Podcast Episodes

Episode 182: Julie Lythcott-Haims tells us how to raise an adult

Wondering how to get your child ready for college, and life? This week's Parenting Bytes podcast guest, Julie Lythcott-Haims, is an author who wrote a best-selling book on this very topic, called How to Raise an Adult. So whether you're worried about college admissions and essays, helping to find the right college for your child, or how to instill a sense of responsibility before it's too late, you have to listen to this interview!! #collegeadmissions #podcasts

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Wondering how to get your child ready for college, and life? Getting into college is only the first step! Is your child prepared for life as an adult, and are you? Our special guest, Julie Lythcott Haims, wrote an entire best-selling book about preparing children (and parents) for independence.


Julie Lythcott-Haims sitting in a backyard

We’re so excited to have best-selling author Julie Lythcott-Haims on the podcast this week! We’ve talked about her before, both about her book How to Raise an Adult and her excellent Slate podcast, Getting InBut now we get to talk to her, about preparing our children for college and life beyond.

From Julie’s bio on her website:

Julie Lythcott-Haims roots for humans. Humans need agency in order to make their way forward; Julie is deeply interested in what impedes us. She is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult, an anti-helicopter parenting manifesto which gave rise to one of the top TED Talks of 2016, and now has over 4 million views. Her second book is the critically-acclaimed and award-winning prose poetry memoir Real American, which illustrates her experience with racism and her journey toward self-acceptance. A third book on how to be an adult, for young adults, is forthcoming. She is a former corporate lawyer and Stanford dean, and she 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, their two teenagers, and her mother.

Julie has agreed to come back on the podcast to answer any questions you might have about college admissions, raising responsible, independent children, and how to find the line between being a loving parent, and overparenting. You can leave your questions in the comments section at the bottom of this post!

This Week’s Links

Intro (0:00:11)

Rebecca Levey, KidzVuz

Amy Oztan, Amy Ever After

Andrea Smith, technology guru extraordinaire

Julie Lythcott-Haims

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, by Julie Lythcott-Haims

Real American: A Memoir, by Julie Lythcott-Haims

Interview with Julie Lythcott Haims (00:02:08)

Bytes of the Week (00:23:33)

Chasten Buttigieg’s Relentlessly Cheery Twitter Is the Best Thing to Come Out of the 2020 Election, by R. Eric Thomas

Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations

Ain’t Too Proud, Original Broadway Cast Recording

Temptations, by Otis Williams

Outsourcing Adulthood: Can you ever really grow up if you don’t do anything for yourself? by Maureen O’Connor – The Cut

Takl App

Do you have questions for Julie Lythcott-Haims? She’ll be back on a future episode to answer them! You can leave your questions in the comments section at the bottom of this post.


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Wondering how to get your child ready for college, and life? This week's Parenting Bytes podcast guest, Julie Lythcott-Haims, is an author who wrote a best-selling book on this very topic, called How to Raise an Adult. So whether you're worried about college admissions and essays, helping to find the right college for your child, or how to instill a sense of responsibility before it's too late, you have to listen to this interview!! #collegeadmissions #podcasts

Episode 182 (transcribed by Sonix)

Download the “Episode 182” audio file directly from here. It was automatically transcribed by Sonix.ai below:

Rebecca: Welcome to parenting bites this is Rebecca Leavy of Kids Vuz. I’m here today with Amy Oztan of Amy Ever After.

Amy: Hi!

Rebecca: Hello! And Andrea Smith, technology guru extraordinaire…

Andrea: Hello!

Rebecca: Hello. I’m so excited for today’s show. I know every time I turn on the TV right now it’s like all the guilty pleas are coming down from all those college admissions parents but so I’m really excited for today because today on the show we are going to have Julie Lythcott-Haims who is a former dean at Stanford. She was the freshman dean, so she dealt with nothing but freshman students and she is the author of two fabulous books. One is “How to Raise an Adult,” and the other one is “Real American.” And we are going to really focus on “How to Raise an Adult” for this conversation because part of this whole college admissions things right is that parents are just way over involved in everything having to do with their kids. Kids are way too dependent on their parents to take care of everything and the status of college is out of control for a certain section of society, of this, you know, I would say middle, upper-middle, and certainly wealthy group of parents and families who are so focused on name brand quote-unquote colleges that it’s it’s just skewed everything. So she’s going to be on we’re going to a great conversation about how to not be that parent, [laughter] right? Even if- it’s not too late. No matter what age your kid is but if your kid’s younger, fabulous, you can start earlier not being the crazy parent, but even if you’re far along like I am and Amy is and and Andrea even, because Andrea wants to go backwards now I think, and redo-

Andrea: Redo! Redo! Mulligan!

