I raised 2 successful CEOs and a doctor – this is the parenting style I never used with my kids


Parenting is challenging, especially in today’s post-pandemic world. It certainly wasn’t easy raising my own three daughters.

I don’t take all the credit for their successes, but all three grew up to be very talented people. Susan is the CEO of YouTube, Janet is a doctor, and Anne is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. They reached the pinnacle of ultra-competitive male-dominated professions.

While writing my book, “How to Raise Successful People,” I got so many questions about different parenting approaches. But what everyone really wanted to know was: “What is the… worst way of upbringing?

Based on my experience and research, I believe that “helicopter parenting” is the most toxic.

What is helicopter parenting?

Parenting styles: it’s all about finding balance

On the other hand, parents should not go to the other extreme. You don’t just send kids out to go shopping when they’re five years old, or expect them to cook dinner when they’re 10. Give them age-appropriate challenges.

The goal is to make them feel proud of the work they do, a work that is theirs and theirs alone. They will develop skills towards independence and also learn to help around the house.

For example, it can be in the kitchen to cook. We all cook. Teach your child how to make his own breakfast. They can serve cereals and milk. Older kids can make scrambled eggs. Or they can all learn to make a salad. It’s that simple: wash the lettuce, cut a tomato or an avocado, add dressing … and voila!

If your child has never cooked before, they may not feel able to cook anything without someone watching over them. Most kids don’t know how to make something for themselves. I wish I was kidding, but I don’t.

The simple ‘trick’ for raising successful children

Both parents and teachers can empower children to be independent thinkers, collaborate with their peers, and build confidence.

I recommend to follow TRICK, an acronym for Trust, Respect, Independence, Cooperation and Kindness:

  • To trust: Trust must start with us, the parents. When we are confident in the choices we make, we can trust that our children are taking the necessary steps toward empowerment.
  • respect: Every child has a gift and it is our responsibility to nurture that gift. This is the opposite of telling them who they should be, what profession they should be in, and what their life should be like.
  • Independence: This is based on a strong foundation of trust and respect. Truly independent children are able to deal with setbacks, setbacks and boredom – all unavoidable aspects of life.
  • Collaboration: Working together means working together as a family, in a classroom or in a workplace. For parents, it means encouraging children to contribute to discussions, decisions, and even discipline.
  • Friendliness: True kindness includes gratitude and forgiveness, service to others, and an awareness of the world outside yourself.

Give yourself a break and stop over-monitoring your kids. Let them help and lead. They will appreciate it, grow up more independent and believe in themselves.

Start by letting your kids make decisions about what to do this weekend, maybe even plan something for the whole family. Imagine how strong they will feel.

Esther Wojcickic is an educator, journalist and bestselling author of “How to Raise Successful People.” She is also the co-founder of tract, where she brings her student-centered educational philosophy to classrooms around the world. Follow her on Twitter @EstherWojcicki.

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