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

William Stixrud and Ned Johnson. Viking, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2251-9
Stixrud, a clinical neuropsychologist, and Johnson, coauthor of Conquering the SAT and founder of tutoring company PrepMatters, provide compassionate, well-supported suggestions and strategies for how parents can help their kids deal with ever-more-competitive academics and extracurriculars. By studying the levels of stress and motivation in children, the authors discovered that “a low sense of control is enormously stressful and that autonomy is the key to developing motivation.” Their book guides readers toward laying off the “helicopter” parenting so prevalent today and instead allowing their children the freedom to make their own decisions. Stixrud and Johnson theorize that a sense of control is the “antidote to stress,” touching on common stressors for American kids, such as social media, demanding homework, and lack of sleep. The real-life case studies peppered throughout give relevance to the authors’ viewpoint, and FAQs from parents (such as, in the sleep section, “How much sleep does my child need?”) add to the book’s usefulness. The authors make a highly persuasive case for how parents can help their children segue from feeling stressed and powerless to feeling loved, trusted, and supported. Agent: Howard Yoon, Gail Ross Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/20/2017
Release date: 02/13/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-7352-2252-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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