- File Size: 2213 KB
- Print Length: 378 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (February 13, 2018)
- Publication Date: February 13, 2018
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B072KBWB6G
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,665 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$17.00|
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The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives Kindle Edition
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“William Stixrud and Ned Johnson focus on the ways that children today are being denied a sense of controlling their own lives—doing what they find meaningful, and succeeding, or failing, on their own. Screen time, the authors say, is part of the problem, but so are well-meaning parents and schools, who are unwittingly taking from children the opportunities they need to grow stronger, more confident, and more themselves.” – Scientific American
“If there’s one book I’d recommend to parents who are raising children of all ages—I’m talking preschool to 12th grade—this is the book.” –Atomic Moms
"In trying too hard to control their children, too often parents have unwittingly become part of the problem they're trying to solve. Combining deep insights from clinical practice and educational coaching, Stixrud and Johnson have written a penetrating account of the chronic problems that many families now face and an incisive, practical guide to what parents can do to relieve them. . . An essential book for parents and educators everywhere." —Sir Ken Robinson PhD, Educator and New York Times Best Selling Author, Creative Schools
"If you still have questions about whether or not excessive pressure and a narrow version of success are truly harming our children, The Self-Driven Child is an absolute must-read. While most books on the impact of stress on child development offer anecdotes and clinical examples, Stixrud and Johnson make it clear that it is now research that explains why kids don’t thrive under our current priorities. A healthy child needs a healthy brain. Not only do they produce the evidence that shows why unremitting achievement pressure is toxic to our children, they also show us what the alternative would look like. It is not an overstatement to say that this is one of the most radical and important books on raising healthy, resilient, purpose-driven kids." —Madeline Levine, PhD., author of The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well
"Compelling, revolutionary, and wise, The Self-Driven Child empowers parents with the courage, the tools, and the mindset to reduce toxic stress, and to foster our child’s capacity for resilience, success, and optimal development. Its message—that we should trust kids to have more control over their own lives—is one every parent needs to hear." —Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, co-author of The Whole Brain Child and The Yes Brain
“Sometimes the most helpful thing we can do as parents is to parent our children a little less. This humane, thoughtful book turns the latest brain science into valuable practical advice for parents on how to pull back, when to engage and when to let go. Read it. Your children will thank you.” —Paul Tough, New York Times bestselling author of How Children Succeed
“This serious and probing look at how to give our children the right kinds of independence shows us how much power we have to ensure they can function optimally. It is a book about how to make our children more meaningfully independent, and to set ourselves free in the process.” —Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree
"The Self-Driven Child will guide parents to the sweet spot between helicopter and hands-off parenting. Stixrud and Johnson ground their clear and practical advice in cutting-edge research and years of experience working with young kids and teens. An invaluable resource for the thinking parent." —Lisa Damour, PhD, author of Untangled
"A battleplan to attack the anxiety that's devouring kids and decimating their native potential, this extraordinary book shines a light into the darkness of test dread, chronic sleeplessness, 24/7 social-media 'beauty pageants' and the full array of stress-induced forces that undermine children. But Stixrud and Johnson do more than identify the demons -- they slay them. Read this incisive, witty, deeply-researched book and help your child bend toward the sunlight of learning and self-directed joy. A must read." —Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Life, Animated
“Stixrud and Johnson combine science and compassion to make the case that parental over-control is eroding our kids’ confidence, competence and mental health. Accessible, compelling and richly researched, The Self Driven Child reveals the clear links between the stresses of competitive schooling and the anxiety and depression that are so widespread in kids today. This urgently-needed book has the potential to revolutionize the way we parent.” —Judith Warner, author of A Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety
“Remember all the time you spent doing something just for fun and it wasn't a class or an organized sport? No grades? No trophies? That turns out to be what kids need to succeed. 'Self-driven' time.” – Lenore Skenazy, author of Free Range Kids
“As parents we wonder, 'How can I help my kids learn to make good decisions?' This lucidly written, deeply insightful, and highly engaging book—the best parenting book I’ve read in a long time—takes the mystery out of that process. All the chapters—on why a sense of control is so important for kids, how to help kids develop their inner drive, the need to tame technology, and how you can teach even young children to understand and influence the working of their brain—give you the science behind the authors’ recommendations and action steps you can immediately take in your family. We learn what good guidance looks like: how to help kids make thoughtful choices, handle stress, and grow in confidence that they can positively affect the course of their lives. As Stixrud and Johnson make crystal clear, raising a 'self-driven' child doesn’t mean doing less as a parent; it actually means doing more—but in a collaborative, mutually respectful relationship that’s more rewarding for both parent and child. You’ll still be a critically important authority figure, but also a consultant who asks questions like 'What’s your Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work out?' You’ll be a parent who helps your child develop what the Greeks considered the master virtue: good judgment. That’s a gift that will last a lifetime. “ —Thomas Lickona, Ph.D., author of Character Matters and How to Raise Kind Kids
“This is the book we’ve all been waiting for. As a psychologist specializing in anxiety and stress in children, I have witnessed first-hand the fundamental change that children experience once they learn to face their fears and find the inner drive to take charge of their lives. The resulting sense of agency is transformative, and stays with them. This book offers solid and clear advice on how to create opportunities for our children to discover their own drive and develop that internal locus of control that is necessary to thrive in adulthood. More than ever, parents need the clarity and guidance so effectively expressed in The Self-Driven Child. Each chapter ends with a summary called 'What To Do Tonight,’ which explains how to apply the information in a practical and relatable way. This book will give parents much-needed insights into the child’s experience and how to facilitate the very best conditions to set them up for a rewarding and successful future." --Bonnie Zucker, Psy.D., Author of Anxiety-Free Kids and Take Control of OCD
“A nuanced and enormously insightful look into the struggles facing so many children and teens… A wonderful resource for contemporary parenting, this title should knock less relevant child-raising guides right off the shelf.” —Booklist
"Stixrud and Johnson provide compassionate, well-supported suggestions and strategies for parents to help their kids deal with ever-more-competitive academics and extracurriculars. The authors make a highly persuasive case for how parents can help their children segue from feeling stressed and powerless to feeling loved, trusted, and supported." —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Ned Johnson is the founder of PrepMatters, a tutoring service in Washington, DC, and the coauthor of Conquering the SAT: How Parents Can Help Teens Overcome the Pressure and Succeed. A sought-after speaker and teen coach for study skills, parent-teen dynamics, and anxiety management, his work has been featured on NPR, NewsHour, U.S. News & World Report, Time, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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As a clinical neuropsychologist and a tutoring company founder, respectively, the authors work with both perfectionists and kids who “don’t seem to care about anything.” They’ve found that those at both ends of the motivation spectrum “suffer from a low sense of control” which is “enormously stressful.” The antidote? Giving your young child space to “practice managing and taking nonlethal risks.” Only by experiencing “the natural consequences of their choices, ranging from being uncomfortably cold when they decided not to wear a coat, to getting a bad grade on a test because they decided not to study,” will “her brain build the circuits that are necessary for resilience in the face of stress.” Going the other way, with sticker charts “and other forms of parental monitoring,” the authors say, creates “kids who must then constantly be pushed because their own internal motivation has either not developed or has been eroded by external pressure.”
