Podcast #381: The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children Is Failure

If you’re a parent, you likely want your kid to flourish and succeed. And according to my guest today, the best way to do that is to let your kid fail.

Her name is Jessica Lahey and she’s a teacher and the author of the book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Today on the show, Jess gives us a quick overview of the history of parenting in America and why it’s gotten more protective and more involved in the past few decades. We then discuss the many downsides of helicopter parenting and why letting your kids fail is so important for their long-term development. Jessica then gets into the nitty gritty of areas where you should let your kid experience failure and how to make sure these failures become learning experiences. 

Show Highlights

  • The backstory that led Jess to writing this book, including her own failures at home
  • The culture shifts that have led us to an age of overprotective parenting  
  • From child-rearing to parenting
  • The ways in which parents freak each other out 
  • Downsides of overprotective parenting 
  • How to give your kids more autonomy 
  • Why frustration is important for kids to feel 
  • Why you shouldn’t tell your kids that they’re intrinsically smart 
  • Striving for “autonomy supportive” parenting 
  • How giving less guidance and advice can improve your relationship with your kids 
  • How do you resist the urge to just do things for your kid when they’re doing something the wrong way?
  • Process over product 
  • Why it’s so important to assign kids “household duties” (rather than “chores”) 
  • Why Jess doesn’t care if her kids’ rooms are clean 
  • How young to start kids on doing things around the house 
  • Letting your kids do “dangerous” things 
  • Your kids’ friendships; what to do when they’re hanging out with the wrong crowd 
  • Handling school, and the importance of getting good grades 
  • Why letting her kid go to school with a crappy science fair project was one of the best things she’s done 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Jess 

Jess on Twitter

Jess’ website

Jess on Instagram

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