In recent years, there has been a lot of talk in the media, at PTA meetings and among parents and educators on the effects of helicopter parenting – knowing when to step in to help and when to allow children to do things for themselves. A new book by Julie Lythcott-Haims does a great job exploring the topic of over-parenting and its detrimental effects on young adults.
How to Raise an Adult (Henry Holt and Co., June 2015) is based on Lythcott-Haims’ experience as the freshman dean at Stanford University, where she worked with many bright young students who were lacking fundamental self-reliance. The mother of two teens gives readers an insider view of what happens when parents become so involved in their child’s decision making and so focused on “protecting their kids from life,” that they “stop preparing kids for life.”
To her own experience, Lythcott-Haims adds wisdom gained from conversations with admissions officers, educators and employers, offering new and practical ways to provide parental support while allowing children to make – and learn from – mistakes. She stresses throughout the book that this is how children develop resilience, resourcefulness and a strong belief in their own abilities to be healthy, successful adults. “Without experiencing the rougher spots of life, our kids become exquisite, like orchids, yet are incapable, sometimes terribly incapable, of thriving in the real world on their own,” she writes.
The book offers age-appropriate advice on raising kids beginning in early childhood, in order to “launch a kid who still loves us and wants to see us, but who also has the wherewithal to make his or her way in life, with a lot of skills and a mind-set of, I think I can, I think I can!”