In this episode, we are talking with Jessica Lahey. Jessica is an educator, writer, and speaker. She is an English and writing teacher, correspondent for the Atlantic, commentator for Vermont Public Radio, and writes the “Parent-Teacher Conference” column for the New York Times. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Jessica earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts and a J.D. with a concentration in juvenile and education law from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two sons.
Here is what we talked about:
- What is the beautiful question behind The Gift of Failure?
- As a parent, it is hard for me to give my son the freedom to fail. Help us understand why it is so important to do so. What are the long-term consequences of protecting our children from failures? What can children learn when we grant them the freedom to fail?
- Talk to us about competence and mastery as motivators. What are some ways we can best parent for autonomy and competence? What are some ways we should avoid because they take away from the autonomy and competence of our children?
- In your book you describe praise as a “slippery parenting tool.” Share with us some of the research on praise and how we can take our current ways of praising and turn them into positive opportunities for learning and growth?
- A significant number of school-age children participate in sports. What are the benefits and what kinds of sideline parenting should we embrace to ensure these experiences contribute positively to the growth of our children?
- Are there any specific, unique areas of over-parenting for middle school and high school parents you’d like to talk about?
- We often hear stories of how parents “take over” homework assignments. What are some strategies for parents to approach homework effectively?
- Letting go is probably one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. What advice can you give us to make this more bearable?
- What beautiful questions are you thinking about now?
Join the Conversation
Each episode we leave you with a couple of questions to think about…with the idea of provoking conversation. This episode’s questions:
- From your experience, what are the most challenging aspects of parenting?
- What new learning from The Gift of Failure will you apply to your parenting tomorrow?
Explore Additional Resources
- Jessica’s Website – http://www.jessicalahey.com/ (Subscribe for bonus chapters!)
- Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail
- Link to articles in New York Time, Atlantic and other media
- Jessica on Twitter – @jesslahey
- The Gift of Failure
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