My latest parenting read How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by former Stanford Dean Julia Lythcott-Haims is a compelling one that I strongly recommend to all parents, especially those with older children.
Within minutes of opening the paperback I was intrigued by the consequences from the lack of independence given to our children from the first two sentences of the introduction.
“This is a book about parents who are over involved in the lives of their kids. It looks at the love and feat behind our overinvolvement. It looks at the harm we cause when we do too much.”
From there I was hooked and continued reading, underlining and circling relevant information with vigor. Here are a few highlights from the first few chapters.
“…the amount of freedom enjoyed by American kids today shrinks to a fraction of what it was for their parents, and a fraction of a fraction of what it was for their grandparents.”
“American parents and caregivers are actively involved in play – up at the swings, under the monkey bars or next to the slide…ready to catch a fall or prevent a scrape.”
“From early extracurricular activities to homework to sports, we tirelessly examine and revise our kids’ checklist of experiences, certain that if we –they – just do one more thing, it might be enough to win them the big prize: admission to a highly selective college.”
“Family time isn’t always spent relaxing or lolling around. Depending on the family, free time can be structured, scheduled and organized.”
“We are a highly involved and sometimes formidable third party in all interactions that involve our children and other adults, always there, present physically or by cell phone, hovering, acting as our kids’ eyes and ears, poised to anticipate problems, provide paperwork or materials, and intervene when questions need to be asked or answered. We don’t trust systems or authorities. We don’t trust our kids to be able to work out their own problems.“
Does any of this ring a bell for you? I know I’m a worrier, but I need to and, since reading this book, plan to let my kids live, make decisions and become independent.
Have you read How to Raise an Adult? Are you reading anything else good these days?