The Gift of Failure is a thought-provoking book that aims to shift thinking and provide concrete solutions for parents who want to raise resilient children. The author, Jessica Lahey, advocates for a hands-off approach that instills confidence from an early age.
She 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 setbacks along with their success.
Some of the main themes covered in the book include the importance of letting children choose their own friends, being the right kind of sports parent, chores (or, as Lahey calls them, family contributions), and putting children in charge of their own academic success.
Lahey also emphasizes the idea of “autonomy-supportive parenting,” which involves making decisions that support the autonomy of your child in the long-run.
Useful takeaways from The Gift of Failure include:
- Embrace failure as a necessary part of growth and learning.
- Allow children to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Encourage autonomy and independence in children.
- Let children choose their own friends and activities.
- Be a supportive, rather than controlling, sports parent.
- Give children responsibilities and chores to build self-esteem and a sense of contribution.
- Focus on effort and progress, rather than just grades or outcomes.
- Practice autonomy-supportive parenting by making decisions that support your child’s long-term independence and growth.
Overall, The Gift of Failure is a valuable resource for parents who want to raise confident, resilient children who are equipped to handle life’s challenges.
What I Liked
Everything – it was an excellent, must-read parenting book. Letting your kids fail is awful and counter-intuitive…but also necessary to raise the kids everyone wants (resilient, independent, thoughtful, gracious, kind, brave). The key is understanding the difference between failure and catastrophic failure. The former prevents the latter. And catastrophic failure usually comes from never learning basic failure skills in the first place.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – brilliant book.