Book Review Of Julie Lythcott-Haims "How to Raise an Adult"

For the whole of last week, I have been glued to this book - How To Raise An Adult . No, it's not a step-wise guidebook that will make t...

For the whole of last week, I have been glued to this book - How To Raise An Adult. No, it's not a step-wise guidebook that will make the complex process of parenting a cake walk at the swish of a wand. But this book will definitely make you think deep about the parent that you are, about the parent you want to be, and about the child you are raising. Based on the concepts explained in this book, I realized one thing – I need to stop overparenting. It is true that as parents we are extremely concerned about our child's well-being. But will being overprotective, over caring, and an overcautious parent help our kids in the real world? The book "How to Raise An Adult" answers this very question without being preachy or over-emotional about it. 

What Really Spoke To Me & My Parenting Experience

The very first chapter of the book got my devoted attention – 'Keeping them safe and sound'. As the mother of a two-year-old, this part of the book made a whole lot of sense to me. The author, Julie Lythcott-Haimes makes perfect analogy when she compares the cell phone to an extended umbilical cord. Yes, as part of the overparenting process, we tend to be connected to our children at all times. Right from this stage of infancy we begin to put our children in shackles of dependence that we do not understand. We find consolation in terming these shackles as love and care. Somewhere in the middle of the book, Julie beautifully makes her point when she says that children need to learn to thrive in this world, rather than be protected from it.

Favorite Parts Of The Book

The flow of the book is easy enough to grasp each concept that the author aims to explain. There are no chapters in the book that I could not relate to. But my favorite part of the book is the last section titled 'Daring to parent differently'. This part of the book touched upon a topic that is rarely discussed in parenting books. It shifts focus from the child we are parenting and looks at parents as normal human beings. Unless we are happy and satisfied on a human level, we cannot set good parenting examples. If we are not at ease with ourselves, if we do not pursue our dreams and passions, we will not be able to be a good parent to our children. Our desires will continue to overbear the wishes of our children. In our quest to become super moms and super dads, we will fail at being a human parent.
There is also a particular portion in the book called 'Another Way' that describes the different parenting styles based on socio-economic patterns. It is a graphical representation of four quadrants and parents are categorized as authoritarian, Permissive/indulgent, neglectful and authoritative based on their levels of response and demanding nature. It goes on to explain each parenting style and what is the best style to adopt.

Takeaways & Relevance To Parenting Styles Worldwide

Another part of the book discusses why children need to play instead of becoming trained to studies. It explains the impact of play in personality development. The book highlights the importance of learning life skills rather than just get into a good school or college because of its popularity or hype.
A book on raising a child to become a well-balanced adult could have been quite a lot to digest. But Julie has explained each point with amazing ease by stating examples and real case studies. Reading about the experience of real people made understanding much easier that just going through theories of parenting. This book is specifically aimed at the US reader base, but the concepts discussed transcends the boundaries of countries and continents and triggers questions that are relevant to cultures and parenting styles worldwide.

Personal Experience On Parenting

As a working mother, I often feel that my little one is not getting enough attention from me and I often end up over protecting her. I have noticed that she is quite a hassle-free child when left along with her peer group. But the moment I enter the picture, she gets clingy and wants me to do everything for her. I could totally relate to this while reading the section of 'Why we must stop overparenting'.

Impact Of "How To Raise An Adult" On My Parenting In The Future

I cannot say that the 389 pages of this very practical book will change my parenting style overnight, but now I will not do things for my daughter just because it has been the norm nor because others do it. I will think about the impact it will have on her; whether my worry and concern be impediments on her path to growing up; whether my constant strive for perfection hinders her individuality; whether my relentless efforts for her to score well cause her failure in the long run? This book will constantly be a guide to help me answer these questions. Now that I have read this book, I will be aware of the fact that as a parent I am going to raise a responsible well-adjusted adult who will be able to thrive in the real world; not a child who will need support all her life.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Contributed By: Kriti Mazumdar


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Post a Comment

  1. Wonderfully reviewed Kriti. This is surely a plus for all the parents out there!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Salomi...All of us, irrespective of whether we are parents or not, can benefit from this book.

  3. Replies
    1. Yes Supriya, it offers an unconventional yet practical approach to parenting.


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