In AON: Family, Parenting

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Jessica Lahey is a teacher, writer, and mom. She writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, and the New York Times and is the author of the New York Timesbestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. She is a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ The Stinky and Dirty Show. 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 and teaches high school English and writing in Vermont.



“We are more aware of negative things that trigger our partner and more open to seeing from each other’s point of view. We learned how to listen to each other, relate to how the other is feeling, and understand what they are trying to communicate.”

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Inside the Lesson

Modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents who rush to school at the whim of a phone call to deliver forgotten assignments, who challenge teachers on report card disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships, and interfere on the playing field. As teacher and writer Jessica Lahey explains, even though these parents see themselves as being highly responsive to their children’s well being, they aren’t giving them the chance to experience failure—or the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.

Overparenting has the potential to ruin a child’s confidence and undermine their education, Lahey reminds us. Teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. They teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight—important life skills children carry with them long after they leave the classroom.

Providing a path toward solutions, Lahey lays out a blueprint with targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. Most importantly, she sets forth a plan to help parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s failures. Hard-hitting yet warm and wise, The Gift of Failure is essential reading for parents, educators, and psychologists nationwide who want to help children succeed.


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