How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results by Esther Wojcicki

Summary

  1. Esther’s parenting style can be summed up with TRICK – trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. This is the style she used to raise her 3 very successful children 

Key Takeaways

  1. Trust
    1. Never dismiss kid’s thoughts or ideas just because they’re kids. Listen to them and respect them
    2. Trust yourself and trust your kids. Lack of trust in our society creates anxiety and stress and this is passed onto our kids
    3. The majority of people are trustworthy and you want to instill this into your kids
    4. You need to start instilling trust in your baby as soon as they’re born. Respond to them and give them what they need so that they learn to trust you and their environment. Trust that they can put themselves to sleep. Comfort them and be with them when they cry or whimper, but you don’t always need to pick them up – just pat them on their stomachs when they’re lying on their back’s and give them a chance to soothe themselves. Kids learn to self soothe if you give them a chance to learn how. You want them to want to be with you and not to need to be with you
    5. Always ask yourself if what you’re doing is building and establishing trust or breaking it down
    6. Children need to take risks in order to learn, grow, and find their boundaries. Don’t instill your fears and biases in them – let them learn for themselves
    7. Kids will break your trust at some point – it is just part of life and you must hold them accountable but you can do so in a good-humored way so as not to rupture the relationship
    8. You have to trust that you’ve taught your kids well and you can’t control them. Let them make their own decisions and become their own people
    9. Parents need to calm down! Kids have their own timeline and will do it (whatever “it” is) when they’re ready. Obsessing and worrying about it won’t help anyone
  2. Respect
    1. Respect means living it out. You have to model it every day and in every interaction
    2. Never force subjects or hobbies on your kids. Find a way to get them self-motivated or into something else. Respect what your children are drawn to and let them pursue those interests. Don’t push what you want for them but make sure they’re always doing something outside of school
    3. Avoid baby talk – treat kids like adults as soon as possible, trust and respect them.
    4. Ages 0-5 are the most important socially and developmentally. Use them to help them become independent kids and later independent and empowered adults
    5. You have to respect kid’s timelines but when they’re doing nothing, such as when they graduate from college, you have to get them moving. Six months free rent is fine but they can’t be doing nothing
    6. Feeling respected as a human being is an innate want and when you don’t get it, it leads to fear, isolation, and distance between parent and child
  3. Independence
    1. Financial independence is of utmost importance to instill. Teach compound interest and the power of paying off credit cards every month. Travel and education should get the highest priority and spend
    2. Don’t do anything for your children that they can do themselves
    3. Practice the “French Pause” when your child wakes up in the middle of the night. Before rushing out and soothing your child, give them a minute to see if they self soothe. If not, go in and comfort them but this helps them learn how to soothe themselves and sleep without needing you there
    4. Temper trap tantrums are about control and, depending on the context and what they want, sometimes you should give it to them. About 20% of the time let them dress themselves or put on their own shoes or do what they’re asking. This will help give them a sense of accomplishment and help them learn
    5. Your kid’s homework is their work. Give them advice if they ask for it but never do it for them 
    6. Always give children a job that this theirs and theirs alone 
    7. Give them certain freedoms like decorating their own rooms
    8. Shopping is a great way to teach. Help your kids understand what a budget it, how to select groceries, how to put back products if you’re over budget, etc 
    9. It is really important for kids to see you feel and know that you don’t know everything. Admit when you messed up. react to it, well and show that failing is a huge and important part of learning
  4. Collaboration
    1. Collaborate > Dictate
    2. Cooperating with adults helps empowers kids and shows them that they can problem solve on their, own giving them confidence and independence
    3. Build a mutually beneficial relationship which helps deepen the relationship and build agency 
    4. Give options rather than dictating. Red or blue sweater? Rather than do you want to wear a sweater
    5. Get kids involved in chores, budgets, questions, planning, and decision making. This makes them feel valued. For example, ask them how they would regulate phone usage and that what they determine should be implemented
