Educator reveals the 'unpopular' parenting rule that helped her raise two CEOs and a doctor

The expert wants to help parents raise successful children

Expert on how to raise successful children
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A renowned educator has revealed how an 'unpopular' parenting rule helped her to raise three extremely successful children, two on whom are CEOs and one whose a doctor. 

Choosing a parenting style can be a difficult task. 2023's most popular parenting trend has undoubtedly been gentle parenting, but the style has received just as much criticism as it has praise. So where do you start? 

Of course, how you raise your child is an incredibly personal choice to make, one you make alone after reading up on all the facts. But one expert and renowned educator has urged parents, no matter what style they use to parent their kids, to try out her 'unpopular' parenting rule as she believes it was the key to her now grown-up children's successes. 

Esther Wojcicki, 81, is known as the 'Godmother of Silicon Valley' not just for the amount of students who leave her classes as entrepreneurs in the tech field, but also because her own children are incredibly successful. You may know two of her three daughters; Susan Wojcicki, who is the CEO of YouTube and Anne Wojcicki, who is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. Her third daughter, Janet Wojcicki, while out of the public eye, is a doctor and professor of paediatrics. 

Esther is also the author of How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results - available on Amazon. She's clearly got the credentials to back up her parenting style. But that doesn't mean everyone will like what she has to say when it comes to her favoured parenting rules for children. 

Arguing against helicopter parenting in a recent piece for CNBC, Susan wrote, "There were many unpopular parenting rules I followed as a young mother. But my number one was, 'Don’t do anything for your kids that they can do for themselves.' The more you trust your children to do things on their own, the more empowered they’ll be."

Using what she calls the 'I do, we do, you do method,' Susan encourages parents to show their kids how to handle daily tasks such as setting their own alarms, picking out their school clothes, helping with meals, and checking their own homework only a few times before then leaving them to do them alone. 

She writes, "Chores are especially important. Washing dishes was a big one in our house. All my daughters stood on a little stool at the sink and washed the dishes after dinner."

child and parent talking

(Image credit: Getty)

The idea behind leaving kids to figure these things out for themselves is that practice makes perfect and through that practice kids will gain confidence as they learn to do things for themselves.

"Mastery means doing something as many times as it takes to get it right," Susan says. "To be clear, I’m not saying you should make your kids do things they don’t understand or aren’t capable of, nor am I saying you should let them play in the street if it isn’t safe, or walk to the store if the neighbourhood is dangerous.

"The idea is to teach them how to cope with what life throws at them. When you trust kids to make their own decisions, they start to feel more engaged, confident and empowered. And once that happens, there’s no limit to what they can achieve."

If you'd like to raise a future entrepreneur or CEO like Esther, you could also try giving your baby one of the most successful baby names of 2023. In other family news, A parenting expert reveals her discipline hack for kids of all ages, A toddler expert shares her simple tip for preventing sibling rivalry - and she promises it will be 'life-changing', and This clever hack stopped an 11-year-old being abducted - and it's so simple

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.