Of Note: Steering Towards a Healthy Middle Ground


The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives by William Stixrud, PhD, and Ned Johnson
Viking, February 13, 2018

In their book The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives," William Stixrud and Ned Johnson argue that our society has taken agency away from children and adolescents. With the best of intentions, parents and educators have sought to protect children, but in the process we have reduced the ability of our youth to make their own decisions and make (and learn from) their own mistakes. As a result, we have been making it harder for students to become independent, flexible, and resilient adults. While we have wanted to assure that life for teens is easier and safer, we have instead increased stress levels by removing a sense of control. This increased stress interferes with sleep, learning, and happiness. Stixrud is a neuropsychologist and Johnson runs a tutoring service. In their book, they draw on their experiences, case studies, and research into neuroscience and developmental psychology. The authors argue that there is a healthy middle ground when it comes to stress. It can be age-appropriate and allow for and encourage growth. Each chapter contains practical advice on how to implement changes, making this an essential read for parents as well as educators.

Submitted By: Paula Cuello, The Dalton School, New York

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