How To Raise An Adult Book Summary By Julie Lythcott-Haims

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"How to Raise an Adult" (2015) is a book written by best-selling author Julie Lythcott-Haims that explores the consequences of helicopter parenting and offers hints in how to raise children to become independent adults.

The book encourages thoughtful and mindful parenting that emphasizes growth, autonomy, and accountability.

By debunking the myth of “over-parenting”, parents can rest assured that their child will be able to grow into the type of adult they desire their child to be.

This book provides an essential resource for parents who are struggling with parenting their kids or for those just looking for helpful advice on raising their next generation.

How To Raise An Adult Book

Book Name: How to Raise an Adult (Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success)

Author(s): Julie Lythcott-Haims

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Parenting

Author Bio

Julie Lythcott-Haims is the author of How to Raise an Adult.

She has a wealth of experience in advising and guiding students, having worked as a Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising at Stanford University.

This career path has even further equipped her to speak and write extensively on helicopter parenting – a topic she knows all too well.

Aside from being an expert in this field, Julie is also a poet and a playwright.

Combing her years of expertise with her creative side, Julie takes readers through the ups and downs of parenting with unique insight!

It’S Time To Stop Overparenting And Start Raising Adults


Raising children is a huge responsibility, and it can be tempting to try to do everything you can for your kids – but that’s not always the best approach.

In “How to Raise an Adult,” author Julie Lythcott-Haims explains why it’s important to make sure your children lead independent and happy lives, even in childhood.

One of the key points that Lythcott-Haims makes is that helicopter parenting and overprotecting your children can lead to a dependence on drugs as they get older.

Instead, parents should strive to create a stable environment while allowing their children the independence and freedom they need, within reason of course.

This will help them become more independent adults and enable them to handle more difficult tasks with more ease.

At the same time, she stresses the importance of teaching young ones life skills like cooking, laundry, customer service and budgeting in order to ensure they know how to properly manage their own lives as adults.

By raising kids in an environment where they can explore safely within reason, you are setting up both yourself and your child for success in adulthood.

Helicopter Parenting: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

When it comes to parenting, there can be too much of a good thing.

Helicopter parents – those who are constantly hovering over their children – are becoming increasingly common, but this is not really a good thing when it comes to raising independent and self-sufficient kids.

The fear of something potentially disastrous happening to a child, like an accident or illness, often motivates these helicopter parents.

However, these fears are oftentimes completely irrational as some dangers are much more unlikely than one might think.

And this type of parenting isn’t just about avoiding harm; it’s also about giving kids the best opportunities later in life by rigidly managing their extracurricular activities and competitions.

But here’s the problem: at the end of the day, such measures may get your kid into the “right school” or business, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily ready for all aspects of life.

In fact, helicopter parenting can lead to some extreme behavior from parents that does not actually further their kids’ goals in life, such as hiring a lawyer if they believe their child received an undeserved grade in school.

In conclusion: too much parenting isn’t necessarily beneficial for your children – even if you have the best intentions – and can even have detrimental effects on them throughout their lives.

The Perils Of Helicopter Parenting: Struggles Beyond Basic Life Skills

Overparenting has become a real epidemic in today’s world and its effects can be seen in the psychological problems that kids are suffering from.

According to a 2013 American College Health Association study, 83.4 percent of all college freshmen felt overwhelmed by college obligations and 8 percent even considered suicide; these mental health issues are sadly often linked back to helicopter parenting.

Because their parents didn’t share stories about their own struggles with them, many kids believe they must meet unrealistic expectations set by their parents and succumb to feelings of stress when they can’t live up to them – causing low self-confidence and a lack of resilience.

This in turn leads to an overdiagnosis of ADHD among eleven percent of American children and six percent being prescribed medication for it, oftentimes as a result of wanting their children to perform better academically.

Sadly, drugs are also used illicitly by many college students to gain an edge or cope with unreasonable expectations.

The Dangers Of Overparenting And The Search For Positive Parenting Strategies

Positive Parenting Strategies

Overparenting can have a detrimental effect on a child’s transition into adulthood, and this is particularly true when it comes to getting a job.

When employers are looking for candidates, they want someone who can demonstrate independence and maturity; qualities which are eroded in kids subjected to overparenting.

Furthermore, if parents get too involved in their children’s jobs, such as micromanaging or calling their bosses to solve problems, then this can actually prevent them from finding successful employment later on in life.

It’s important for parents to be supportive, but not intrusive; this way the child develops their own skills and resources prompting better employment prospects in the long run.

Although some overeager parents think that hovering over their kids is helping them succeed, it ultimately has an adverse effect.

Ultimately, helicopter parenting takes away from the real reason of striving for success: self-confidence and independence.

The higher education system is flawed in that everyone wants to get into the same colleges so grades are paramount no matter the actual intelligence level of each student; this creates an environment where parents feel compelled to hover if they don’t want their child to miss out on universities they want them attend.

This has created an unhealthy cycle of parental pressure with only minimal returns moving forward.

