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About the Book

How to Raise an Adult is an invaluable resource for parents as well as anyone who works with children of any age.  Drawing on research, anecdotes, conversations with experts, and her own parenting experience, Lythcott-Haims invites her readers to think critically about the culture of "checklisted childhoods": childhoods in which the path to perceived success is laid out for children, complete with extensive checklists of everything children must do.  With empathy, humor, and practicality, Lythcott-Haims argues that this checklisted childhood undermines children's abilities to work through struggle, learn from failure, and discover who they are.  She shares ideas for how to instead cultivate resilience and self-efficacy in children.  How to Raise an Adult helps anyone working with youth to empower kids to grow independent and emotionally strong. 

For a taste of what How to Raise an Adult has to offer, here are some quotes from the book:

“But if we’ve taught our kids that there is one predetermined checklist for their lives, we may be constructing a path that is more about us than them.  And a path that isn’t about them may be a path to nowhere. We have dreams for them, but mustn't shape the way they dream.” 

"We need to redefine success as being a good and kind person, and as making a strong effort whether they ultimately win or lose.  We need to help our children gain resilience to cope when things don’t go their way. But how do we do this, since none of us can easily stomach seeing our kids suffer?”  

"Find your voice and honor what you hear...What you’re going to be and do in the world is up to you.  Look to yourself for clues about what really matters to you.  Give yourself permission to be and do those things.”

“Children who have figured out a problem, concept, or idea for themselves can talk about the why and how of the matter rather than the mere fact of its existence.”

Regarding the Stanford Resilience Project: “The aim of the project is to ‘normalize’ struggle - to give students a sense that struggle happens to everybody, and that they need not be ashamed when they experience it--and to demonstrate that struggle teaches us lessons and opens up new possibilities.”

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