Thursday, February 15, 2018

2/15/18 - Ned Johnson, co-author with William Stixrud, of the Self-Driven Child joined KUCI's Janeane

William Stixrud & Ned Johnson

Child experts share how to combat the chronic stress
plaguing kids today

LISTEN to Janeane's conversation
with author Ned Johnson!

American kids are grappling with an epidemic of anxiety and depression. Chronic stress is taking a toll during the formative years when children are “sculpting” their developing brains. What we are doing as parents and as a society isn’t working and something needs to change. THE SELF-DRIVEN CHILD offers a revolutionary new approach to parenting, based on decades of clinical experience and the latest developments in brain research. William Stixrud, a revered clinical neuropsychologist, and Ned Johnson, the founder of one of the most sought-after tutoring companies in the country, show how we are raising our kids in a brain-toxic environment. The result is a generation of highly scheduled, tightly wound teens who feel like imposters, lack direction, and often unravel in high school or their freshman year of college. American children are robbed of agency when countless studies reveal that a low sense of control is deeply damaging.

Johnson offers advice to parents, such as:

· When parents work harder than their kids to solve their problems, their kids get weaker, not stronger.

· Home should be a “safe base” where kids can recover from the stress of schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

· If you let your child make decisions for herself while she’s young, her brain will build the circuits that are necessary for resilience.

· Allow your child time to do things he enjoys. When you see your child focused on building a Lego castle, he is conditioning his brain to associate intense enjoyment with highly focused attention, practice, and hard work.

· Daydreaming, imagination, and fantasy are essential elements of a healthy mental life. Let your kids “do nothing” sometimes.

· If a teacher is assigning too much homework, speak with the teacher and tell them, “This isn’t working for my child.” You’d be surprised by how willing teachers can be to make adjustments if homework has become a real problem.

· College is a brain-toxic environment. Not all high school seniors are ready to go straight on to college. Talk to your child. If you both decide he needs to take a gap year, that’s in no way a sign of failure -- it’s a demonstration of maturity.

Stixrud and Johnson demonstrate that the best thing we can do for children is to help them develop the skills to make difficult choices, to own their mistakes, to learn ‘Plan-B thinking’ and make independent course corrections when things don’t go as planned. It’s not the kids who have never gone off track who run into trouble; it’s those who have never been allowed to take the wheel.


William Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist who teaches at Children's National and the George Washington University School of Medicine. An expert on learning and executive disorders and the effects of stress, sleep deprivation, and technology overload on the developing brain, he has been a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, has been widely cited in major media. A proponent of transcendental meditation, he is on the board of the David Lynch Foundation.

Ned Johnson is the founder of PrepMatters, a leading tutoring and test-prep service in Washington, D.C. He is the coauthor of Conquering the SAT: How Parents Can Help Students Overcome the Pressure and Succeedand is a sought-after speaker and a teen coach for study skills, parent-teen dynamics, and anxiety management. His work has been featured on NPR and NewsHour and in U.S. News & World Report, Time, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsweek.

National CPR and AED (Automated External Defribrillator) Awareness Week is June 1st through 7th. Janeane will be in conversation with a cardiac arrest survivor, Steven Munatones, and Dr. Shira Schlesinger.

According to, back in 2007, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross and the National Safety Council collaborate...