and I managed schooling and life just fine. My parents really didn't care what we did with our lives as long as we did something. As a modern parent I have totally applied all of my education and professional skills to the task of raising my children. Some of that approach has benefited them greatly, but a lot of it has not. In the last few years (as we have had more kids especially) I have started to expect more of our children and I am glad that I have. We have always said that we want to raise self-sufficient, fully-functioning adults who can contribute to society. We have not always done a good job in showing them how to get there and I do not feel like our schools are especially helpful on that front either. We have made some big changes in recent years and will continue to do so. This book has encouraged me to step back even more and it feels great! We have five children and the older two (12 and 10) and do a lot of chores - including their own laundry, cleaning up after dinner, looking after the dog, tidying the house, and maintaining their rooms. We have just added making their own lunches and cooking dinner once a week. Compared to their peers my kids do a lot of chores. After reading this book I can see I need to make them do even more and I need to back way off on the school front. Here is what I got from the book: We need to teach our kids self-efficacy. And one of the ways we do this is letting them fail. When we bail them out, do for them, or generally clear the path or make it easier we are denying our kids valuable learning opportunities. It was not until I read this book did I realize just how much of this I do and I think I have come a long way! Things as simple as taking them their forgotten lunch or gym uniform - how will they learn if I fix it for them? Giving our kids the chance to fail also teaches them resilience and grit. We deny this to them when we do for them. As a naturalized American born and raised in Australia the American tertiary education system is absolutely daunting to me. Comparatively speaking there are only a handful of universities in Australia. I knew there were a lot in the United States, but reading that there were 2800 colleges was news to me! Good news! This book gave me great faith that there is a college out there for my kids that will be a great fit for them. It may be a college that I have never heard of, but it will probably give then a good education. We had already decided as a family that we were not going to buy into the college race/checklist thought process. The idea of voluntourism and sports for a college application just made us squirm. We had already decided to opt out of all of that, both for the sanity of our child and for the happiness of our family and this book gives permission to do that. This book was also a really good reminder that our kids should be learning for the sake of learning, not for the grades and not to get into college. All of our kids have gone to or currently attend Montessori schools. We love Montessori for the love of learning that it instills in children. Our two big kids left Montessori for public school in first grade and their love of learning has diminished ever since. We live in a great school district that offers a very rigorous education, but the emphasis is on an advanced classes and grades and achieving for the sake of achievement. We have found a great high school that will foster a love of learning and we are excited to send our kids there, but we need to get through middle school first. My big kids are both in the gifted programs for their grades, but it is not really directed at kids who think and approach things differently - it is just more, sooner, faster, harder and I am not sure what the point is. My oldest is not enjoying and is struggling in his advanced math class. After reading this book we are more than okay if he decides he wants to drop down to the regular math class. Moreover, we want that to be his decision. When we were kids our parents talked to our teachers maybe once or twice a year and I want that for my kids too. I want to hand over responsibility for my kid's education to them - we can't do it for them after all - and again this book encourages that. Most of all this book gives parents permission to have a life! I am so grateful for that. This books has been great for giving me permission to do what I already want to do - give my kids autonomy, responsibility and life skills. Plus it encourages me to have a life! It's a great example for my kids. It's incredibly liberating to take the time for the things that matter to me and also to have the confidence in my kids that they can do the right things with the tools we give them. I really appreciated the list of resources that Julie gives towards the end of the book. I followed a bunch of her recommendations on Facebook and seeing the encouraging posts in my feed remind me that I am doing the right thing when a lot of folks in my community are still doing homework for their kids and picking up after them. Overall this is a great roadmap for bringing your child to adulthood. Plus it provides reassurance that this is the right way to go in a society that coddles its children. My only criticism is that Julie focuses exclusively on college as a means of tertiary education. I find that this to be a particularly American obsession and that more proponents of trade schools and other educational institutions would be very beneficial in today's climate. See Mike Rowe!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Athena Nagel

    My husband and I have five kids and we both work in education. I wish there was a road map that we and other parents can follow to raise kids to become successful adults. This book provides some unique insight into helping children to become successful. Every parent should read this - rich parents, poor parents, controlling parents, free range parents - all of them. I feel like we have become a generation of parents who want this bubble of protection around our kids yet we want them to grow up t My husband and I have five kids and we both work in education. I wish there was a road map that we and other parents can follow to raise kids to become successful adults. This book provides some unique insight into helping children to become successful. Every parent should read this - rich parents, poor parents, controlling parents, free range parents - all of them. I feel like we have become a generation of parents who want this bubble of protection around our kids yet we want them to grow up to be responsible and successful adults. Those don't necessarily go hand in hand. Reading this book is the first step to guide you through the process. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lorilin