Rebecca: We’re gonna have that conversation with Julie. So stay tuned we’ll be right back…We are here with Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Stanford Dean and author of “How to Raise an Adult” and “Real American.” Hi Julie!

Julie: Hi. Thanks so much for having me y’all!

Rebecca: Thanks for coming on. We were so excited to have you on. We’d actually had- We’d talked about “How to Raise an Adult” amongst ourselves when it came out a couple of years ago because it spurred that conversation and we started thinking about everything we were doing wrong as parents of course. It’s the first thing you do. But we’re so excited to have you on because I know there’s all this talk swirling around about the admissions scandal and you know now they’re pleading guilty this week and everything going on. But I think you know for myself with two juniors so I’m in the thick of it, Amy who is a senior, we’ve seen and probably been a little bit ourselves, those parents who are not obviously buying our children’s way into test scores and schools but really anxious, really worried and watching our kids be really anxious and worried and trying to figure out how to be the best parent through this process and how to really help your kid in a way that’s productive and not maybe your instinct. So I really am glad you’re here.

Julie: Absolutely. Yeah.

Rebecca: Yeah. So I just want to jump in because I think you have such great advice and I want to back up a little and talk about how you came to write “How to Raise an Adult.”

Julie: Yeah absolutely. So I was the dean of freshmen at Stanford from 2002 to 2012. And over the course of those 10 years I noticed the trend in parenting that we- we call “helicopter parenting.” I noticed it manifesting itself on our campus in the form of parents who would want to register their student for class instead of letting the student do it. Parents who’d want to argue with a teacher or a professor about a grade instead of expecting a student to advocate for themselves. Parents who wanted to intervene in roommate disputes instead of having confidence that these two young adults could work it out. Those kinds of relatively mundane examples, which may not sound like big deals, were actually quite a shift from prior times when one could reasonably expect a college student to do all of those things or try to for themselves, and when I say try to implicit in this is these are all about building skills and gaining more confidence and interacting with other humans and bureaucracy, right? So you kind of expect an 18 year old to be able to handle those things in the past. So I was concerned about what was happening to young people and I would, I would rail against it when I got a chance to speak to Stanford parents I would lovingly but bluntly say, you know, “Hey, your student has what it takes to do what we expect and we’re gonna be really good at what we do here, and please leave.” [laughter] You know? Like, please go home. And then, so I was, you know, I was kind of that person, really clear that there was a problem for seven years and then after giving that talk for the seventh year in a row I came home for dinner, sat down with my own family, my son was 8 when- my son was 10, my daughter was 8, and we were having chicken and I leaned over my son’s plate and I began cutting his meat. [laughter] And that’s when I got the connection between what I was doing, this sort of innocent loving act of cutting up my 10 year old’s food with what I was seeing on my campus which sort of alarmed me, 18 year olds who effectively still needed their food cut. Not literally but you know what I’m saying. So I realized, oh my gosh I am going to be that parent who cannot let go of an 18 year old because I’m holding way too tightly to my 10 year old and there are a whole lot of skills a human must learn between cut your own food and be able to be independent at college or the workplace or the military. And so that’s what made me write “How to Raise an Adult” Two vantage points. The dean concerned about other people’s kids, and the mom realizing, oh no, I am harming my own kids.

Rebecca: So let’s talk about you harming your own kids. [laughter]

Andrea: Which we all do.

Julie: Yes, let’s!

Rebecca: Because I do. I think one of the things you touched on is that it’s all well-intentioned, right. We’re not talking about, you know, Andre Agassi’s father you know drilling him with the tennis balls, like we’re talking about like cutting your kid’s meat because somehow that just seemed easier and became habit, or doing your kid’s laundry every week or you know whatever it is. You know one of the things you touch on that I thought was really interesting, and we’ve we’ve discussed a little bit but you talk about the importance of chores and how this is sort of the backbone of kids learning real skills. And it is something-

Julie: Yeah-

Rebecca: That has dropped out considerably from households.

