The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives

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. —NPR

“This humane, thoughtful book turns the latest brain science into valuable practical advice for parents.” —Paul Tough, New York Times bestselling author of How Children Succeed

A few years ago, Bill Stixrud and Ned Johnson started noticing the same problem from different angles: Even high-performing kids were coming to them acutely stressed and lacking motivation. Many complained they had no control over their lives. Some stumbled in high school or hit college and unraveled. Bill is a clinical neuropsychologist who helps kids gripped by anxiety or struggling to learn. Ned is a motivational coach who runs an elite tutoring service. Together they discovered that the best antidote to stress is to give kids more of a sense of control over their lives. But this doesn’t mean giving up your authority as a parent. In this groundbreaking book they reveal how you can actively help your child to sculpt a brain that is resilient, and ready to take on new challenges.

The Self-Driven Child offers a combination of cutting-edge brain science, the latest discoveries in behavioral therapy, and case studies drawn from the thousands of kids and teens Bill and Ned have helped over the years to teach you how to set your child on the real road to success. As parents, we can only drive our kids so far. At some point, they will have to take the wheel and map out their own path. But there is a lot you can do before then to help them tackle the road ahead with resilience and imagination.


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Anonymous on July 11, 2019 at 6:28 AM.

A fantastic resource for raising happy and healthy children I am a teacher and administrator with more than thirty years working in independent schools, as well as a parent of an 18 year old son. I often read books like this one, but I rarely find any that are truly helpful. This book is the exception. The authors have very different perspectives, but they align beautifully on truths that I think are essential for parents. To name the most important controlling idea in the book: no parent can force a child to assume positive agency over his or her life…

Anonymous on July 11, 2019 at 6:53 AM.

OUTSTANDING! The book we’ve all been waiting for! This is the book we’ve all been waiting for. More than ever, parents need the clarity and guidance so effectively expressed in The Self-Driven Child. As a psychologist specializing in anxiety and stress in children,I have witnessed first-hand the fundamental change that children experience once they learn to face their fears and find the internal drive to change their outcomes. The resulting sense of agency is transformative, and stays with them over time. This book is the underpinning…

Anonymous on July 11, 2019 at 7:14 AM.

Great framework fleshed out with loads of tips for helping older children become self-sufficient Bill Stixrud and Ned Johnson picked the perfect subtitle for The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. The book presents data and theory from fields such as neuroscience and psychology in support of the proposition that “you should think of yourself as a consultant to your kids rather than their boss or manager,” and then follows through with loads of practical advice on what, exactly, a more hands-off approach looks like.As a…