    Really informative and eye-opening book. I recommend watching her TED talk if you are short on time--though I'll admit that I loved reading all the stories about the crazy helicopter parents she's encountered as a student dean at Stanford. Yowza.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Eirene

    This book was so good I ended up buying it to I could really sit down and read it without feeling rushed, highlight and make notes and make my hubby read it too. :) This book was SHOCKING and horrifying and really sad and gross in a lot places. It's all about the kids growing up with "helicopter parents" who are growing into adults who have had no adversity, have no life skills and cannot do anything for themselves. The stories that were told in this book were extreme, but they sure opened my eye This book was so good I ended up buying it to I could really sit down and read it without feeling rushed, highlight and make notes and make my hubby read it too. :) This book was SHOCKING and horrifying and really sad and gross in a lot places. It's all about the kids growing up with "helicopter parents" who are growing into adults who have had no adversity, have no life skills and cannot do anything for themselves. The stories that were told in this book were extreme, but they sure opened my eyes and made me think "I do NOT want to do this!" I mean a 20-something who has her first review at work and it isn't great so her MOM calls the HR department to complain?! The kids who are at college and their parents GO TO COLLEGE every weekend to do their laundry?! It's about how somewhere parenting changed from preparing kids for life to protecting them from everything. These kids don't have street smarts, don't know how to do basic things...it is so sad. The author calls it "invasive parenting" that is growing a "nation of wimps." Kids need to make mistakes, then need to learn from them and "they also need to be prepared for when things go wrong." "Millenials have been called the 'Everyone Gets a Trophy' generation for good reason." "Moms seem so overinvolved in solving problems for their children instead of letting the kids learn to work it out." The book is written by the Dean of Standford admissions. Sometimes it was a little heavy on the college-prep aspect, which didn't interest me as much, but the book was well-written, well-researched and easy to read. And boy was it eye-opening. I've seen it with friends who have kids--their kids are so overscheduled the parents are frazzled, have no time, the kids have no down time and it certainly doesn't sound like something I want for our little family. Somewhere parents have stopped allowing free play and expression of creativity, or allowing their kids to struggle and figure things out. Play is narrated (something I also read about in the book "Bringing Up Bebe"), parents step in if there's any disagreement between kids on the playground. The kids aren't taught to solve their own problems. "They grasp for control in every way, and don't allow their children to figure it out." "Having things done for you and having no control over those outcomes can also lead to a kind of 'learned helplessness." Instead we should be teaching "self-effacy, which is the belief in your abilities to complete a task, reach a goal, and manage a situation." The book does give ideas on how to fix/avoid the trap of over-parenting and teaching kids, even little kids, how to be self-sufficient, questioning and problem-solving. I loved the examples (broken down by age groups) on little things you can do to grow their self-effacy, self-esteem and teach them life skills. I loved this book and like I said, I will be reading it again and making more notes. I agreed with so much of it and found it really helpful to break it down, spell out what to do and there were a ton of other books and articles that sounded interesting in the appendix. Recommended!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Author Lythcott-Haines was a Dean at Stanford, then became totally frustrated with helicopter parents. The students they raised were fragile, delicate flowers who could get A's, but couldn't function in the real world. She advocates allowing your child to fail, for they will then learn new skills. Kids need time to be bored, to go away from home, to do chores, and to try activities that won't further their resumes. I particularly liked this list of all things an 18 year old must be able to: 1. Ta Author Lythcott-Haines was a Dean at Stanford, then became totally frustrated with helicopter parents. The students they raised were fragile, delicate flowers who could get A's, but couldn't function in the real world. She advocates allowing your child to fail, for they will then learn new skills. Kids need time to be bored, to go away from home, to do chores, and to try activities that won't further their resumes. I particularly liked this list of all things an 18 year old must be able to: 1. Talk to strangers such as professors, store clerks, mechanics.... 2. Find his way around campus or the city in which he lives. 3. Manage his assignments and deadlines. 4. Handle interpersonal problems. 5. Earn and manage money. 6. Take risks. The bottom line was repeated often throughout the book - "Don't do for kids what they can do for themselves, don't do for kids what they can almost do for themselves." (Otherwise we are unconsciously telling them we can do it better.)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Fabulous book! What meant the most to me in this book is that by putting yourself out of a job (parenting) you have done your job! Embrace the child you have and don't shepherd them from milestone to milestone, filling out college apps FOR THEM, doing homework FOR THEM, forcing your idea of AP and Honors classes in high school on them. The whole "child sports industrial complex" section was fabulous! I could go on and on. Over parenting causes so much harm. I love the line that as parents our dr Fabulous book! What meant the most to me in this book is that by putting yourself out of a job (parenting) you have done your job! Embrace the child you have and don't shepherd them from milestone to milestone, filling out college apps FOR THEM, doing homework FOR THEM, forcing your idea of AP and Honors classes in high school on them. The whole "child sports industrial complex" section was fabulous! I could go on and on. Over parenting causes so much harm. I love the line that as parents our dream was to have a child, but we can't forget that our children have the right to dream for themselves and those dreams are not always the straight and narrow path of high school, college, career. Kudos to Julie Lythcott-Haims for pushing this subject.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charles Thornton

