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

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

by William Stixrud PhD, Ned Johnson


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735222519
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

William Stixrud, Ph.D. is a clinical neuropsychologist and a faculty member at Children's National Medical Center and George Washington University Medical School. He lectures widely on the adolescent brain, meditation, and the effects of stress, sleep deprivation, and technology overload on the brain. He has published several influential scientific articles and is on the board of the David Lynch Foundation.
Ned Johnson is the founder of PrepMatters, a tutoring service in Washington, DC, and the coauthor of Conquering the SAT: How Parents Can Help Teens Overcome the Pressure and Succeed. A sought-after speaker and teen coach for study skills, parent-teen dynamics, and anxiety management, his work has been featured on NPR, NewsHour, U.S. News & World Report, Time, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

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Chapter One

Excerpted from "The Self-Driven Child"
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Copyright © 2018 William Stixrud.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents

Authors' Note ix

Introduction: Why a Sense of Control Is Such a Big Deal 1

Chapter 1 The Most Stressful Thing in the Universe 7

Chapter 2 "I Love You Too Much to Fight with You About Your Homework": The Parent as Consultant 28

Chapter 3 "It's Your Call": Kids as Decision Makers 53

Chapter 4 The Nonanxious Presence: How to Help Your Kids Find a Sense of Control by Finding Your Own 81

Chapter 5 Inner Drive: How to Help Your Kids Develop Motivation 106

Chapter 6 Radical Downtime 135

Chapter 7 Sleep: The Most Radical Downtime 152

Chapter 8 Taking a Sense of Control to School 172

Chapter 9 Wired 24/7: Taming the Beast of Technology 194

Chapter 10 Exercising the Brain and Body 222

Chapter 11 Navigating Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorders 241

Chapter 12 The SAT, ACT, and Other Four-Letter Words 265

Chapter 13 Who's Ready for College? 285

Chapter 14 Alternate Routes 303

Onward 321

Acknowledgments 323

Notes 327

Index 353

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