NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER In the tradition of Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed and Wendy Mogel’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, this groundbreaking manifesto focuses on the critical school years when parents must learn to allow their children to experience the disappointment and frustration that occur from life’s inevitable problems so that they can grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults. 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.
In today’s success-focused culture, many parents assume a rather active role in projecting the early success of their children, all too often with devastating consequences.
Jessica Lahey, an educator, speaker and author with a vast experience at both middle and high school level, urges overprotective parents to let children fail and learn from their mistakes. In The Gift of Failure, Lahey argues that parents should rethink their ambition to do everything possible so that their children excel in school assignments, activities or class projects.
In her interview for Readara, Lahey explains how the roles of parents and teachers go beyond teaching how to read, write and do homework. She goes on to remind readers of the importance of responsibility, well-defined autonomy, and the cultivation of preparedness in children for dealing with unpleasant situations and failures.
Jessica Lahey 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 Timesbestselling 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.
“This fascinating, thought-provoking book shows that to help children succeed, we must allow them to fail. Essential reading for parents, teachers, coaches, psychologists, and anyone else who wants to guide children towards lives of independence, creativity, and courage.”
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of this book. The Gift of Failure is beautifully written; it’s deeply researched; but most of all it’s the one book we all need to read if we want to instill the next generation with confidence and joy.”
“Lahey offers one of the most important parenting messages of our times: Unless we allow our children to learn how to take on challenges, they won’t thrive in school and in life. Her extremely helpful book tells her story, compiles research, and provides hundreds of doable suggestions.”