    This book is right on target. I see this problem everywhere. The problem is that this book could have been written in less than half the space. Very repetitive and goes way to far in making each point. I could not read it all but ended up scanning through it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    no matter where you are in your parenting journey this is an excellent reminder about the dangers of modern motherhood....and fatherhood too. doing more is not necessarily better for our growing and developing adults.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan Bowman

    This author has passion and first hand knowledge of the subject from her perches as a parent and office of admissions for Stanford. She's not a good writer - her style is like me trying to write a book - rambling, repetitive, unorganized and at times difficult to follow as it continuously back tracks to points already made. That said - I didn't read it for the style and prose. I read it for the content. And the content far outweighed any stylistic challenges. This book was so thought provoking. This author has passion and first hand knowledge of the subject from her perches as a parent and office of admissions for Stanford. She's not a good writer - her style is like me trying to write a book - rambling, repetitive, unorganized and at times difficult to follow as it continuously back tracks to points already made. That said - I didn't read it for the style and prose. I read it for the content. And the content far outweighed any stylistic challenges. This book was so thought provoking. I have never read a book where I wrote down 5+ other books that I want to read. I followed many people on Instagram and FB and visited blogs and websites of many of the sources cited. I immediately put into practice some of the items mentioned - changing how I praise my kids and asking my kids better open ended questions. There was also lots I couldn't identify with. The author went to an Ivy and is raising kids in ultra competitive Palo Alto Silicon Valley. Her set is all about their kids getting into an Ivy...my set is all about a good ole state school. There are lots of parenting philosophies mentioned that I don't agree with. However there's so much more here that is applicable than not. I have attempted to change the ways I interact with and observe my kids. I've learned tips on how to muzzle myself when it comes to intervening on my kids' behalf. I now view parent intervention that myself and my parent peers have done as absolutely ridiculous, demeaning to the child and harmful. The emails/texts/phone calls to teachers/coaches/other parents about the unfairness/injustice/a kid's feelings being hurt is minutiae. I'm embarrassed for myself and other parents who have done this. It's seemingly harmless to send a quick email or text because you don't agree with something that "hurt" or "embarrassed" your kid. We (myself included) intervene and we blame (you did this to my kid) because we're shielding them from feeling hurt or disappointment or sadness (from being left out). This hinders them developmentally because they don't develop the necessary skills to cope with these situations. We need to let them feel, stay out of it and focus on helping them with coping skills on how to handle the feelings/situation instead of trying to make it go away. My eyes have been opened. My brain has been challenged. I have been inspired to read more. This is a must read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Arielle

