Would you drop off an 8-year old at Target and let them buy their own school supplies? All on their own? If the answer is No, you should definitely read Esther Wojcicki’s revolutionary book ‘How To Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results’.
Who is Esther Wojcicki and why should her parenting advice matter to you? Let’s just say she’s a legendary high-school teacher from Palo Alto, California, journalist and the mother of three more than accomplished daughters – one of them, Susan, is the YouTube CEO, Anne is founder and CEO at 23andMe, while Janet is a researcher and UCSF doctor. Impressive, don’t you think?
What is Esther Wojcicki’s trick to raising successful people? It’s a very simple TRICK – Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration and Kindness. These are the fundamental rules of her educational philosophy. Trusting your children and giving them enough independence from an early age is the key to raising well-rounded adults, equipped with mental and emotional stability who can brave any sort of difficulties life throws at them and still come out on top.
Her guide is full of inspirational personal stories, detailing her parenting method, which is the opposite of what you might have read in many other books. Esther Wojcicki doesn’t tell the parents reading her book what to do, there’s no step by step plan. Her message is Relax, step back and let your kids take control of their lives!
Esther Wojcicki’s parenting style is the opposite of the prevalent helicopter parenting method, where parents micromanage every aspect of their children’s lives.
Woc, as she is affectionately known, says in her book she treated her children as adults from day one. She never used baby talk, but spoke to her daughters as you talk to an adult, providing all the care an infant needs but respectful of their individuality. That’s fundamental in building Trust!
“I trusted them and they trusted me. I never put them in danger but I also never stood in the way of them experiencing life or taking calculated risks”, Esther Wojcicki says.
Allowing your children independence from an early age is about letting them take calculated risks which helps them become self-governing individuals, able to take care of themselves. Many parents out there wouldn’t dream of letting their kids unsupervised at home for five minutes, but Esther Wojcicki recalls in her book an episode when she sent her daughters, aged four and five, to a store next door to buy bread. She applies the same principles with her grandchildren – sending the eight-year old to buy school supplies and dropping a nine-year old at the barber’s to get a haircut on his own. These are all calculated risks, as there is no real danger in letting a child alone in a store. For the children this is not only an adventure, but a lesson in taking care of their own needs.
“They still talk about how important that was to them,” Wojcicki said. “They felt really trusted and capable … it made a big difference”, she says.
I really recommend this book, because it gives parents a new way or a bunch of techniques to improve their parenting style. Choice is always yours, if you want to read or not.