A clinical neuropsychologist and test prep guru combine cutting-edge brain science with insights from their work with families to make a radical new case for giving kids more control if you want to unleash their full potential.
Many of us know we're putting too much pressure on our kids - and on ourselves - but how do we get off this crazy train? We want our children to succeed, to be their best, and to do their best, but what if they are not on board?
A few years ago, Ned Johnson and Bill Stixrud started noticing the same problem from different angles: even high-performing kids were coming to them acutely stressed and lacking any real motivation. Many complained that they had no real control over their lives. Johnson runs PrepMatters, an elite tutoring service that teaches teens how to perform better on standardized tests. Stixrud is a clinical neuropsychologist who helps patients suffering from ADHD, anxiety, eating disorders, and depression. Both have devoted their lives to coaching kids and they have hit on a counterintuitive solution to unlocking their full potential: even at a young age kids need to feel that their views matter. They need more agency. A healthy motivation hinges on having a strong sense of control. So how do you do that without giving up all authority as a parent?
The Self-Driven Child offers a combination of brain science, the latest discoveries in behavioral therapy, case studies drawn from the thousands of children and teens Stixrud and Johnson have helped over the years, and concrete advice that you can act on tonight to teach you how to unlock your children's potential and set them on the real road to success. We can only drive our children so far. At some point, they have to take the wheel themselves. Those who have never been allowed to make meaningful decisions until then are likely to flounder.
The Self-Driven Child will give you the tools to make sure your children navigate with confidence and determination and find their own path.
“Instead of trusting kids with choices. . . many parents insist on micromanaging everything from homework to friendships. For these parents, Stixrud and Johnson have a simple message: Stop. Instead of thinking of yourself as your child's boss or manager, try consultant.” (NPR)
“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)