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

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 6/9/2015
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

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"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

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.

Author Biography

Julie Lythcott-Haims served as Dean of Freshman and Undergraduate Advising for over a decade at Stanford University, where she received the Dinkelspiel Award for her contributions to the undergraduate experience. A mother of two teenagers, she has spoken and written widely on the phenomenon of helicopter parenting, and her work has appeared on TEDx talks and in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune. She is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1: What We're Doing Now
1. Keeping Them Safe and Sound 11
2. Providing Opportunity 29
3. Being There for Them 43
4. Succumbing to the College Admissions Arms Race 55
5. To What End? 72

Part 2: Why We Must Stop Overparenting
6. Our Kids Lack Basic Life Skills 77
7. They've Been Psychologically Harmed 87
8. They're Becoming "Study Drug" Addicts 102
9. We're Hurting Their Job Prospects 109
10. Overparenting Stresses Us Out, Too 119
11. The College Admission Pro­cess Is Broken 128

Part 3: Another Way
12. The Case for Another Way 143
13. Give Them Unstructured Time 150
14. Teach Life Skills 162
15. Teach Them How to Think 176
16. Prepare Them for Hard Work 195
17. Let Them Chart Their Own Path 211
18. Normalize Struggle 228
19. Have a Wider Mind-­set About Colleges 243
20. Listen to Them 262

Part 4: Daring to Parent Differently
21. Reclaim Your Self 275
22. Be the Parent You Want to Be 286

Conclusion 302
Appendix A 307
Appendix B 310

Notes 311
Bibliography 329
Ac­know­ledg­ments 340
Index 343

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