"If Mr. and Mrs. Smith had kids and wrote a parenting book, this is what you'd get: a practical guide for how to utilize key spy tactics to teach kids important life skills--from self-defense to effective communication to conflict resolution." --Working Mother
Christina was a single, successful CIA analyst with a burgeoning career in espionage when she met fellow spy, Ryan, a hotshot field operative who turned her world upside down. They fell in love, married, and soon they were raising three children from his first marriage, and later, two more of their own.
Christina knew right away that there was something special about the way Ryan was parenting his kids, although she had to admit their obsession with surviving end-of-world scenarios and their ability to do everything from archery to motorcycle riding initially gave her pause. More than that, Ryan's kids were much more security savvy than most adults she knew. She soon realized he was using his CIA training and field experience in his day-to-day child-rearing. And why shouldn't he? The CIA trains its employees to be equipped to deal with just about anything. Shouldn't parents strive to do the same for their kids?
As Christina grew into her new role as a stepmom and later gave birth to their two children, she got on board with Ryan's unique parenting style--and even helped shape it using her own experiences at the CIA. Told through honest and relatable parenting anecdotes, Christina shares their distinctive approach to raising confident, security-conscious, resilient children, giving practical takeaways rooted in CIA tradecraft along the way. License to Parent aims to provide parents with the tools necessary to raise savvier, well-rounded kids who have the skills necessary to navigate through life.
About the Author
Christina and Ryan Hillsberg are former spies with more than twenty years' experience working at the Central Intelligence Agency before transitioning to the private sector. They live near Seattle, Washington, with their five children and two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
Advance Praise for License to Parent
“What does a spy know about raising kids? Usually they don't tell you. Lucky for us, this one is ready to talk.” --Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids and president of Let Grow
“A fresh and fascinating perspective on child-rearing.” –Kirkus Reviews
“This book is unlike all other parenting books; it’s a real story, told from the point-of-view of a CIA agent who first becomes a step-mom and, then, a mom. The advice is funny, important, refreshing and oh-so-needed. I’m so glad I made time for this book.” –Zibby Owens, author of Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books
“License to Parent is a fascinating view of child rearing through the lens of two ex-CIA agents. The result is a compelling story based on years of specialized training woven into practical techniques that parents and non-parents alike can benefit from learning."
– Jessica Joelle Alexander, co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting
"Insightful and entertaining, this is a winning spin on the usual parenting fare." –Publishers Weekly
“With tips for staying safe online, living by one’s principles, and finding a healthy balance with risk, this is a fascinating and useful take on parenting.” –Library Journal
“This antidote to helicopter-parenting culture encourages parents to let their kids have authentic experiences of success and failure, preparing children for real life while enjoying the adventure along the way.” –Booklist
“You don’t need to be afraid to give your kids independence. Just get them ready. License to Parent will help you prepare your kids—and yourself—to handle almost any risk life presents."
–Sara Zaske, author of Achtung, Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children
“License to Parent is full of great parenting tactics, riveting stories from their life in the CIA, and, on top of that, it’s FUN. … I’ll never be a good spy, but with the help of the Hillsbergs, I can be a good mom.” —Melanie Dale, author of Calm the H*ck Down: How to Let Go and Lighten Up about Parenting
“What does being a spy have to do with being a parent? A lot. The intriguing storytelling reads like a novel but the real takeaways here are the crucial everyday skills anyone can teach their kids so they become more independent, more resourceful, and more confident.”
– Eve Rodsky, author of Fair Play
“In a world where helicopter parenting and hyper involvement in our children’s lives have become norm, License to Parent is a refreshing and much-needed reminder that our kids are way more capable than we give them credit for. Irreverent, hilarious and savvy, this book will empower your kids not merely to survive, but to thrive!” --Linda McGurk, author of There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids (From Friluftsliv to Hygge)
“Christina Hillsberg, along with husband Ryan Hillsberg, delivers fun and fresh take on parenting guides perfect for parents looking to navigate the risks around raising a child today…This book is ultimately a gem because, unlike any other parenting book―and even many survival books―I’ve read, License to Parent focuses on teaching the reader how to make decisions quickly and effectively…Be sure to add this to your parenting book club.” --Ladders