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7 Must-Watch TED Talks for Parents

Written by Mia Quagliarello

Photography by Photo via YouTube

Did you ever think to head to TED for parenting advice and inspiration? Go! It’s a treasure chest of insightful gems from some of the world’s best storytellers. To prove it to you, we’ve rounded up 7 TED Talks about parenting that are incredibly inspiring.

How To Raise Successful Kids—Without Over-Parenting, Julie Lythcott-Haims
This is one of the most beloved TED Talks for parents, and with good reason. Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University, talks about the modern-day predicament of the “checklisted childhood”—that suffocating mode of parenting that’s preoccupied, to an absurd degree, with setting our kids up for success and protecting them from failure. “We expect our kids to perform at a level of perfection that we were never asked to perform at ourselves,” Lythcott-Haims claims. So “we act like our kids’ concierge and personal handler and secretary,” but in the long-run our kids really suffer. So, how to fix it? Watch and see.

Julia Sweeney Has “The Talk”
Now this video won’t actually tell you how to give “the talk”, but it will turn the whole awkward thing into a hilarious story. Delivered with perfection by comedian Julia Sweeney, “The Talk” is one of TED’s funniest lectures.

For Parents, Happiness Is A Very High Bar, Jennifer Senior
The parenting section of the bookstore can be overwhelming. Writer and All Joy and No Fun author Jennifer Senior calls it “a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic.” Why is parenthood filled with so much anguish and anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive, says Senior. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do, Gever Tulley at TEDxMidwest
Gever Tulley, the founder of the Tinkering School, proposes that keeping your kids safe actually entails letting them experiment with danger. He goes on to debunk “mythic false perceptions” about child safety, including the fact that the things parents worry about happening to their children the most (kidnapping is #1) do not overlap at all with the five things that children in America are actually dying of. To combat “this avalanche of unfounded fears,” Tulley presents five activities parents should let kids do in order to learn to recognize and/or mitigate risk. (One of them is to Super Glue your fingers together. Yes, really.)

Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection, Reshma Saujani
The founder of Girls Who Code examines the different ways girls and boys are socialized, namely: “We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave.” Saujani explains how this culture of perfection has just got to go if we want happier girls and a more equal world. Writing code, she says, is a way to get there.

The Council Of Dads, Bruce Feiler
When a dad learns of his cancer diagnosis, he gets an idea to create a “council of dads” to be there for his three-year-old twin girls as they grow up. A funny, sweet story.

A Father-Daughter Bond, One Photo At A Time, Steven Addis
A touristic snapshot of photographer Steven Addis and his 1-year-old daughter in NYC sparked an annual, 15-year tradition and trip for the father-daughter duo—and made him realize the importance of creating these kinds of moments with the people who matter most to us. “One of the most important things we make are memories,” says Addis. “So, I want us all to take actively role in consciously creating memories.” Amen.

For more shows to add to your must-watch list, check out these 10+ Documentaries For Parents And Parents-To-Be.

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