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The Thriving Child


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A hands-off parenting guide to nurture independent thinking and collaboration for happier, smarter and stress-free kids.

About the Author

Dr William Stixrud PhD is a clinical neuropsychologist with more than 30 years' experience of private practice. Ned Johnson is the founder and Director of an elite tutoring company in Washington, DC.


Sometimes the most helpful thing we can do as parents is to parent our children a little less. This humane, thoughtful book turns the latest brain science into valuable practical advice for parents on how to pull back, when to engage and when to let go. Read it. Your children will thank you. * Paul Tough, New York Times bestselling author of How Children Succeed *
This serious and probing look at how to give our children the right kinds of independence shows us how much power we have to ensure they can function optimally. It is a book about how to make our children more meaningfully independent, and to set ourselves free in the process. * Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree *
Compelling, revolutionary, and wise, The Thriving Child empowers parents with the courage, the tools, and the mindset to reduce toxic stress, and to foster our child's capacity for resilience, success, and optimal development. Its message-that we should trust kids to have more control over their own lives-is one every parent needs to hear. * Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, co-author of The Whole Brain Child and The Yes Brain *
The Thriving Child will guide parents to the sweet spot between helicopter and hands-off parenting. Stixrud and Johnson ground their clear and practical advice in cutting-edge research and years of experience working with young kids and teens. An invaluable resource for the thinking parent * Lisa Damour, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of Untangled *
Bill Stixrud, the pioneering neuropsychologist, and Ned Johnson, the test-prep guru, have written a battleplan to attack the anxiety that's devouring kids and decimating their native potential. This extraordinary book shines a light into the darkness of test dread, chronic sleeplessness, 24/7 social-media 'beauty pageants' and the full array of stress-induced forces that undermine children. But Stixrud and Johnson do more than identify the demons -- they slay them. Read this incisive, witty, deeply-researched book and help your child bend toward the sunlight of learning and self-directed joy. A must read. * Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Life, Animated *
Stixrud and Johnson combine science and compassion to make the case that parental over-control is eroding our kids' confidence, competence and mental health. Accessible, compelling and richly researched, The Thriving Child reveals the clear links between the stressses of competitive schooling and the anxiety and depression that are so widespread in kids today. This urgently-needed book has the potential to revolutionize the way we parent. * Judith Warner, author of A Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety *
If you still have questions about whether or not excessive pressure and a narrow version of success are truly harming our children, The Thriving Child is an absolute must-read. While most books on the impact of stress on child development offer anecdotes and clinical examples, Stixrud and Johnson make it clear that it is now research that explains why kids don't thrive under our current priorities. A healthy child needs a healthy brain. Not only do they produce the evidence that shows why unremitting achievement pressure is toxic to our children, they also show us what the alternative would look like. It is not an overstatement to say that this is one of the most radical and important books on raising healthy, resilient, purpose-driven kids. * Madeline Levine, PhD., author of The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well *
Stixrud and Johnson provide compassionate, well-supported suggestions and strategies for parents to help their kids deal with ever-more-competitive academics and extracurriculars By studying the levels of stress and motivation in children, the authors discovered that 'a low sense of control is enormously stressful and that autonomy is the key to developing motivation.' Stixrud and Johnson theorize that a sense of control is the 'antidote to stress,' touching on common stressors for American kids, such as social media, demanding homework, and lack of sleep . . . The authors make a highly persuasive case for how parents can help their children segue from feeling stressed and powerless to feeling loved, trusted, and supported. * Publisher's Weekly *
Stixrud and Johnson provide in-depth information on how to give your child more control without letting them run amok, discuss ways to reduce parents' stress levels, and emphasize the importance of physical exercise and sufficient sleep. . . . Timeless advice for parents. * Kirkus Reviews *
If there's one book I'd recommend to parents who are raising children of all ages - this is the book * Ellie Knaus, host of the Atomic Moms podcast *
Important and timely. . . An essential book for parents and educators everywhere. * Sir Ken Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of The Element *

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