Julie: Let’s be clear: from households with money, right? Yes. So this is a problem among middle class, upper middle class, and truly wealthy people. People who have time and money on their hands to invest in perfecting their kids’ every moment, reminding them of everything, handling everything for them, hiring somebody to handle it for them. That sort of thing. So you know Andre Agassi’s father is an example of over parenting. He’s the tiger type. And you know I happen to believe pretty strongly that that tiger approach to parenting is child abuse, taken to its extreme, and it’s- it’s one aspect of the over parenting. “I will get you to the future I want you to have, and my love for you is conditioned upon how well you execute my plans for your life.” You know the other two types are the concierge parent who wants to you know make everything smooth and kind of fix everything, handle everything, kind of be your best friend and take care of it for you. And the third type is the overprotective parent who’s just so afraid of everything that might happen that they have to kind of watch their children at all times in the sort of creepy hovering way. But yeah it turns out that- so let let me back up. Like our purpose as parents is to raise our offspring to be able to fend for themselves. That is our biological imperative. Like a dog or like an elephant or like, you know a bird. We’re supposed to raise these offspring to this place where they can then raise their own. OK? And so that means we’re supposed to help them develop the myriad skills and capabilities that they’re going to need to have in order to be OK out there without us. And we get a nice long time to do it. We get 18 years or 20 years or twenty-five or thirty-two, whenever you think adulthood begins these days, like we get many years to do this. But the point is from the beginning from- when they’re learning to walk they’re walking away from us and we’re supposed to delight in that and we’re not supposed to let them walk into traffic or walk off a cliff or walk into the ocean when they can’t swim. Right? But we are, short of those life or death circumstances, we’re actually supposed to be excited that our kid is exploring and developing new skills and getting stronger and falling and getting back up. You know, we’re supposed to realize that that’s how they get stronger. So it turns out chores are a really beautiful way to begin to inculcate a work ethic in the child, the sense that there are unpleasant tasks that have to be done: the garbage, the recycling, the dishes, the laundry, you know cleaning up around the house, the yard, whatever, there are tasks that must be done to keep this environment running. And it’s on you to help contribute. And that kind of mindset that a child learns by being expected to do chores contributes to the development of a work ethic that will help that child function, that young adult function, in the workplace really beautifully. And there’s actually a long- a longitudinal study that bears this out. It shows that people who were professionally successful in life turned out to have done chores as a child or had a part time job in high school. And it’s all about developing that work ethic young, as opposed to over-managed overly-parented kids who haven’t been raised with many expectations about helping out or pitching in. They get to the workplace and they’re sort of bewildered. How do- you know what do, I’m just going to sit around a wait maybe someone’ll handle this for me. It’s really that they- they don’t have the hunger to participate and contribute the way that young people who’ve done chores or or help part time work in high school do.

Rebecca: It’s such an interesting point because I think there are a lot of well-off parents who then what they do is they seek these outside service projects or trips where they think that’s how their kid then is going to learn how to sort of pitch in or be part of something rather than it’s just what’s expected of you and it’s life. And it’s, it’s an interesting thing to see. I think this point with my daughters in high school, seeing the choices that people make when they’re able to make those choices of how to decide where their child is going to spend their free time. And I think this feeds into the college thing and I’m wondering if you can talk about that a little bit about this idea of sort of padding a kid’s resumé so that it looks right for colleges.

Julie: Yeah so I- I was chuckling when you said something like, “parents wondering how their kid is going to spend their free time.”

Rebecca: Yes.[laughing]

Julie: Right. Because by definition that ain’t free time. It’s not gonna be if a parent plans how to fill it. We should be making sure there is free time in our kids lives. They need a little bit of free time every day. They need a lot of free time over the course of a week in order to develop into a whole healthy humans. But we’ve totally lost sight of that and we pack their lives with all of this enrichment. They call it cage- the cages of enrichment that we put them in instead of letting them play freely. So yeah, it’s- it’s high time we stop raising our children to be what colleges want.

Rebecca: Mmm-hmm.

