We are supposed to raise our offspring to be able to fend without us. -Julie Lythcott-Haims

44: Raising Adult Humans Who Know How to be Successful (and Why we are Currently Failing at Raising Successful Adults!)

Does it sound great to have your grown-up child back in your house so that you can do their laundry, cook meals for them, and pay their bills…because they don’t know how to be an adult?

I didn’t think so.

We’re in this parenting game to do the best we can for our kids, and although we all want to raise healthy kids, sometimes the culture drags us into comparisonitis and we forget that part of “healthy” is “independent.” We think it means “successful.”

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Julie Lythcott-Haims, lawyer turned Stanford dean turned writer, to knock some sense into all of us for a spell. 😉 She’s the author of How to Raise an Adult, a must-read for anyone who has or ever plans to have a tiny human in their home.

Julie is going to teach us how to:

  • STOP being over-protective helicopter parents (sometimes I do these things w/o even realizing it, and I already know it’s not good for my kids!)
  • teach a child any skill appropriately
  • have kids who are ACTUALLY successful in life, and not just on paper (research backed!)
  • get our kids to school so they get ahead in life
  • be in community with other humans by making our own food

Julie ends with one PRACTICAL step to take immediately – a one-week cleanse. Guess what we parents need to cleanse from our interaction with our kids? See if you’re right by skipping to the end of the vid. 😉

But don’t miss the rest, especially the fascinating 5 reasons that helicopter parenting was born in the 80s and what it did to colleges and workplaces in the late 90s and beyond…



Can’t see the video? Click to watch “Raising Kids to Be Successful” on YouTube.

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Raising Successful Adults

  • 0:23: Julie has an acclaimed TED talk which you can find here.
  • 1:33: As a freshman dean at Stanford, Julie saw parents registering their kids for classes, calling about roommate disputes and contacting professors to contest grades. These were not sporadic occurrences; this was the norm. 😮

How does a student get more skilled at these life skills? They have to learn by doing. -Julie Lythcott-Haims

How Helicopter Parenting Works Against You 

  • 3:13: Julie’s bestselling book, How to Raise an Adult, has been called an “anti-helicopter parenting manifesto.” There are three hallmarks of a helicopter parent: being overprotective, fiercely directive, and holding their hands too long. Julie gives us the short version of why helicopter parenting is damaging to kids.

Kids need to learn: “I know that when I act, I can make things happen.” -Julie Lythcott-Haims

  • 7:07: Julie has four steps to teaching a child a skill: do it for them, do it with them, watch them do it, and then let them do it independently.

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These beef sticks and turkey sticks taste delicious! My favorite is the Jalapeño but my kids love Summer Sausage.

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The Rise of Over-Parenting

  • 9:11: These steps seem obvious. Why do we need to be taught this? There were five things that happened in the 80s which led to helicopter parenting. Can you guess what any of them are?
  • 11:33: It’s ironic because the baby boomers spent their teenage and young adult years protesting, questioning authority, demanding rights and insisting that they had a voice, yet this is the generation that has deprived their children of having their own voice.

We are supposed to raise our offspring to be able to fend without us. -Julie Lythcott-Haims

  • 12:16: Eighteen used to be the age when kids were expected to have the skills to live on their own. Now it’s creeping into the upper-20s. Young adults are lacking basic adult skills despite all the education we prize in our society.
  • 13:45: Julie shares how she had the realization that she was a helicopter parent and started making changes when her son was 10 years old.

The minute they learn to walk, they’re walking away from us. -Julie Lythcott-Haims

So How Do We Raise Responsible Adults?

  • 16:02: There are age-appropriate skills for kids to learn to do independently at any age. Julie gives us a visual picture of how we can embrace our kids learning new things.

We're supposed to prevent them from dying, but short of that we're supposed to allow them to live. -Julie Lythcott-Haims

  • 17:45: Our culture makes this difficult. Julie shares what she would change if she had a magic wand. We can start making shifts in this direction now!

Calling your parent for help is not a life skill. -Julie Lythcott-Haims

  • 20:28: Julie demonstrates a shocking skill she’s heard many teenagers have difficulty with. 😮
  • 21:02: We talk about the trend for families to have less children now compared to the 50s and 60s and whether that has impacted over-parenting. There are some fascinating aspects to how the tracking and surveillance begins in pregnancy and infancy!

Have more kids and you won’t be able to over-parent them! -Julie Lythcott-Haims

Wish you didn’t have to feel nervous when your kids ask to use knives?


Practical Parenting Advice

  • 23:54: We talk about chore charts and whether they have a place in raising successful adults. When teaching kids how to do chores, there is definitely an increased time investment upfront but the return is worth it!

We can't be so invested in the outcome being perfect today, that we fail to let them try it themselves. -Julie Lythcott-Haims

  • 26:37: Julie talks us through an example of helping a child learn an adult skill and how to give them constructive feedback.
  • 28:40: We get practical and talk about parents driving their kids to school when they could walk or take the bus. It’s actually statistically safer now to walk to school than it was when we were kids, but you can get arrested if a neighbor thinks your kid is too young to be walking alone and calls the police on you! This is a societal issue that needs to be addressed by schools, law enforcement, and parents discussing the options.
  • 31:43: We discuss the “stranger danger” concept and how to teach your kids to interact with people.  For today’s millennial parents it’s become come common to assume negative things about strangers before good, and that’s being passed on to our kids.

What are you so afraid of? Stop talking for your child! Let them hear their own voice! Them have their own thoughts! -Julie Lythcott-Haims

  • 35:02: We chat about the benefits of teaching kids to cook.
  • 37:23: Julie’s second book, Real American, is about her experience with racism. She shares a bit about the book and her experiences that led her to write it.
  • 41:02: Julie is currently writing How to Be an Adult for young adults. She hopes it will help them find joy in being an adult and being capable.
  • 43:36: We end with a practical step that you can take today. Julie has a one-week cleanse to help you start letting go of being a helicopter parent.

Resources We Mention About Raising Successful Adults

Julie lythcott-haims

Julie is an author, speaker, and activist focused on helping humans find their true north. At its core, her work is about the obstacles that prevent us from being our most authentic selves and how to overcome them. She offers us all an invitation to grow deeper—to continuously return to and strengthen our voice, values, meaning, and joy.

Raising Successful Adults

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector

Katie Kimball

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2. Try a Free Preview of my Cooking Class for Kids

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3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:

Enroll now in the Wall Street Journal’s #1 recommended online cooking class for kids (also rated 5 stars on Facebook). See what fits your family best HERE.

About Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.

Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.

A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.

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