    Definitely a thought-provoking parenting book! Life skills advice from the author - by 3 years, kids should: -- put away toys -- dress self -- put clothes in hamper -- clear plate after meal -- assist in setting table -- brush teeth and wash face with assistance - by 5 years, kid should -- know full name, address, phone number -- know how to make emergency call -- perform simple cleaning chores -- feed pets -- identify monetary denominations, understand concept of money use -- brush teeth, comb hair, wash face Definitely a thought-provoking parenting book! Life skills advice from the author - by 3 years, kids should: -- put away toys -- dress self -- put clothes in hamper -- clear plate after meal -- assist in setting table -- brush teeth and wash face with assistance - by 5 years, kid should -- know full name, address, phone number -- know how to make emergency call -- perform simple cleaning chores -- feed pets -- identify monetary denominations, understand concept of money use -- brush teeth, comb hair, wash face without assistance -- help with laundry chores -- choose own clothes to wear - by 7 years, kid can -- mix, stir, cut food -- make basic meal (e.g. sandwich) -- help put away groceries -- wash dishes -- basic household cleaners -- straighten up bathroom after use -- make bed without assistance -- bathe unsupervised - by 9 years, kid should: -- fold clothes -- simple sewing -- care for outdoor toys (e.g. bike) -- take care of personal hygiene without being told -- use broom and dustpan -- read a recipe and prepare simple meal -- help create grocery list -- count and make change -- take written phone messages -- help with lawn/garden duties -- take out trash - by 13 years, kid should: -- able to stay home alone -- go to store and make purchase by self -- change bedsheets -- use washing machine and dryer/clothes line -- plan and prepare a meal with several ingredients -- use oven to broil/bake -- read labels -- iron clothes -- basic hand tools -- mow lawn -- look after younger siblings or neighbors - by 18, kid should: -- perform sophisticated cleaning and maintenance chores (e.g. changing vacuum cleaner bag) -- fill car with gas, add air to tire -- read and understand medicine labels -- interview for and get job -- prepare and cook meals - by moving out own own, young adult should: -- make doctor/dental appointments -- basic understanding of finances (balance checkbook, pay bills, use credit cards responsibly) -- understand basic contracts (e.g. apartment lease) -- schedule oil changes and basic car maintenance

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    A worthy addition to the ever-burgeoning Stop Helicoptering Your Children Canon. It's a quick read and at once philosophical and practical. It is especially relevant to any parent who has not yet begun the college admissions process, as she has excellent, very specific statistics and advice about exactly how and why you should just calm the eff down and not at all worry about your kid getting into Stanford. Small points of criticism: as a former Stanford dean and current resident of Palo Alto, sh A worthy addition to the ever-burgeoning Stop Helicoptering Your Children Canon. It's a quick read and at once philosophical and practical. It is especially relevant to any parent who has not yet begun the college admissions process, as she has excellent, very specific statistics and advice about exactly how and why you should just calm the eff down and not at all worry about your kid getting into Stanford. Small points of criticism: as a former Stanford dean and current resident of Palo Alto, she must say the word "Stanford" a thousand times in this book. She uses admission into Stanford as a stand-in for any of the very tip-top prestigious schools and as the holy grail of helicopter parents in countless examples. On the one hand, I get that she was mining her own experience, but on the other hand, I think all the Stanford Stanford Stanford could possibly bolster its repuation as being the Ur-University. It made me wonder if she got a kick-back from Stanford. Why not occasionally use Harvard? Or Duke? Or Yale? The other critique I would offer is that she has a skewed notion of how people perceive the college admissions arms race. As a Stanford dean (and maybe as a resident of Palo Alto), I think she met a very, very small subsection of parents for whom only the tippity-top universities will do. At one point, Cornell is referred to as a second-tier Ivy. Maybe I don't hang all that much with the elite (although I attended fancy private school) but I honestly don't know anyone who would be disappointed if their kid got into Cornell. I guess there are people out there who are Harvard-or-Stanford-Or-We've Failed, but I sincerely have never, ever met them. And while I think her advice is totally spot-on and good for ALL parents, I do think a lot of her examples are mined from the First-World-iest of First World Primates of Palo Alto types who I don't think are as prevalent as she has encountered.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Lenker

    This book made me feel very thankful for the choices my parents made in raising me and my sister, even if many of those choices were born out of necessity -- as my dad was often fond of saying, we were poor, but we were happy. Perhaps because of this rather modest upbringing, I was never held to some near-impossible standard, and I wasn't expected to enter some holy grail of a particular college or vocation. Instead, there was a trust placed in me from a young age, a willingness to allow me to f This book made me feel very thankful for the choices my parents made in raising me and my sister, even if many of those choices were born out of necessity -- as my dad was often fond of saying, we were poor, but we were happy. Perhaps because of this rather modest upbringing, I was never held to some near-impossible standard, and I wasn't expected to enter some holy grail of a particular college or vocation. Instead, there was a trust placed in me from a young age, a willingness to allow me to figure out my own path, which I'm only learning to really appreciate now as I get older. In terms of the actual book, it was somewhat interesting, especially as a college administrator who works with high-achieving undergraduates and their (equally high-achieving) parents on a regular basis. That said, while there are some particularly good and helpful chapters, most felt really repetitive. Like many books in the how-to/self-help nonfiction realm, this one could probably be half the length and not really suffer for it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Strong

