Stretch, learn, and grow

Since becoming a parent myself, I bristle a little at didactic parents who dispense free advice about how people should raise their kids. Beyond the universal parenting principles just about everyone can agree on, every kid is different. What works for one may be a train wreck for another.

Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, recently gave a talk at Cannon School in Concord, North Carolina, on how parents can help kids ages 5-10 start learning skills that will later help them succeed independently from their parents. She also distilled that advice into Avoiding Helicopter Parenting: 8 Tips for Parents of Young Children, a piece published in the school newsletter and shared publicly here.

I mentioned the earlier caveat because while I agree with Lythcott-Haims’s suggestions, they may not be appropriate for every child within that age range (it took me several tries to figure out how to correctly do a load of laundry with our new washer—I can’t imagine trying to teach a five-year-old to take that chore on).

But if you have younger kids, give the piece a read and ask, “Which of these suggestions could my student do with just a little help getting started?” If you make a habit of helping your kids to take on just a little more responsibility for themselves, I think you’ll enjoy the feeling of watching them stretch, learn, and grow.