Julie: The college admission arms race in terms of highly selective schools is out of control. They seem to demand more and more achievement, more and more activities, more and more accomplishment every year to get into the most highly selective places. And it’s leaving most of our kids who go through that, most of them end up pretty breathless by the end of it. Exhausted from a childhood that has been all about getting into a big brand-name college and then we wonder why those big brand name colleges, the mental health issues are totally out of control. It’s all connected and frankly, I used to be- Look, I’m a Stanford grad, my husband’s a Stanford grad, I was working with other people’s kids at Stanford, I gave birth to my children at Stanford, accepted at nursery school at Stanford. I think I hoped that they would follow in my footsteps but somewhere along the way I realized wait a minute, if that university or others like it are going to demand a degree of perfection or you know a volume of activities and accomplishments that it looks like it’s gonna be really hard for my child to to put out there, to achieve without a cost to their mental health, I’m not in this. I’m not doin’ it. And I’d rather love my kid for who he or she is, who they are, support them at being great at what they’re great at and have confidence that there’s the right college out there for them that’s really going to love who they are. And I’m proud of the fact that my son’s at a small liberal arts college in Portland Oregon called Reed that a lot of parents haven’t heard of but it’s a wonderfully intellectually rigorous quirky nerdy passionate place for people who are serious about their their intellectual endeavors and I’m thrilled that he’s there even though I’m a big brand name person myself. So in short there are plenty of great schools and we shouldn’t manufacture our kids to be what some college wants. They don’t- look, we make our kids feel like we just wish they’d be slightly better than they are, you know? And nobody wants to grow up feeling that way. We all want to be loved and encouraged and supported at being who we actually are, not made into what our parents wished we would be.

Andrea: I feel like there’s such a- I mean what you’re saying is fascinating and so true. Right? We have to raise their kids for who they are not for what college you want them to get into. But there’s such a fine line I think between letting your kid find their own way and make all their own choices and then worrying that they’re going to make the wrong choice because they’re just not being pushed hard enough. You know I think a lot of people push their kids because they think they can do better. And as you say then the kid winds up thinking all the time, Oh my God, you know, I’m not good enough.

Julie: Well, you know, it’s a really excellent point. Of course we want our kids to learn how to work hard roll up their sleeves make a good effort try again persist all of that. So we should have high expectations around their behavior around their work ethic around their character. But we shouldn’t be trying to steer them towards something just because some college wants it. So here’s an example. If your kid is getting a 22 on the ACT and the college you want them to go to wants at least a 30, You know, that’s going to be a really really hard you know improvement to make. OK? If your kid has a 30 and the college would like to see them have a 32 that’s something that some test prep can really help happen. So it’s like, don’t complete- try to completely transform your kid into someone else because that’s what the college wants. But but do push your kid to be even better at what they’re good at. My son does no activities, no sports. He just reads and thinks and has really deep intellectual conversations with people and he pulled off an extremely high score in his ACT when he first took it without studying at all. And I said to him “Sawyer, this is great. And imagine what you might be able to do if you sat down for eight or 10 hours one weekend and focused on the one subject area that’s bringing this score a little bit down. Just eight or ten hours of work honey. Imagine what might happen. Imagine how this might help you really put your best foot forward since you don’t have a lot of these other things colleges we’re looking for. But this is your strength. What would happen if you put a little more effort?” And he did, and he brought that score up to near perfect and you know I feel like, was that over parenting? You know I think I stayed on the right side of the line, you know trying to help my kid put a little bit more skin in the game. But I wasn’t trying to, I wasn’t saying, “Hey kid, I know you hate sports but you need to do a sport for college.” I wasn’t gonna do that to him.

Rebecca: Right. That is the difference. Yeah that’s the big difference I think.

Julie: You know, one of the- one of the problems here with our our approach to college admissions as parents is we have this perception of scarcity. Like there are no spots, it’s impossible to get kids in, therefore we have to manufacture them to look a certain way. And there’s so much wrong with that perception. But the piece I’m going to focus on is there are there are plenty of great schools in America, most of which don’t have big brand names and here’s an example of of of what I mean. I think we’re supposed to help our kids figure out what am I good at, what do I love, what kind of environment do I want to be in. My daughter for example said “Look, I want strong academics but I want strong athletics. I want a school I can- you know, where everyone’s wearing the sweatshirt or the hat. Everyone’s just proud to be there.” And I said “OK, I’m going to take you to visit schools like that. Let’s investigate.” Right? And there’s a school called Duke which is really high academically and really high in terms of athletics and almost impossible to get into. There’s a school USC, same category, a little bit easier than Duke to get into. There’s a school Syracuse. Same environment, easier to get into than USC. I know, I said “Let’s visit these three, OK? So you can get a feel, right?” And her sense was, “I could be happy in any of these places.” You know? “I love what I’m feeling. I love the vibe.” K one- this one’s a reach. One’s a target. One’s a safety. OK? When we can when we can expose our kids to the schools that have the vibe that they’re looking for in every tier in terms of our- you know, in terms of the qualifications and the selectivity and whatnot, then we can have confidence they’re going to land in a place that really feels good to them. Do you see what I’m saying?

