How to Raise an Adult: An Evening with Author Julie Lythcott-Haims
Across a decade as Dean of Freshmen at Stanford, Lythcott-Haims noticed a deeply disturbing trend. Each year more and more parents brought their kids to college and then didn't leave, making themselves instantly available virtually if not in person. Each year also brought fewer and fewer students who seemed capable of making decisions and solving problems on their own. That so many seemingly accomplished students were so notably dependent on their parents left Lythcott-Haims concerned for the students, for their parents, and for the rest of us as well. Where will the next generation of leaders come from if everyone needs Mom and Dad to tell them what to do next?
HOW TO RAISE AN ADULT is full of cringe-worthy anecdotes of parental over-involvement gathered from Lythcott-Haims's observations and interviews with parents, teens, young adults, educators, school counselors, and employersfrom the mother who calls the college admissions office impersonating her daughter, to the father forcing his daughter to study economics, and the mother who accompanies her child on a job interview. Consequences for this type of behavior are as benign as young adults not knowing how to do laundry, and as severe as higher rates of study drug addictions and of anxiety and depression in young adults.
With the empathy of a mother but the expectations of a highly successful student adviser, Lythcott-Haims exposes the dangers of the "checklisted childhood," "redshirting kindergarteners," and the "concierge parent," and takes down the current college admissions process and college rankings systems. She then puts forth a practical alternate philosophy for raising self-sufficient young adults, underlining the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes in order to develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner-determination necessary for successful twenty-first-century lives.
(In partnership with Kepler's Books and Peninsula Arts & Letters)
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