Charlotte Parent
Kids Independence Confidence Anxiety Image Credit: Charlotte Parent
Kids Independence Confidence Anxiety Image Credit: Charlotte Parent

Secrets To Raising Self-Driven Kids

Guiding your child to the sweet spot of independence.

Caitlin Wheeler

The idea of an independent, confident teenager is quintessentially American. But somewhere between the self-esteem movement of the 1990s and society’s apparent obsession with perfection, there’s a school of thought that today’s kids have gotten off track. The pressure to be perfect is inescapable. Kids absorb it from well-meaning parents, peers at school and social media. As a result, rising numbers of young people suffer from self-doubt and anxiety. The antidote? According to neuropsychologist William Stixrud and self-proclaimed test-prep geek Ned Johnson, the key to overcoming anxiety and becoming a confident adult is control. Stixrud, who has spent 30 years helping teens with learning and anxiety disorders, teamed up with Johnson, who has spent 30 years calming overachieving teens, to write “Raising the Self Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives” (Penguin, 2018).

Whether you have a toddler or teenager, there are steps you can take to help your child take control of his or her life and move toward that confident, self-motivated American ideal.


What kind of parent are you? If you are a “Tiger Mom” who pushes your child to hit tennis balls six hours a day and practice piano for six hours a night, it’s unlikely your child has much opportunity to be in control of his or her life. On the other extreme, if you are a permissive paren

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