Rebecca: Absolutely. You know my fear is, and this is what I’ve said to my daughters, that somehow college has been built up to be this like utopia that, it’s gonna be the best thing that ever happened. And I keep saying to them, it’s just four years of your life. Like, it’s definitely important. You’re going to meet people hopefully, you’re going to like be open to new ideas new things. But I don’t want them also now to think that college somehow has to be this all fulfilling thing, because college is hard. Like socially, can be hard, you know, you do a ton- your- you get homesick, you know whatever it is you are adjusting to life on your own. I don’t, I’m trying to figure out where in the culture college became the goal of high school and where it became the be-all-end-all of defining who you are. I can’t figure out where that happened in our culture but it’s maddening to me.

Julie: Yeah I’m not sure when it happened. Certainly on an- at an economic- from an economics perspective, it has become the case that a college degree is the credential expected in the workplace these days compared to a high school degree being expected when we were young. That- that’s certainly an important shift. But a college degree doesn’t mean a degree from a highly selective college. There’s plenty of research that shows you you you don’t have better outcomes in life from having gone to a more selective college. You’re not more likely to be thriving, you’re not more likely to be happy, you’re not more likely to have a higher income. So it- I think this highly selective college piece is really kind of a popularity contest. It’s about keeping up with the Joneses. It’s, oh, you know that place seems to have a lot of cachet. It’s like the hot brand. So I need my kid to go there so I can feel better about myself. And frankly I think this is at the level of parental ego, parental need and worry to feel good enough, and it’s like our kid is this little dog in a dog show. And we’ve won Best in Breed. Like, look, you know, my kid’s at fill-in-the-blank big brand name. And that makes me look good. And this is where a lot of therapy can help us parents back the heck off. Oh it’s a podcast. Back the hell off. [laughter] I can say bad words!

Rebecca: Go for it.

Julie: And give our kids more distance. Give them just a little bit more room to have their own life instead of us being all up in their business all the time having to know where are you and what are you doing and how did you do in school today and how are you doing on your homework and you know this sort of constant surveillance around their activity their activities their academics is just, it’s harming our kids’ mental health. They feel constantly surveilled, they feel that we’re constantly worried and anxious about their outcomes, and we don’t let them do enough for themselves, so they end up these sort of hyper perfected little achievement machines that they’ve never been allowed to fail so they don’t feel any resilience, they don’t know what to do when something goes wrong. They’re constantly scanning the environment for us to help them. And this really undermines their mental health. So we’ve got to do better by our kids and the good news is it doesn’t cost any money we just have to, we just have to get right in our own psyches about the fact that our kid is not our project or our pet or the evidence of our worth. Back off a little bit give them more room to try their own things with confidence that they will get to the life they want. With love and chores, they’ll get there.

Rebecca: Well thank you Julie. This has been such a great discussion I feel like we could probably talk to you for hours which is I guess what everyone probably says to you when they have these conversations with you because it is, I’m not sure how we, as a society, we found ourselves here. I mean there’s like a long path to this, but it is- I’m so glad you said that it’s just it’s not something that costs money to fix, like this is something- and you could do it tomorrow. You can. But even if your kid grumbles, like set the table, clear the table, make your bed, whatever it is just start and laying off the grades is a big one especially with the online portals. I feel like it’s just all the time.

Julie: Ugh. Ruining childhood.

Rebecca: It is ruining childhood. It’s ruining parental relationships. It’s horrible.

Julie: It’s true. 100 percent. My website details four steps parents can take when they’re ready. Like tomorrow or next Monday or May 1st or whenever you feel like starting something. Four steps for teaching your child any skill, the three things you gotta stop doing A.S.A.P. the two things that matter most, and the one week cleanse to get your relationship with your kid back on track. So that’s at my website Julia Lythcott Haims dot com, I hope folks will check it out.

Rebecca: No that’s awesome, we’ll put a link to it. Thank you again so much for joining us.

Julie: Absolutely, thanks for having me.

