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

“It is not an overstatement to say that this is one of the most radical and important books on raising healthy, resilient, purpose-driven kids.” – Madeline Levine, author of The Price of Privilege

“An invaluable resource for the thinking parent.” – Lisa Damour, author of Untangled

“Compelling, revolutionary, and wise, The Self-Driven Child empowers parents with the courage, the tools, and the mindset to reduce toxic stress, and to foster our child’s capacity for resilience. Its message is one every parent needs to hear.” –Tina Payne Bryson, co-author of The Whole Brain Child

“Read it. Your children will thank you.” – Paul Tough, 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 any real motivation. Many complained that 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, stress-proof 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 find their passion and tackle the road ahead with courage and imagination.


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Dr. Bonnie Zucker on February 18, 2018 at 2:51 PM.

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…

Ryan on February 18, 2018 at 3:03 PM.

As a parent, I’m often advised to avoid extremes … As a parent, I’m often advised to avoid extremes: don’t be too severe and demanding, and don’t be too indulgent and permissive. While there is a helpful median somewhere, it can be distracting to focus on what to avoid. I’m grateful to have read an advanced copy of The Self-Driven Child, as it gives a positive vision of parenting’s goal: fostering increasing independence through non-anxious support. It doesn’t make parenting easier, but it gives me some sense of what the heck my goal is…