The Self-Driven Child | Book Review

Sometime before we moved, a student’s father recommended this book. He and his wife are teachers, and both are of the opinion that all students are not alike, I really respected both of them. I miss that family! Now that we’re finally getting settled, and I have a little more time to read all those books I’ve been meaning to read, this one deserves a review here.

The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud, PdD, and Ned Johnson is a parenting book, that does more than tell you how to parent. The authors give you real tools to help you let go of the controls, to allow your kids to make their own mistakes…and grow.

They discuss the latest brain science, from how adolescent and child brains differ from ours, to why daydreaming isn’t a bad thing (indeed it’s very healthy). For example, I did not realize that, given the same information on a necessary decision (pros and cons, etc), most children would make decisions that are surprisingly mature. What most of them lack is our adult perspective and experience, hence they make decisions that we would find crazy, because we know how it is likely to play out.

Experience is typically a better teacher than words…Your kids need practice taking nonlethal risks.

The Self-Motivated Child, by W. Stixrud, PhD, and N. Johnson

While I read The Self-Driven Child, I had many moments where I stopped and said, “Ohhh, that’s why they do that! I can work with that…” At the end of each chapter, there is a list of things to do in order to help you better communicate with your kids, learn when to let go and when to step in, and most importantly – prepare them for life.

Bottom line? This book will give you the tools and confidence you need to start letting your kids make more of their own decisions, even when you think it’s a mistake. As I write this, the paperback is on sale for $11.59 Amazon, and I can’t recommend it strongly enough.

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