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For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior


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TED Talk

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The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming -- it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents -- to raise happy children -- is so elusive. In this honest talk, Senior offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Ask parents what they want for their kids, and almost all will say they want their children to be happy. But ask what traits they want their children to possess -- ask what traits they hope to instill in their kids -- and far and away the number one quality is "to be responsible." What comes next on the list? The ability to work hard. Inc. shares 10 things to teach kids to start a path to success.

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How to raise successful kids-- without over-parenting
By loading kids with high expectations and micromanaging their lives at every turn, parents aren't actually helping. Former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford, Julie Lythcott-Haims, makes the case for parents to stop defining their children's success via grades and test scores. Instead, she says, they should focus on providing the oldest idea of all: unconditional love.

What adults can learn from kids
Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity, and especially optimism. Kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach.

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  • Speaker Jennifer Senior