Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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.
* * * Review * * *
Where to start with all that I want to say, because I am telling you, this is a great book with a lot of thought provoking information.
For starters, the author mentions that the baby boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964) were the first to be labeled as ‘helicopter’ parents.
She stated that the boom generation’s grandparents (so my great grandparents) believed in the “children are to be seen and not heard” (something my mother always said to me growing up and I hate that statement.)
She stated that the boom generation’s parents (my grandparents) were emotionally distant whereas the boom generation were emotionally present in their kids’ lives. It is stated that my grandparents were ‘hands off’ and adhered to hierarchy, structure, and authority. However, my parents (the boomer generation) tried to control and ensure outcomes for their children and were our strongest advocates.
I don’t know about your family, but this wasn’t quite the case in my family. My mom… I would place her in my great-grandparents era. “To be seen and not heard”. Strict. I never felt she was advocate or stood up for me. She was very controlling.
Therefore, because of that, my children are raised slightly different.
Although this one aspect varied right off the bat, I did find that I agreed with a majority of what the author said (I just had to mix up my generations a bit!)
The author points out that in 1983, there seemed to be a rise in children abductions making the parents ‘helicopter parents’. For me, I don’t recall seeing that (I was born in 1983.)
I was babysitting other children at the age of 11, spending time at home alone before then, and babysitting my younger sisters before then as well.
Now days, you mention an 11 year old even being home alone and people will criticize, judge, and condemn you!
Nothing has changed between then and now.
There are still sex offenders. There are still abductions.
The only difference?
News travels faster via technology (e.g. social media).
My favorite quote:
Why did parenting change from preparing our kids for life to protecting them from life, which means they’re not prepared to live life on their own?
It’s true! Our generation is such a hovering generation. We don’t let our kids live, learn, experience life. We want to protect them from everything and that just creates a fear of life within them.
I could spend hours literally discussing this book and the things that the author writes. She really is spot on in a lot of things that I think parents need to consider.
Definitely a book for current and future parents.
About the Author
Hi. In addition to this book, I write non-fiction, poetry, plays, and am pursuing an MFA at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
A graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law, I practiced law in the Bay Area for many years before returning to Stanford as an Associate Dean, and then Assistant to the President (John Hennessy). After that, I spent a decade as the Dean of Freshmen, a position I created in 2002. Almost 20,000 undergraduates matriculated on my watch, and in 2010 I received the university’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award. I stepped down in 2012 to pursue writing (my career shift is told in It Ain’t Over … Till It’s Over by bestselling author Marlo Thomas).
I am deeply interested in humans living lives of meaning and purpose, and enjoy working with humans of all ages interested in finding their authentic self and honoring what they hear.
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband, our teenagers, and my mother.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.