    Even if you don't think helicopter parenting is your problem (it's definitely not mine), this book is of interest for its angle on selecting a college. It's important to move beyond the "brand name college" mindset and the belief that only the graduates of "elite" colleges lead successful lives. As the parent of a high-schooler, I'm glad I read this in time to gain some perspective on the college selection and admissions processes. Interesting fact (although admittedly anecdotal): My husband gra Even if you don't think helicopter parenting is your problem (it's definitely not mine), this book is of interest for its angle on selecting a college. It's important to move beyond the "brand name college" mindset and the belief that only the graduates of "elite" colleges lead successful lives. As the parent of a high-schooler, I'm glad I read this in time to gain some perspective on the college selection and admissions processes. Interesting fact (although admittedly anecdotal): My husband graduated from a large public state university; I graduated from a very small private liberal-arts college (which was all-female at the time). We both hold master's degrees, own our home, have rich and rewarding relationships with friends and family, and are generally regarded as good at our jobs. We have a little money in the bank and can afford to give our kids plenty of opportunities to have fun and try out new things. Two very different college experiences led us both to a similar place. College is NOT a one-size-fits-all concept.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    Thank you Julie Lythcott-Haims for lifting the burden of fear from parenting - the fear of stranger-danger, the fear of bad grades, the fear of not raising an olympic athlete, the fear of our child not getting into a "good" college. Ms. Lythcott-Haims' book uses facts and real life examples of how today's form of overparenting is truly hurting our children. We need to let our children make decisions for themselves, to fall down and get hurt, to make mistakes and learn from them instead of consta Thank you Julie Lythcott-Haims for lifting the burden of fear from parenting - the fear of stranger-danger, the fear of bad grades, the fear of not raising an olympic athlete, the fear of our child not getting into a "good" college. Ms. Lythcott-Haims' book uses facts and real life examples of how today's form of overparenting is truly hurting our children. We need to let our children make decisions for themselves, to fall down and get hurt, to make mistakes and learn from them instead of constantly trying to protect our children from every possible threat both real and nonexistent. Not only is today's "accepted" style of parenting exhausting, it's also harming our children's ability to grow into productive, confident and happy adults. This book is very insightful, interesting and easy to read. If you have children of any age, I recommend you read this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rita Shaffer

    This book was just the book I needed right now - parenting is the hardest thing I have ever done, and this book validated some of the choices we have made while giving me a lot to think as B navigates 8th grade in preparation for HS. My biggest take away: Parents must step back and let children make the "little" mistakes necessary to learn responsibility; the "little" mistakes teach the things necessary to be successful and independent!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carmen Liffengren