To summarise then, overparenting makes it harder for your kids to find gainful employment later in life due to the fact employers look more favourably upon independent individuals who show clear signs of maturity while without creating an atmosphere of overbearing parental invasion that stifles self-confidence and growth as autonomous individuals .

The Best Parenting Style Is Authoritative: Combining Demanding And Responsive Methods

To raise a confident, independent young adult, parents should strive to be authoritative.

This style of parenting is the perfect balance between strict authority and permissive indulgence.

It is demanding and responsive at the same time; setting high standards and expectations for the child, whilst accompanying these with limits and consequences.

Additionally, authoritative parents create an environment where children are open to discuss any issue, explore within set parameters and make their own informed choices.

In comparison, authoritarian parenting is overly restrictive, rarely providing explanations for its rules or demands which results in little to no room for discussion or compromise from the child.

On the other hand, neglectful parenting does not demand anything but also rarely responds to children’s needs or builds relationships of trust.

Therefore, you should strive to be an authoritative parent – but not an authoritarian – as this allows liberty while teaching responsibility at the same time.

Parents Should Allow Their Children To Play, Think Critically And Develop A Sense Of Responsibility

It’s a tricky balancing act many parents face while raising their children – that is, teaching them life skills and values without neglecting the importance of playtime.

But it’s possible!

Great parents do this every day.

For starters, they understand that kids need unstructured, spontaneous play in order to develop properly.

This type of play allows them to explore, test hypotheses and observe different elements in the world around them; it requires a degree of freedom for kids to take such leaps of faith constructively.

Just as important is showing your kids by example what hard work looks like.

They should see that you too value relaxation and friendships built through leisure time.

At school, this could be demonstrated by incorporating play into the classroom (such as Montessori) or otherwise encouraging students to be inquisitive and think critically about the topics at hand.

On top of this, children also need to learn practical skills if they are going to succeed later in life.

Kids must learn how to take disparate elements and put in the necessary effort if they want those pieces to add up; an example would be taking on simple tasks around the house on a consistent basis so they understand how responsibility plays a role in achieving goals.

Ultimately, great parents can find a happy medium between teaching lifeskills and emphasizing the importance of having fun – both tasks which truly don’t have to be exclusive from one another!

Encouraging Children To Find Their Own Path And Pursue Their Passions

Encouraging Children

When it comes to helping our children follow their passion and find their purpose in life, it’s important that we do more than just encourage them to work hard and do what they’re told.

We must be willing to truly listen to our kids and help them find their own paths.

Too often, parents are so focused on pushing their kids along a predetermined path that they don’t take the time to understand who theirchild is as an individual and what interests them the most.

It is essential for parents to recognize that each child is unique and possesses different skills, abilities, and interests from one another.

The key is helping them identify those passions and truly embrace who they are meant to be.

It’s also essential to apply this same concept when guiding your child’s choice of college.

While gaining admission into prestigious schools such as Yale may sound great, these schools may not necessarily fit with what your child’s needs or interests are.

Taking the time to explore various colleges around the country can benefit your child in finding an educational environment where they can be successful in what matters to them most – no matter the school’s ranking or reputation.

At the end of the day, our job as parents is much more than making sure our children have something written on their diploma; we have a duty to provide them with support while they discover themselves and uncover their passions in life as well as within future college studies.

In order for that discovery process to happen smoothly, it’s vital for us – parents – to lend a listening ear and give our children the freedom needed for exploring possibilities — ultimately leading them down paths of discovery of which only they can determine if it’s right for them or not.

Be An Authority In Parenting: Prioritize Yourself And Model A Healthy Attitude Towards Life For Your Child

Raising an adult isn’t easy, but it starts with reclaiming some personal time for yourself and your own well-being.

Authoritative parenting gives parents the chance to become adults themselves – to reconnect with their passions and identify their life purpose, learn to set boundaries, and prioritize their own health and happiness.

It is challenging for parents to be different in this regard; often they are the only one who is not attending every single sporting event their child participates in.

When people challenge your reasoning behind such decisions, stand up for your new way of parenting and communicate why authoritative parenting is so important.

Also find a like-minded community that encourages independence while supporting each other; they can provide much needed moral support as you work on raising your children into self-sufficient adults.

Ultimately, when you look after yourself first, you can be a better parent for your child and help them understand how to carve out their own paths in life.

Wrap Up

The How to Raise an Adult book provides a valuable summary of how to help your children become successful and responsible adults.

The main idea is that overparenting only serves as a barrier to success: it creates anxiety, robs kids of opportunities to practice essential life skills, and stunts growth in key developmental areas.

The key advice offered by the book is that parents need to be there for their kids but also give them space so they can make decisions for themselves, take risks, and experiment with life.

That’s the only way they will figure out what interests them, learn resilience from challenges and failures, and develop an appreciation for hard work.

In addition, you should internalize the truth that the world is generally safer than most people think and don’t let fear keep you or your kids away from real-world experiences.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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