Rebecca: We will be right back with our Bytes of the Week…We are back with our Bytes of the Week. But, all right, Amy, I’m going to say this before we do Bytes of the Week. Because I feel like I should have said this while we were talking to Julie. You have been the most chill [Amy laughing] college admissions parent. I would say most chill all through high school actually, and I’m not even gonna go back to middle school because you were always chill, but like truly I have a lot of friends who pretend they’re chill. They’re like, “Oh, yeah. This is this.” But really their kids are like, have a private tutor for the SAT and a prep course and this and they visited 25 schools. [Amy laughing] And they’re like super pretending they’re chill. But you literally were like, “He’s going to take the free SAT at school and then he’s going to, you know, we’ll see how he does and then maybe he’ll take a class, and I’m not sure where he’s applying but he knows, he knows what he wants…”

Amy: You know I have to say like living in New York it would have been so easy to slip into that whole thing, like you’ve got to get into the right preschool, so you can get into the right middle school, and into the right high school and college and we just opted out of all of that from the beginning. We were just like that is not us, that is not something we want to be a part of, we’re gonna do public schools and no stress- not no stress, but- And it helped that Jake was very focused and no-stress about it too. So you know the- most of the credit goes to him, but thank you, I do feel like I get a little bit for not being pushy pushy.

Rebecca: You totally do! If there was an award…

Andrea: You are totally the- I mean like you’re my- you’re the person who makes me want to go back and redo the college process all over again with my son. And I’ll tell you I would rather have all my fingernails pulled out than have to go through that process again.

Amy: [laughing] Listen-

Rebecca: My God. [laughing]

Amy: It is- it is- it- it’s- it’s from laziness. Honest to God. Like it’s because I’m not going to be helping him once he’s in college so he has to be comfortable where he is and that he got into a place that he can handle and that is the right level for him. So it didn’t make sense to interject myself before college. So…yeah I just, I just kind of let him handle it.

Andrea: Sorry. I’m sorry. None of that, like- none of that resonates with anybody [laughter] because people- Know what? You’re just chill and that’s it. We give you the chill award.

Amy: I will take it. Thank you.

Rebecca: All right. Good. On that note, what’s your byte?

Amy: So my byte is, um…It’s funny because my byte came to me from I believe one of your former bytes which is R. Eric Thomas who is just the-

Rebecca: Best.

Amy: The King or queen of awesomeness, whichever he would prefer. And through him, through an article that I will link to, I found Pete Buttigieg’s husband’s Twitter. It was an article that R. Eric Thomas wrote last month called Chasten Buttigieg Relentlessly- Sorry. Chasten Buttigieg’s Relentlessly Cheery Twitter is the Best Thing to Come Out of the 2020 Election. And it just is. It is. His husband- I mean, he- first of all, he is a junior high theater teacher which is just-

Rebecca: Oh! The best.

Amy: I mean, like, you love him already.

Rebecca: Yes.

Amy: But it’s just, it’s a fantastic Twitter feed. It’s- even if you don’t care about politics, even if you don’t care about Pete Buttigieg, whatever. But it’s at Chas- C-H-A-S 10 Buttigieg. And we’ll link to it, and it’s fabulous.

Rebecca: Awesome. All right. Andrea, whatcha got?

Andrea: All right. I went to do a New York City thing which I need to do much more of. And I got out of here and I went into the city and I saw like such an uplifting play. I saw “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” Which is the play about The Temptations. And…Or “Ain’t Too Proud.” And I have to say unlike “The Cher Show” or you know the Carole King, you know, focused on one musician, this was about The Temptations. And I didn’t realize how many Temptations came and went through the entirety of their journey, which is still continuing. It’s amazing. It’s based on the book by Otis Williams who is like the one temptation who started it and you know continued on for so long, and he’s the narrator and it just tells the story of like the clashes within the band, David Ruffin who everybody loves and shows you know some of their decline into drink and drugs and coming and going and it’s such an uplifting play, the music is fantastic. I wish that they played more, and when I say more I mean like they played all the great songs but only like 30 or 40 seconds. So you really start bopping in your-

Rebecca: I wonder if it’s a money thing.

Andrea: I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a royalty thing or just a time thing, but people were just toe tapping and singing and smiling and I have to say- and then all the temptations are up there dressed in their fiiiine looking suits [laughter] you know their really slick blues suits and dancing and I just loved it. So if you’re looking for something feel-good to do, that’s the play to go see.

