Want a little secret on how to raise successful kids? Well I just read an amazing book on this topic and it was absolute gold.
Remember the acronym TRICK:
The book I just finished digesting is the bestseller: “How to Raise Successful People”.
It’s written by The Godmother of Silicon Valley Esther Wojcicki.
I first listened to the book on my favorite app Blinkist.
If you’re not in the know of what Blinkist is, consider this a bonus Mom and Dad.
Blinkist is a powerful app where an expert editorial team takes the key takeaways from the best nonfiction books for you to listen to in under 15 minutes.
This includes many of the Best Parenting Books also, thus perfect for us busy parents on the go.
If you want to learn more about Blinkist, simply click here.
I want to share with you some key takeaways from the book.
But first let’s share who Esther Wojcicki is and why you should consider hearing her thoughts.
Who is Esther Wojcicki
Esther Wojcicki is a teacher at Palo Alto High School, where she has taught journalism and English since 1984.
She has taught many of Silicon Valley’s greatest companies children, including Lisa Jobs, Steve Jobs daughter.
Have you heard of how Google was started out of a garage by Sergey Brin and Larry Page?
Well they rented that garage space for $1700 a month from Esther’s daughter Susan who joined Google the following year as the 16th employee and is now the CEO of the worlds second largest search engine (one your children love) YouTube.
Esther’s other two daughters have also done exceptionally well.
Her youngest daughter, Anne, is the cofounder of 23andMe (she also married and divorced Sergey Brin) and her middle daughter Janet, is a Fulbright-winning anthropologist, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and researcher.
Three incredibly talented children and her husband, Stanley, is a professor of physics at Stanford University.
Esther is a graduate of the University of California’s Berkeley, has won countless Teacher of the Year awards and she holds several board positions for different organizations.
What was fascinating when listening to her being interviewed on several podcasts this week, including Recode Decode with Kara Swisher, is her approach to parenting that we’re about to discuss from her book.
Having taught thousands of students, many who’ve gone on to become highly successful, and raising three successful daughters, Esther really dives deep into why we need to let children explore, be independent, be trusted and foster a relationship of love and collaboration.
Before jumping into her ‘TRICK’ acronym, there is something we need to do first.
The Childhood You Wish You Had
Ready for the first thing you need to do when considering how to raise a high achieving child?
It actually has nothing to do with how to parent but how you were parented.
It means both husband and wife looking back at your childhood.
What parenting traits do you feel your mom and dad rocked and what one’s were let’s say “not the best.”
Here’s the thing, we parent the way we were parented, unless otherwise making a conscious observation of this in the beginning.
I’m sure you’ve had those moments where you say to yourself “OMG…I sound like my Parents”.
We’ve spoken before about John Finch who wrote an entire book about this called, The Father Effect.
In fact, we even shared how writing a personal letter to your parent can help resolve any built up issues we may still be carrying with us today from our childhood.
By looking back at your childhood, you’ll be able to consciously decide what parenting strategies you’d like to model to help in your child’s success and leave behind the ones that still haunt you today.
Now let’s move on to the first habit we should pass on to our children (whether we had it from our parents or not).
The Ability To Trust Your Child
Esther points out that showing our children they can be trusted is crucial.
Trust has been on a major decline and is getting worse each and every generation.
According to Pew Research only 52% of Americans believe they can trust their neighbor, and it continues to decrease.
Another Pew study showed only 19% of today’s millennials believe they can trust adults, compared to over 40% in the Baby Boomer generation.
This reminded me of Lenore Skenazy, who wrote the amazing book “Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)”
Lenore wrote an article in 2008 that went viral and created a major debate among parents about different parenting styles. She wrote about allowing her 9-year-old to ride the subway alone in NYC. Esther let her teenage daughters fly alone to Europe.
When we give our children trust early on (gradually building upon it), research shows it gives them the message that they can be trusted. This then leads to more responsible children who have higher self-esteem.
Respect Your Child’s Choices
We need to respect our children’s choices even when they’re not what we would choose.
You see this all the time with parents guiding their children towards a particular career path or having them play a sport or instrument that we did when we were young.
This can hurt the parent child relationship and lead to a communication breakdown between child and parent.
She talks about a student who was an amazing graphic designer but his parents had their hopes set on him becoming a scientist because they were scientists. The student became depressed and suffered.
Studies show that the mental health of teens who lack choice, who don’t feel heard and have to deal with pressures of over-achieving in school, isn’t good. This was highlighted in an article: “Why are so many kids with bright prospects killing themselves in Palo Alto”
This isn’t easy for parents. The author shares how her own daughter who graduated college decided she wanted to babysit versus getting a job. She did all she could to respect her daughters choice and all ended up okay.
She ended up getting a prestigious job, but when she was ready.
Raise an Independent Child Fearless of Failing
No parent wants to see their child fail, but it’s important that we stay clear, even when we see it coming.
As we are well aware as parents, life can toss us a curve ball here and there. Our children need to be prepared for that and likewise, they can’t fear failing.
We grow through resistance, thus if your child is struggling, sometimes (even though it’s hard) let them.
This will help them build GRIT and give them the courage to face other obstacles in life today and, more importantly, when they’re our age.
Failure to do this as parents will give our children more of a fixed mindset (not good) versus a growth mindset, which is proven to lead to greater success in life.
Collaborative Parenting Benefits Children
Though structure is great for our children, too much isn’t either.
Collaborative parenting leads to a better creative thinking child verse authoritarian parenting where the parent makes all the decisions.
Studies have also shown that children parented this way have a greater sense of responsibility towards others and are less likely to experiment with drugs.
This doesn’t mean you don’t set boundaries, it simply means you show them how you can work together to make choices (even punishments can be decided together).
This can start at the young age of two and builds all the way through the teenage years.
Teach Kids Kindness Over Achievements
Some parents are only looking to put their child in situations that can maximize their opportunity for success.
Top grades are a must and winning is everything, meaning endless hours with either private tutors or coaches.
We need to have a balance and share with our children the importance of kindness and being grateful. We do this through modeling this behavior as parents.
When children continually see acts of kindness and practice gratitude, studies show they’ll have healthier mindsets, that they’ll be happier and have more hope for tomorrow and the future.
If you don’t have a gratitude practice in you house, I strongly suggest getting everyone in the home the 52 Week Guide called Good Days Start with Gratitude.
It’ll truly make a major difference.
Conclusion: How to Raise Successful Kids
Doesn’t Esther’s book “How to Raise Successful People” sound fascinating?
Let’s recap the key takeaways regarding her 5 Key Parenting tips and the TRICK acronym.
How to raise happy, healthy, successful children:
- Trust: By showing our children we trust them, they can in-turn trust themselves which leads to more responsible children who have higher self-esteem.
- Respect: We need to respect and support our children to pursue their own goals, even when they’re not what we may have hoped for them.
- Independent: Give your child the opportunity to be independent and work through challenges themselves. This leads to children who when they grow are able to cope with adversities, be more creative and handle life challenges.
- Collaboration: Encourage your children to be part of the family decisions (even punishments). Instead of telling our children what we expect done, let’s encourage them to foster their own ideas for the family as a whole.
- Kindness: Model kindness in and out of the home as parents. Teach your children to be grateful, to serve others and the power of forgiveness.
What are your thoughts of these 5? Easy or do you feel you’ll struggle with some of them?
I know as a father of 3 amazing teenagers, I’m constantly working towards being the best dad I can. I definitely need to try to work on the collaboration parenting tip more myself because I’m not sure I do that all the time.
Let us know your thoughts and jump in the conversation over in our parent Facebook Group.