Podcast Episode 30: The Gift of Failure

Podcast Episode 30: The Gift of Failure (and why our kids need to do more chores)

Thanks so much for coming by to check out Episode 30 of The New Family Podcast!

What if the best gifts we could give a child were a chance to fail, plus a big pile of housework on the side? In this episode we’re joined by Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Jessica is an educator, speak and writer. She’s taught middle and high school for over a decade and she writes a column called “Parent-Teacher Conference” for The New York Times. When her article for the Atlantic—“Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail”—went viral, it had clearly struck a chord with parents who have begun to realize that we’re doing too much to sweep challenges out of our children’s way. Jessica’s got some great advice on how we can step back from our kids’ homework and make consequences more logical. And she explains why it’s critical that we let kids build competence by getting them involved in domestic duties around the house.

Here are some great resources related to my discussion with Jessica.

Jessica’s Book The Gift of Failure

Jessica’s website

Jessica’s article in The Atlantic

Jessica’s column for The New York Times

Angela Lee Duckworth’s Ted Talk “Grit”

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Reid

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood by Jennifer Senior

Jessica’s Favourite Parenting Advice:
“When I was growing up there were times, absolutely, when my parents were protective. But above all else I knew they trusted me, and I knew that they trusted my judgement. It gave me a lot of confidence to move forward and think ‘I can handle this,’ and that’s the one thing that I’ve really tried to carry forward to my kids. In the book I talk about the idea that every time you take a duty away from a kid you’re really saying, ‘I don’t trust you to be competent enough to do this.’ But when we hand a kids a responsibility and step away, what we’re really saying is, ‘I trust you.’ I think we’re lacking that connection through trust thee days. We’re giving a lot of kids messages that we don’t trust them and that’s hampering their development. So trust your kids a little bit more. I think that’s the most important thing that I’ve learned from my own parents.”

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by