    6. Having a big group of friends and playing sports greatly help children learn how to collaborate 
    7. Guide and support their decisions rather than telling them what to do
    8. Important to have kids reflect and express their feelings. Can sit alone and think, write, or draw
  5. Kindness
    1. Kindness and gratitude are often overlooked. A self-centered view of the world is harmful and also takes away some of the major joys in life – helping others 
  6. 10 Commandments for Techs
    1. Set up a plan with your kids, not for your kids
    2. No phones during meals – in your house or other’s
    3. No tech after bedtime
    4. Show kids younger than 5 the basics and how to use a phone in case of an emergency
    5. Children should come up with their own tech policies for weekends, vacation, or other social events. Must also choose a penalty for breaking own policy
    6. Parental controls can be important, but after 8 they need to develop their own self-restraint. If they break your trust, the parental control switches back on
    7. Parents should model how they expect their kids to behave around technology
    8. Discuss what pictures/audio/video are appropriate to take – sometimes kids lack common sense. Remind them of the digital footprint they’re leaving behind
    9. Explain cyber-bullying and its negative impact, on them and others. Laugh with your friends, not at them
    10. Teach kids not to give out personal identification information 
  7. Other
    1. Teach kids how not to procrastinate – be effective and learn to do things immediately 
    2. Must examine own biases and flaws so we don’t pass onto our kids  If we don’t like me to pass on errors in how our parents raised us
    3. Book provides a series of questions that help you when your partner determine how you were raised and what values you want to pass on at which you don’t. Being on the same page and understanding and accepting your partner and their parenting style 
    4. Your goal is not to create a stress free or hardship free childhood. Rather, you want to instill your kids with character, traits, and independence of mind – to be able to face problems head-on and make sound decisions. If you can teach them how to think and be self-aware, you have done your job as a parent
    5. Establishing good habits from the start is much easier than trying to break bad ones later
    6. Kids learn more from how you handle your own mistakes and how you react than everything you talk about
    7. Asking “why” is so important to kids – Encourage them to always ask “why” by answering them seriously and honestly. If you don’t know, tell them “let’s find out.” This fuels their creativity, innovative thinking, independence, and more. 98% of kids have “genius-level creativity” but it slowly is removed through our education system. Only 2% of adults hold onto it.
    8. Creativity flows from play. Let them be and they’ll create their own worlds and keep themselves happy and occupied. Play with them and get down on their level, enter their worlds. Play and imagination is extremely important as it gets them to be able to step into another person‘s shoes building their compassion and empathy for others
    9. The ultimate goal as a teacher, parent, leader, is to make yourself obsolete. Point them to ideas of their own, teach them to think for themselves. Help and facilitate but never take over. 
    10. Instill grit (passion, conscientiousness, gratitude, delayed gratification, perseverance) into your kids. You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose your reactions and work ethic
    11. Learning how to deal with boredom and embracing it is vital 
    12. Solve arguments and discussions in front of kids so they see that it is ok to disagree and also how to problem solve together 
    13. Show that punctuality is important, as is clothing and appearance, how you treat others, cleaning up after yourself, having a healthy relationship with tech, how you manage health, stress, and exercise, ability to listen and discuss controversial topics and ideas, avoiding cursing and yelling as you can teach them inadvertently that this is an OK way to communicate with others, how you handle adversity and failure, ability to admit you’re wrong and forgive
    14. The most important skill parents model are successful interpersonal relationships
    15. Personal space, privacy, and relationships outside the family are important to keep top of mind and consistent
    16. Encourage your kids to write thank you cards and to journal at the end of the day since this helps to reflect and express gratitude
    17. Instill a sense of service, connection and an others-focused mentality so that your kids learn how to give back see that not everything is about them, building deep, meaningful relationships

What I got out of it

  1. One of my favorite books so far on parenting. The TRICK mindset is an invariant strategy, useful not only for kids, but any relationship.