Rebecca: That’s awesome. All right. Well mine, my byte this week is an article in New York Magazine which I think- find this very funny. New York Magazine actually has a category called Millennials because they have so many articles about Millennials it’s really funny, But it’s called Outsourcing Adulthood: Can You Ever Really Grow Up If You Don’t Do Anything For Yourself.” And it’s an article about how this generation, this- people in their, I guess 20s, and certainly our kids, also but low 30s, can do meal kits so they don’t have to think about how to cook, or you know, that’s if they’re not doing Seamless, if they want to feel a little more, you know, virtuous. TaskRabbit for hanging their TV and changing a lightbulb. And just how every single thing can be outsourced, all these tasks that would have made you an adult in the past, you no longer have to take care of yourself. So what does it mean to be an adult if you’re not just like taking care of things anymore, and even just sending out their laundry to Fly Cleaners and obviously Uber for driving and I mean there’s a thing called Takl T-A-K-L which I have never heard of which encourages users to “tackle chores by dividing them into a million tiny tasks that can be outsourced.” So washing dishes, there is a service that’ll come and just like make your bed every day and straighten up your house for you your apartment.

Andrea: That’s horrible.

Rebecca: It is horrible.

Andrea: I’m sorry. That’s horrible.

Rebecca: Is horrifying.

Rebecca: And one of the things this article points out is it’s really expensive.

Amy: Yeah!

Rebecca: So this- it’s not like these kids are making tons of money, but they don’t know where it goes because it’s so easy to just- 15 dollars here, 20 dollars here…

Andrea: Well, and don’t forget, it’s all digital.

Rebecca: Yes.

Andrea: Right? Like, every time a kid gets in an Uber…

Rebecca: That’s what they talk about!

Andrea: You know, it’s all digital.

Rebecca: No friction.

Andrea: So they don’t see the money.

Rebecca: Yep.

Andrea: Exactly.

Rebecca: There’s no friction to get the bill at the end of the month and you’re like whoa! So it’s a really great article. It’s a lot to think about because if you don’t want your child to grow into someone who just outsources everything, and I’ve heard from a lot of parents about their kids heading off to college and all of a sudden getting these crazy Uber bills because it was on their account, and being like whoa! Not- it didn’t even occur to them that this would be something. But all of a sudden their kids are just Ubering everywhere instead of being like oh maybe I can’t go.

Amy: Or take a bus.

Andrea: Ok Wait. I just have to jump in on they didn’t even occur to them because I knew somebody who proudly said that their daughter and her roommate that- oh, some entrepreneurial student at college was hiring herself out to clean bathrooms.

Amy: Oh my God.

Andrea: And her daughter and her roommate because they had a private bathroom in their suite and didn’t have to use the dorm hall bathroom hired her. And she thought it was just so great that she’s paying for it to make sure that their bathroom is clean and not disgusting.

Rebecca: Oh my God.

Andrea: Isn’t that like the first thing you learn in school is how to clean the bathroom?

Rebecca: Yeah. Or you don’t, right?

Andrea: Right.

Rebecca: Like my grandmother still talks- my grandmother is 102, OK? And I was in college 25 years ago and my grandmother still talks about coming to my house sophomore year, I lived with six girls, and how disgusting it was. She still told the story-

Amy: Oh my God.

Rebecca: of how horrified she was. My room was very neat but the common spaces we all kind of gave up because it became like-

Andrea: Sure!

Rebecca: if you’re the only one cleaning then you resent it. So when you all just decide, forget it, because two people were serious slobs, that’s what happens. It was disgusting.

Amy: Now, wait, like I want to stress just how NOT elite of a college I went to, I went to a state school, I went to a cheap SUNY school. We- like it was just part of living in the dorm that somebody came and cleaned your bathroom every week.

Andrea: Right.

Amy: Is that like not-

Andrea: If you’re in a dorm-

Rebecca: Yeah yeah.

Andrea: Yeah if you’re in a dorm and there’s the big bathroom, shared bathroom in the hallway. But this was a tony school where freshmen were allowed to live in suite style dorms. So it was like two kids in one room two kids and another and then a common area, kitchen, and a bathroom. And because they didn’t have time or inclination and the parents wanted the bathroom clean and none of them wanted to do it and fight about it they just hired probably the scholarship kid on the first floor who said I’ll come clean your bathroom for cash, and you know maybe it’s the way the world works, I don’t know, she was very smart to go around cleaning bathrooms. But the simple fact that the parent thought that it was not only OK but paid for it…I mean I went to visit Matt you know in his off campus apartment and it was so gross. It was a shared house and I like- I didn’t even want to pee there. You know?

Rebecca: Yeah.

Andrea: Like I didn’t want to touch the towels. I just- But that was it. It was his place, you know, and it was up to them to figure it out.

Rebecca: Right. Or if you have a job where you pay for someone to come clean it.

Andrea: Right.

Rebecca: Like if that is what you’re gonna do then like your parents shouldn’t be paying for that.

