How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims

img_2695Weekly Trip to the Library

If you already like parenting books like Free-Range Kids, Balanced and Barefoot, and the The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee you will undoubtedly love How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

While I definitely agree with the author when she says kids need to be raised to be independent without having to rely on their parents to always be there for them, I strongly disagree with one important topic in the book — safety.

The author blames the criminalizing of common conduct as part of the problem of over parenting kids. Although I understand her opinion, the safety precautions she lists must be followed by paid child care providers.

Working as au pairs, babysitters, or nannies we are held to a higher standard of safety than the parents are. As paid caregivers we must never leave a child alone in the car even just to run into the post office or allow them to play in the playground across the street from their house alone. The author believes children should be allowed to be free-range. But if nannies follow the author’s examples, paid caregivers will be seen as neglecting or endangering the children and will likely be fired.

She is correct when she writes that childhood is meant to be the training ground. Parents can assist — not by always being there to do it or to tell them how to do it via cell phone — but by getting out of the way and letting kids figure things out for themselves.

Ms. Lythcott-Haims accurately points out that in the past decades parenting has changed from preparing kids for life, to protecting them from life — which really means they’re not prepared to live life on their own.

The author says helicopter parenting comes from a place of love of wanting to protect children. But, when we’re tempted to let our presence be what protects children, we need to ask, “To what end? How do we prevent and protect while teaching kids the skills they need? How do we teach them to do it on their own?”

Other than her scoffing of modern day safety precautions, parents and nannies can gain a lot of valuable concepts from this book. I especially agree we need to provide unstructured play time, let go of perfection, have children do chores to be more independent, teach them to speak up for themselves, and let them chart their own path as described in this book.

You can purchase the book by clicking the links above or below:

HOW TO RAISE AN ADULT

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