The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson

A few months ago, I raved in an Instagram story about how much I got out of reading The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson, and you all asked for a full review. So, here you go — my thoughts on The Self-Driven Child! Read them, and be sure to scroll down to see a few of my favorite quotes (though it was definitely hard to choose just a few!).

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Stixrud and Johnson open by noting:

“We really can’t control our kids — and doing so shouldn’t be our goal. Our role is to teach them to think and act independently, so that they will have the judgement to succeed in school and, most important, in life… our aim is to move away from a model that depends on parental pressure to one that nurtures a child’s own drive. That’s what we mean by the self-driven child.”

The Self-Driven Child, page 4

And for the next 317 pages, they walk parents through various things they can do to work towards raising this “self-driven child.” But, don’t be daunted by the 320+ page text, as they’ve approached the content in a very readable, accessible manner, making this a pretty quick read once you get going.

Chapter titles range from “‘It’s Your Call’: Kids as Decision Makers” and “Radical Downtime” to “Wired 24/7: Taming the Beast of Technology” and “Who’s Ready for College?” and everything in between. You learn about how to deal with homework, the most important aspect of your home environment, standardized tests, stress, play, and more. In addition, Stixrud and Johnson back every bit of this book up with neuroscience research and cite studies all along the way!

So it’s a quick, all-encompassing read, but the best part? Stixrud and Johnson close each chapter with a list of actionable items to think through with your family, making their ideas and research extremely easy to implement, too.

Have you read this one yet? What was your biggest take-away?

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