Noted developmental psychologist and author Richard Rende, PhD sat down with PJTV’s Stephen Kruiser to discuss his new book, Raising Can-Do Kids: Giving Children the Tools to Thrive in a Fast-Changing World.
Rende discussed the importance of chores, free play, the problem of over-scheduling, and how many current parenting trends are hampering the ability of children to develop entrepreneurial skills.
He said there’s nothing wrong with having some structured activities, “but when they chew up the entirety of the kids’ schedule — and you can throw homework into that mix as well — they’re missing out on lots of opportunities to develop skills that they’re wired to develop at the different ages.”
His book documents new research demonstrating the importance of unstructured play, which Rende says promotes “21st century skills” like critical thinking, problem solving, and innovative thinking. “All of that happens in unstructured settings,” he said.
Asked what he wants parents to take away from his book, Rende said, “I think it’s the value of parenting. We’re so concerned with pushing kids into activities, activities, activities that I think we’re depriving ourselves of the chance to teach them the things…that we know are going to predict their success. We’re also depriving ourselves of time with our kids — good times with them.”
Rende said that important skills kids needs to succeed in life (he calls them soft skills) can be cultivated in the home. “It’s not hard to do,” he said, and “it improves your family life.”