As the parent of several adults and near adults, I was excited to be asked to review Julie Lythcott-Haims’ newest book, How to Raise an Adult, Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid For Success. As a Clever Girls Collective Member, I received a complementary copy in exchange for this review.
Overall, this book was an interesting read as Ms Lythcott-Haims brings up many valid points. Our kids have become an over-scheduled, over-monitored generation. We as parents need to back off and let them do things on their own.
Reading this book was both painful and yet vindicating for me. The first part of this book breaks down how many parents are now so overprotective and over involved that kids of this generation are now lacking basic life skills when they reach adulthood. Instead of doing so many things for them, we need to let them take control of things for themselves.
Success or failure should depend on the child not the parent.
The second half of the book was what really spoke to me, especially the section on entitled Be the Parent You Want to Be. In this section, she lays out some principles that we as parents should pivot towards.
1. The world is much safer than we’ve been led to believe, and our child needs to learn how to thrive in it rather than be protected from it;
2. A checklisted childhood designed to lead to a narrow definition of success robs children of the proper developmental opportunities of childhood and can lead to psychological harm;
3. A child learns, grows, and ultimately succeeds by diving into what interests them, doing and thinking for themselves, trying and failing and trying again, and developing mastery through effort; and
4. A family life is richer and more rewarding for all when parents aren’t hovering over and facilitating every moment of a kid’s life.
Although we all want our kids to grow up to go to the most prestigious universities and go on to high-powered careers, that is not always realistic. The odds of getting into the Harvards and Yales of the world are so incredibly slim that we do better to have more of an open mind.
It is high time we let our kids decide what will make them happy in their future. That may not even include college!
I don’t tend towards overparenting, so this book really validated how I do parent. My kids go to a magnet school that is considered by many to offer the best education around. Unfortunately, this means that many parents at the school are really good at overparenting. I, however, am not. I do not sign off on homework nightly after 3rd grade. It is the kid’s responsibility at that point. I do not religiously check online grades either. My philosophy is that if a kid is going to fail on his own, I would rather they do it before high school. Hopefully by high school, they will have learned from their mistakes and will succeed.
Overall, this is a good book for parents of tweens and teens wanting to find another way of parenting. I will include this caveat though, it can be a hard read. Be prepared for a challenge to your way of thinking. Believe it or not, your kid can do quite a lot more than you would think.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.