I just finished How To Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting trap and Prepare your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims. This book took me a while to read (just because there is A TON of information in it) but I really enjoyed it.
Here are some of the highlights:
In the very first chapter, Lythcott-Haims talks about how childhood is the most researched phase of life (I believe it, due to my major in college!) and how the balance of teaching kids and them learning by experience has drastically shifted. We now live in a society where news travels fast, so Amber alerts are always on our phones, children who go missing are instantly plastered on the news, and every tragedy it seems is right at our fingertips. This has made raising kids a scary thing! It’s no longer acceptable to have your 10 year old walk down the block to the gas station for something by themselves, or leave your kids in the car in perfect temperatures to run a quick errand. We as parents are now literally becoming the bumpers between our kids and the world. There is no learning things the hard way due to the fear and paranoia that surrounds us. While technology is a great thing, there has to be a balance. I want to raise my kids in a way that nurtures their independence so that later in life, they can be aware of themselves.
Later on in the book, she discusses how “helicopter” parenting is here to stay, but how the more extreme parents who do this end up hurting their children’s job prospects later in life. In 2014, there was a survey done by the faculty in the Department of Management at California State Univeristy Fresno to 450 undergrad students. They were asked to “rate their level of self-efficacy, the frequency of parental involvement, how involved their parents were in their daily lives, and their response to certain workplace scenarios.”
The study showed that the difference between students who had “helicopter” parents and those who didn’t was the lack of belief in themselves to reach goals and complete tasks. Interesting to think about, right? This study basically shows that if we don’t give our kids the space to learn and grow and achieve on their own, we are literally holding them back in life.
That’s a tough pill to swallow.
This book was full of all sorts of interesting stories and research and really made me think about how I am raising my kids. I am not just trying to survive their childhood. My job as a parent is to pave the way for their success while fostering self-reliance and confidence in their own abilities.
My favorite part of the entire book is on page 278 where Lythcott-Haims gives 6 ways to better look after yourself, and she says after doing so, you will be a better parent. The first two are my favorite- Discover your passion and purpose and learn to say no. The author says that if you are over-focused on your child, you may be under-focused on yourself. Discovering your own passions is healthy for your children to see, and this was hands down my favorite part of the book.
Overall, this book was a great read. It has tons of information and research, so it’s not an easy read by any means, but it is well worth the time. It gave me a greater perspective on how big the reach of my parenting is. It is not survival mode, it is learning to thrive, thus showing my kids how to thrive and being able to set them up for their own successes as they grow.
What’s your take on this? Do you over parent because the media makes the world seem like a scary place? I would love to hear your thoughts.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.