My guest for this episode is the brilliant Julie Lythcott-Haims. Julie is one of those guests I’ve been wanting to bring onto the show since I first launched this podcast in 2016, so I’m thrilled to finally be sharing this interview with you. If Julie’s name is familiar, it may be because she is the author of the New York Times’ bestselling, and in my opinion, majorly game-changing-in-the-parenting-space book, How to Raise an Adult. She wrote it after noticing that prospective college students at Stanford University, where she was dean of admissions, were being over-parented and as a result, were lacking the resources to develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.

In this episode, Julie and I talk about about what it takes for a child to be successful—looking at how we define success along the way—and explore what we as parents can do to help our child develop the agency they need to become self-actualized adults. I loved having this conversation with Julie and am still noodling on the many takeaways and aha moments I experienced. I hope you get a lot out of it.


About Julie: Julie Lythcott-Haims first book, the 2015 New York Times bestseller How to Raise an Adult, details how a parent can rob a child from developing agency by over-parenting. It emerged from Julie’s decade as Stanford University’s Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising, where she was known for her fierce advocacy for young adults and fierce critique of the growing trend of parental involvement in the day-to-day lives of college students which was becoming a nationwide trend. How to Raise an Adult has been published in over two dozen countries and gave rise to a TED talk that became one of the top TED Talks of 2016 with over 3.5 million views and counting, as well as a forthcoming sequel on how to be an adult, for young adults. Two years later Julie published Real American: A Memoir, a critically-acclaimed and award-winning memoir which examines racism through her experience as a Black and biracial person.

Julie’s work has appeared throughout the media including in the New York Times, the Times Literary Supplement of London, the Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, Parents, AsUs, the PBS News Hour, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, The Today Show, National Public Radio and its affiliates, C-SPAN, the TD Jakes Show, and numerous podcasts and radio shows. She serves on the boards of Foundation for a College Education in East Palo Alto, CA, Global Citizen Year, in Oakland, CA, Common Sense Media, in San Francisco, and on the advisory board of Lean In in Palo Alto, CA. She is a member of the Peninsula chapter of Threshold Choir and volunteers with the hospital program No One Dies Alone. She is a former corporate lawyer and Stanford dean, and holds a BA from Stanford, a JD from Harvard, and an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner of over thirty years, her two teenagers, and her mother.



  • What is at the root of fear-based parenting
  • Why Julie says most parents are raising kids from a place of love, ego, and fear
  • Challenges and hardships every child should face in order to be ready to be an adult
  • How we do our children a disservice when we “become” their default executive functioning
  • How we can (and need to) redefine what success looks like
  • The connection between successful adults and a child doing chores (and how to get started if you’re not doing it now)
  • Why happiness in our kids stems from love
  • The benefits of hands-on work for kids developing a sense of agency
  • How to help our kids bolster their self-advocacy skills






Read through the whole episode!






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