Andrea: Right.

Amy: Do you know what I want? I want a Reddit AMA from somebody who worked for TaskRabbit or another one of those services who will tell the dumbest things that they’ve been called to do.

Andrea: [laughing] That would be awesome.

Rebecca: What do you mean! In this article, someone said, no joke, in this article they start talking about…um…PostMates. Because PostMates, there’s a minimum and they charge so much for everything that this person basically needed an onion. They were making something, realized they didn’t have an onion, so instead of just not putting in the onion, their onion ended up costing him 30 dollars because that is this minimum.

Amy: Okay. That totally sounds like something I would do.

Rebecca: But you’re like you’re a grown person who might do that. There is something about being twenty-something- I don’t know, it was so appalling. I’m like maybe you don’t have an onion, like you just don’t do it, but it speaks to like that whole like, I need it now-

Andrea: Or maybe you have onion powder-

Rebecca: I want it now. Yeah, I don’t know-

Andrea: And they don’t see don’t see the money changing hands.

Rebecca: Yes.

Andrea: I’m not handing over 30 dollars.

Rebecca: That’s what they said. When they thought about it at the time they were like, eh. And then afterwards they were like, Oh my God. I literally basically paid 30 dollars for an onion. Like…

Amy: You know Rebecca I thought of you yesterday because whenever we talk about money and allowance on this show I’m always saying allowance never worked until I did it electronically because I never have cash and you’re always like No no no there has to be the cash in hand. There has to be this friction. You know, you have to see the cash going in and coming in and going out and we give Fiona, when she has like something late, it’s for both of our kids, when they have something really late at school we give them money to pay for food because you know they’ve already brought their lunch. And so for if they have to have dinner out they get money and I usually just include it with their allowance, like the next allowance they get paid back for whatever they spend in the two weeks before. And Fiona came to us yesterday and said “Listen, I’m spending too much of my money because it’s just coming off of my debit card and I don’t feel it. Can you give me that after school money in cash please?”

Rebecca: Oh look at her!

Andrea: Wow, impressive.

Rebecca: She’s brilliant. Well I just had to shut down my daughter who was- you can forget debit card, my daughter can use Apple Pay everywhere because she’s on a college campus for high school. She’s been going to the vending machine every day and buying seltzer [laughter] and so all of a sudden I see these charges on my Apple Pay account of like two dollars, two dollars, two dollars. What on earth. And she’s like, “Oh,they have seltzer now in the- flavored seltzer in the vending machine.” I’m like, “That’s nice.” [laughing] I’m like, you can’t spend ten dollars a week buying a thing, it’s a- plus like me, like, I’m a crazy plastic bottle person. I’m like, AND, plus it’s a plastic bottle! Like it made me crazy. But she was like “Oh!” But she, she just tapped her phone to the thing. It didn’t even occur to her.

Amy: So easy.

Rebecca: She’s like, “It’s only two dollars!” I’m like, “Yeah, every day. Like, that’s bananas and you have your water bottle and they have all those fancy water filling stations on campus.

Amy: And see, I feel like that’s a vote for the electronic thing because when Fiona was spending too much money, like when she first got a debit card and was like, “Where did all my money go?” I was able to open up the app and say, “Look at that! Starbucks, Bubble Tea, Starbucks, Bubble Tea, Bubble Tea, Starbucks.” It was all right there. So I don’t know. It’s- some things work better with electronics, some things work better with cash. But I just thought it was funny, it was like Rebecca had gotten to her.

Rebecca: I had, I got to feel and I told her you need to feel the friction. All right well that is our show for this week, we’ll have links to everything we talked about, we really want to hear from you. If you have questions for Julie Lythcott-Haims she is willing to come back and answer more questions about, you know, raising an adult, about the college admissions process, anything you have. We’d love to hear your questions and would love to have her back on to answer them because she’s, as you heard, an incredible guest. We will have links to everything we talked about today on Parenting Bytes dot com and on Facebook dot com slash Parenting Bytes, listen to us wherever you listen to your podcasts. Please rate, review, subscribe, and share. It’s how we help spread the word. And thank you for all the comments and reviews people have been leaving on iTunes. They’re amazing. They make us so happy we wish we could reply to you all individually, but it’s so nice to hear from people because we just put this out in the world and hope it’s reaching someone, so keep reaching out to us and we hopefully will answer your questions. Until next week, happy parenting!

Andrea: Bye!

Amy: Bye.

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