    4.5 Stars A friend of mine and I use the term "benign neglect" to characterize our own childhoods. It isn't a term we coined and it isn't always a negative critique, but it aptly describes the upbringing we got. Did we not know that we probably had it pretty good? We were that last generation of kids that were allowed more freedom and self-building autonomy than our children get today. I suspect that many of GenX kids didn't know that when they became parents themselves, the pendulum would swing 4.5 Stars A friend of mine and I use the term "benign neglect" to characterize our own childhoods. It isn't a term we coined and it isn't always a negative critique, but it aptly describes the upbringing we got. Did we not know that we probably had it pretty good? We were that last generation of kids that were allowed more freedom and self-building autonomy than our children get today. I suspect that many of GenX kids didn't know that when they became parents themselves, the pendulum would swing boldly in reaction and in critique to our own childhoods. Today's kids are over-scheduled and stressed. "Helicopter" parents hover close by ready to swoop in and to take control often micro-managing the details of their children's lives. What forces are at play in modern parenting? The sobering detail entails that so much of our parenting is aimed at giving our children a comfortable pain free environment in which to thrive. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with this sentiment. We love our children fiercely, but often our own egos intertwine in our children's successes. Their success, in turn, becomes our success. The hovering parent often see their kids as extensions of themselves blurring the lines making their child indistinguishable as a separate entity at all. The urge to over-parent often comes with pressure that a good parent is highly involved in the minutiae of their kids lives. Novels like Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies and The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore satire the pressures of modern parenting catching the zeitgeist of our times. What do we do to turn the ship around? How to Raise an Adult makes the case that parents need to back off, foster independence, and self-efficacy in our children. We are doing them a huge disservice as we act as bumpers to the real discomfort and disappointments that accompany real life. Lythcott-Haims focuses intensely on the insane college admissions frenzy that often begins early while children are still in elementary school and sadly, even earlier. Parents think entirely in terms of transcripts and applications and thus, they end up "manufacturing" their children to fit into the narrow college board definition of what admissions deem acceptable. College admission, and more specifically name brand elite college admission, is short-changing our children. They are losing their childhood to over-scheduling extra-curricular activities that look good on college applications. Play is the domain of children where they can problem solve on their own by using and developing their imaginations. Modern parenting often looks at play as something suspect. We ask ourselves how can they be using their time better or is play a waste of time? We don't want to see our children look good on paper, but in real life, lack character and grit in the real world. So, Lythcott-Haims suggests that we ask our kids to do more for themselves. Doesn't that sound simple? Of course we want to raise kids that can figure things out on their own, but the helicopter parent is quick to fix things when it gets too tough for our kids. That toughness is exactly what they need to thrive. What I really liked about this book is that she touches on many other issues facing our kids and references many other books that I've read that really add to the discussion and expand on the notion of what to do with today's over-parenting and the effect it's having on this generation of kids. For instance, this generation of kids is the most supervised of any other generation taking considerations for safety to astonishing new levels. We've forgotten how to let our children to just be without the urge to continually mold them towards college success. This book reminded me that our kids need real world skills along with all those AP classes they’re taking. They will feel more proud if they can feel that they can do things for themselves. This book also reminded me of another book that addresses the college frenzy: Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni. So, what can we do to turn the tide on the epidemic of over-parenting? We need to see childhood as the time to nurture independence. We need to encourage our kids to do for themselves. We need to encourage them to work and not just at their school work. We need to calm down about college and most importantly, we need to get our own lives and nurture our own selves! Other books that Lythcott-Haims references and some other books that I've read that widen the discussion and are worthy of discussion here: The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua Free-Range Kids: Giving our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry by Lenore Skenazy How Children Succeed:Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir by Katrina Kenison Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be by Frank Bruni The Homework Myth:Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing by Alfie Kohn ~Audio Book~

