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The Gift of Failure

How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

Von Jessica Lahey
13 Minuten
Audio-Version verfügbar
The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed von Jessica Lahey

In The Gift of Failure (2015), Lahey offers compelling reasons for caregivers to relinquish control over their children and let them fail. By taking this approach, Lahey argues, it will give children an important opportunity to learn about their values and skills, while strengthening their confidence, autonomy and sense of responsibility.

  • Parents and caregivers
  • Teachers
  • Anyone working with children

Jessica Lahey is an author, journalist and speaker. She writes a biweekly column for The New York Times and is a contributing writer at The Atlantic magazine.

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The Gift of Failure

How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

Von Jessica Lahey
  • Lesedauer: 13 Minuten
  • Verfügbar in Text & Audio
  • 8 Kernaussagen
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The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed von Jessica Lahey
Worum geht's

In The Gift of Failure (2015), Lahey offers compelling reasons for caregivers to relinquish control over their children and let them fail. By taking this approach, Lahey argues, it will give children an important opportunity to learn about their values and skills, while strengthening their confidence, autonomy and sense of responsibility.

Kernaussage 1 von 8

Our view on children and their education has changed throughout history.

Today the predominant parenting style involves protecting and sheltering our children until they leave the family nest. But it wasn’t always like this.

In the past, children’s education was geared toward early autonomy. In fact, in seventeenth century New England, work took precedence over children’s education. Due to poor health and mass poverty, many children died, and those who survived had to help their parents with the household or on the farm as soon as they were able.

Around this time, philosopher John Locke advised parents to let their children make mistakes and face the consequences. Failing to do this would only weaken their minds and prevent them from getting back up and trying again when they fail.

Over the next few hundred years, children’s life continued to be tough. In nineteenth century America, nearly one out of six children between the ages of 10 and 15 were employed, mostly in factories. Teenagers weren’t seen as sensitive, developing children, but as practical, cheap labor.

Later, a change in working circumstances and family structures allowed parents to focus more on their child. Dangerous child labor practices in the early twentieth century gave rise to regulations which prohibited children under a certain age to work.

From then on, children went from being “useful“ to “useless” in their families. Combined with growing divorce rates and couples having fewer children later in life, children’s education became more centered on caring for children as developing adults.

Psychological books about children’s education also became popular, like Nathaniel Branden’s 1969 bestseller The Psychology of Self-Esteem. Branden argued that self-esteem played the most central part in a child’s behavior. According to psychologist Jean Twenge, the self-esteem movement reinforced self-esteem in American society but, at the same time, turned people into narcissists.

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