Download The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed Audiobook

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed Audiobook, by Jessica Lahey Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jessica Lahey Narrator: Jessica Lahey Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2015 ISBN: 9780062332356
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In the tradition of Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed and Wendy Mogel’s The Blessings of a Skinned Knee comes a manifesto and action plan that further explores Jessica Lahey’s article in the Atlantic, “Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail,” about why parents must learn to refrain from stepping in anytime children experience disappointments and frustrations so they can learn from life’s inevitable mistakes and setbacks and grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults.

Although teachers and coaches have long been aware of the detrimental effects overprotective and over-involved parents have on children, the stories teachers exchange these days reveal a whole new level of overprotectiveness: parents who rush to school at the whim of a phone call from their child to deliver items such as forgotten lunches, forgotten assignments, forgotten uniforms, and who demand better grades on the final semester reports. As teacher and writer Jessica Lahey explains, even though these parents see themselves as being highly responsive to the needs and issues of their children, they aren’t giving them the chance to experience failure and learn to solve their own problems.

Indeed, this level of overparenting has the potential to ruin a child’s confidence and undermine their education. As Lahey points out, teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. They teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight. These skills may not get assessed on standardized testing, but as children plot their journey into adulthood, they are by far the most important life skills they learn in the classroom. Children make mistakes and the educational benefit of suffering consequences is a gift.

The Gift of Failure is a manifesto, an outlet, and a resource for the hundreds of thousands of parents, educators, and psychologists who work to help children succeed. Providing a path toward solutions, Lahey lays out a blueprint with targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports—but more importantly, she sets forth a plan for what doesn’t come naturally to most of us: stepping back and embracing our children’s failures. Lahey argues that year after year her “best” students—the ones who are happiest and successful in their lives—are the students who were held responsible for missteps and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their failures. Students need the room to roll with the punches, find their way through the gauntlet of adolescence, and stand firm in the face of the challenges—challenges that have the power to transform today’s children into resourceful, competent, and confident adults.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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 toward lives of independence, creativity, and courage.”

    Gretchen Rubin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project

  • “Instead of lecturing us about what we’re doing wrong, Jessica Lahey reveals what she did wrong with her own children and students—and how she systematically reformed her ways. A refreshing, practical book for parents who want to raise resilient kids but aren’t sure how to start.”

    Amanda Ripley, New York Times bestselling author of The Smartest Kids in the World

  • “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.”

    Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making

  • “How can we help our children grow to be resourceful, happy adults? Lahey shows in practical terms how to know what your child is ready for and how to offer support even as you encourage autonomy. A wise, engaging book, steeped in scientific research and tempered with common sense.”

    Daniel T. Willingham, PhD, author of Why Don’t Students Like School?

  • “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.”

    Susan Cain, author of Quiet

  • A New York Times bestseller

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About the Author

Jessica Lahey is a teacher of English, Latin, and writing and has taught every grade from six to eleven in both public and private schools. She writes the biweekly “Parent-Teacher Conference” advice column for the New York Times and her work appears regularly in the Atlantic. She is a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio and has appeared on the Today show, Fox & Friends, HuffPost Live, and many other media outlets. Jessica earned a JD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a concentration in juvenile and education law and is an Albert Schweitzer Fellow for Life. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two sons.