New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult and young adult expert Julie Lythcott-Haims made an impact when she visited Country Day on November 11, 2022.
In her four presentations (Upper School Student Assembly, DAF Executive Luncheon, Upper School Faculty Professional Development Meeting, Parent Speaker Series Keynote), she shared invaluable tips and insights for raising and becoming a happy, healthy, successful adult through storytelling and personal reflection. Thank you to Steve Wall for his leadership in leading this program, and the Parents’ Association for all of their support.
How to Be an Adult: Tips for Young Adults
First, Mrs. Lythcott-Haims spoke to Upper School students at a morning assembly on "How to be an independent, empathetic, compassionate, inclusive adult." Here are some tips she shared for young adults:
- Take stock of what you learned during the pandemic.
- Discard useless childhood norms, including "Just do your best." and "Don't talk to strangers."
- Learn to think and do for yourself.
- Stop Pleasing Others.
- Unleash Your Superpower.
How to Raise an Adult: Tips for Parents
The keynote event was held in the evening in Gorelick Theater for a full audience of parents and community members. Here’s her “Four… Three… Two… One… Go!” method for raising adults:
FOUR: The four steps for teaching your child any skill (which she learned from her friend Stacey Ashlund):
- You do it for them
- You do it with them
- You watch them do it
- They do it on their own
THREE: The three things you gotta stop doing ASAP:
- Stop saying “we” when you really mean your child (e.g. “We’re on the soccer team.” No, you’re not!)
- Stop arguing with teachers, coaches, etc. Teach your kid to respectfully advocate for themselves.
- Stop doing their homework.
TWO: The two things that really matter when it comes to parenting: Chores and love. She also covers chores and love in her TED Talk.
ONE: The one-week cleanse to get your relationship with your kid back on track:
- Put down your technology (and make them put down theirs), look them in the eye, and start by saying this:
- “Hey kid, I know I’m always asking you about how you did on tests, why you got the grade you got, whether you’ve done your homework, and whatnot, and I know that that can make you feel like I think you don’t care about these things. I’m sorry about that.” (i.e. define and own the problem)
- Then this: “I know you do care.” (i.e. reinforce their agency)
- Then this: “So, I’ve decided that for one week I’m not going to ask a single thing about your academics. Tests, homework, projects, whatever it may be, I’m not going to ask.” (i.e. make a commitment to do things differently)
- And finally: “I know you’ve got this.” (i.e. reinforce their agency again, and show you believe in them)
What is the Parent Speaker Series?
In our commitment to fostering a community of lifelong learners, the Parent Speaker Series was created to provide opportunities for parents and other members of the school community to learn from distinguished experts in a variety of fields to explore or discuss today’s important trends in education and relevant parenting issues. Through this JK-12 community experience, we are committed to supporting our parents in their parenting journey while seeking to create shared experiences, fellowship, and understanding.
This year, we opened the opportunity to the community with a measured approach. Being able to extend these resources beyond our community speaks to our mission of service and inclusivity.