Let kids be bored. “Ask your child if there are things he feels he’d like to be in charge of that he currently isn’t.” Explain the reasons behind a request “and then allow as much personal freedom as possible in carrying out the task.” Make sure your child knows “that he is responsible for his own education.” Try to say—and say and say and say—“It’s your call.” But don’t “let go of all restrictions and rules.” Join with your kids in setting parameters “and let them work within them,” knowing that you’re there to offer counsel.
It’s good stuff, the writing is tight enough, and the authors offer up a few stellar explanations (e.g., “Today, we think about the long-term consequences of concussions: ‘Yeah, he looks okay now, but too many more of those and he’s not going to remember his kids’ names.’ We think stress should be talked about in this way, too.”), but the text lacks the artistry or narrative element needed to shake that eating-of-the-vegetables vibe. A second flaw lies in statements such as “Girls are generally more interested by—and more consistently motivated to achieve in—school” and “Girls generally have more empathy.” Drawing distinctions without citing solid empirical evidence of their existence, analyzing just how significant any differences are, and nodding to socialization as a possible sole cause simply is not acceptable in light of modern neuroscience and social science research on pre-pubertal gender differences, and the inclusion of these statements makes me doubt the authors’ other assertions.
Putting those concerns to the side, Stixrud and Johnson truly offer a wealth of information, albeit with the specifics mostly angled toward older children. The key ingredients for motivation, they say, are (1) the right mindset; (2) a feeling of autonomy, competence, and relatedness; (3) the optimal level of dopamine; and (4) flow. Then they offer “empowering mental strategies” for getting the recipe right, “like planning ahead and visualizing goals … or thinking of what you will do if what you want doesn’t come through.” They suggest teaching kids that replacing “I have to” with “I want to” or “I’m choosing to” increases their odds of success. It also helps to “avoid catastrophizing” by thinking, “This is annoying but it’s not awful,” or “This is a setback but it’s not a disaster.” Tests too are about mindset: “Look to conquer, rather than survive,” they counsel. Focus on strengths.
Increasing downtime, meditation, sleep, and movement are all more standard suggestions than my favorite piece of advice, one I’ve already used with my nine-year-old who tends to engage in “negative self-talk.” When she called herself “stupid, stupid, stupid” for misplacing a folder, I used the authors’ words: “Imagine if we were on a softball team together. A routine ground ball is hit right at me, but goes between my legs. What would you say? Probably something like, ‘It’s all right. You’ll get the next one.’” Offer yourself the understanding you'd give your best friend, I told her, getting my money and time’s worth from The Self-Driven Child in that little gem alone.
I have witnessed first-hand the fundamental change that children experience once they learn to face their fears and find the internal drive to change their outcomes. The resulting sense of agency is transformative, and stays with them over time. This book is the underpinning of that work, offering solid and clear advice on how to create the opportunities for our children to discover their own drive and develop that internal locus of control that is necessary to thrive in adulthood. Each chapter ends with a summary called 'What To Do Tonight’ about how to apply the information in a practical and relatable way. This book will give parents much-needed insights into the child’s experience and how to facilitate the very best conditions to set them up for a rewarding and successful future. Parents will positively rethink the role they have in creating health and balance in their child’s lives, and in their own. The result will be that parents will have their own sense of agency when it comes to the often-complex and enormously influential role of parent.
Top international reviews
The book talked at length about kids who are depressed, anxious, stressed etc, or parents who are too controlling etc, but not much on how to help ORDINARY kids who don’t have big issues but just too plain lazy to work hard. It’s a bit like seeking advice because kids won’t eat their vegetables, but the advice given is based on kids who are bulimic or obese. But perhaps this is to be expected considering the authors’ professional background - they deal with troubled kids.
I think there are many ORDINARY parents out there who are not overly controlling or pushy, but are frustrated that their kids are not making the most of their potential. The book title is very enticing to these parents. But sadly if they have already done some research on the subject of motivation and parenting, they won’t gain much new insight from this book.