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    All in all this is a decent book with a worthwhile message, but I got the feeling I (despite being a parent) was not the target audience for this book, who I gather consist of upper-middle class soccer parents and tiger mom control freaks who dictate what/when their children should study, eat, and/or breathe. However, I don't see those types of parents gravitating to this book to begin with, although the author makes the prescient point that while writing this book she learned she WAS unwittingl All in all this is a decent book with a worthwhile message, but I got the feeling I (despite being a parent) was not the target audience for this book, who I gather consist of upper-middle class soccer parents and tiger mom control freaks who dictate what/when their children should study, eat, and/or breathe. However, I don't see those types of parents gravitating to this book to begin with, although the author makes the prescient point that while writing this book she learned she WAS unwittingly turning into one of those. So fast forward a few years and maybe I'll be there. Naw. This is a book aimed at people who can't abide "unstructured" time and who will emotionally implode if their dear progeny do NOT get a law degree from Harvard. I think I'm safe. It probably helps that I don't live in Palo Alto or NYC so I really don't recognize the insanely competitive schooling environment that the author laments throughout the book. May I remain so lucky. How to Raise an Adult offers up some handy tips for bringing up kids with "grit" who can survive at college without mom coming by on weekends to do their laundry. However, it suffers somewhat in comparison to other recent books on overparenting, which it cites with abandon but without bringing much new to the table--besides, arguably, the "how to not stress about your kid's college applications" angle. (hint: do not write your kid's entrance essays for them.) If you've read Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, the The Atlantic article "The Overprotected Kid", this one probably won't exactly blow your mind. But if you haven't, and you're an over-scheduled parent set on raising a Chief Justice and a Surgeon General, take a look because it just might.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    I received an advanced reader's copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways - thanks! I enjoyed reading this book. I had read and agreed with much of what I had read in other books the author surveys - Senior's "All Joy and No Fun" and the "Bringing up Bebe" about the contrast between French and American parenting - so I was predisposed to agree with this author's viewpoint. However, given the context of her experience, one can only hope that she won't be preaching to the choir but will effect I received an advanced reader's copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways - thanks! I enjoyed reading this book. I had read and agreed with much of what I had read in other books the author surveys - Senior's "All Joy and No Fun" and the "Bringing up Bebe" about the contrast between French and American parenting - so I was predisposed to agree with this author's viewpoint. However, given the context of her experience, one can only hope that she won't be preaching to the choir but will effectively reach a wider audience. I found the combination of book reviews, personal interviews, and anecdotes an engaging format.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Julie Lythocott-Haims produced a fantastic podcast that I listened to last year called "Getting In" talking about the process of college applications and selection. I loved it and appreciated her attitude and perspective. She's a previous freshman dean from Stanford as well as a mother to a son and daughter. Her book is just as enlightening as her podcast. She gives many examples of overparenting of which I am guilty. As my kids age, I continue to learn as they continue to change and grow. I lea Julie Lythocott-Haims produced a fantastic podcast that I listened to last year called "Getting In" talking about the process of college applications and selection. I loved it and appreciated her attitude and perspective. She's a previous freshman dean from Stanford as well as a mother to a son and daughter. Her book is just as enlightening as her podcast. She gives many examples of overparenting of which I am guilty. As my kids age, I continue to learn as they continue to change and grow. I learned a lot from the author and plan to implement changes in my parenting. I recommend this to any parent with middle schoolers on up. Maybe even earlier.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Read this for book club. It’s super work relevant. Everyone: read it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    This book is a must-read for Gen X parents, who, if at all like me, are somewhat confused by how the baby boomers raised us. "Elite" colleges are the goal, but why? What does success really look like? Who do we want our kids to be? And who are we, as parents, anyway? My favorite part of the book was her focus on the parent living a life of their own. She nailed it. Raising an adult means modeling an adult life. Not a butler's, or a housekeeper's, or a personal assistant's. Runner up -- warning p This book is a must-read for Gen X parents, who, if at all like me, are somewhat confused by how the baby boomers raised us. "Elite" colleges are the goal, but why? What does success really look like? Who do we want our kids to be? And who are we, as parents, anyway? My favorite part of the book was her focus on the parent living a life of their own. She nailed it. Raising an adult means modeling an adult life. Not a butler's, or a housekeeper's, or a personal assistant's. Runner up -- warning parents not to do homework or write college essays (I can't quite believe parents do this...), not to push their kids to activities and majors that they don't enjoy. But, I bristled a bit at her advice on selecting colleges. Her points: -US News and World report rankings are not based on graduate's thoughts, or indicators of happiness. An issue printed for black line revenue does not know what is best for your child. -State schools can offer excellent educations, especially in their various areas of renown and research. -"No name" liberal arts schools can offer your child an opportunity to be top of the class - with excellent chances for grad school, extracurriculars, taking advantage of every collegiate opportunity. - Your kids' odds of getting into an elite college are practically nil, so see previous. The last one really makes me cringe. And, coming from a former Stanford dean and Ivy alum herself, sound disingenuous. (Has she really given up- as she hints- on her own kids' (likely legacy) admissions already?) Yes, in 20 years so-and-so who went to ASU may earn the same amount of money as so-and-so who was an average student at a more competitive "elite" college. But, in this chapter, she mentions nothing about the benefit of a challenge. She leaves that on the Swedish playground floor, with the nails and the hammers. Not only can a competitive college build character, give you ambitious, brilliant and diverse friends, it prepares you for life in a way an easier college may not. To me, the parents who encourage a boutique college picked mainly to bolster self-esteem are just as indulgent as the parents who tell their kids not to worry about the chores. The main takeaway, though, is one I can agree with. There are many roads to most people's definition of happiness and success. Raising an independent adult who does not care what you think is more important raising a child who fulfills x,y,z of a parent's expectations. The cost of college is going up, and so the stakes seem to have risen, and the reigns are tightening. But instead of playing to that, we as parents should be loosening up- looking closely at the kids we have, and letting the system follow our kids to where they want to go.

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