Are We Overparenting?

The opening line on the front flap of the dust jacket of Jessica Lahey‘s book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, reads: “Modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents now  rush to school to deliver forgotten assignments, challenge teachers on report card


Jessica Lahey

disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships, and interfere on the playing field.”

Whoa!  That’s us! We’re modern parents — and according to Lahey and a host of others we’re jeopardizing our kids’ tomorrows by trying to manipulate their todays.

Not cool.

But what are our options?  How should we be dealing with the complexities of raising children at this point?  What’s the right blend of offering support and guidance without crossing the line into overparenting?

Lehay offers twelve chapters worth of ideas — all based on her experiences as a parent AND a middle and high school teacher.  (A graduate of the Law School at UNC-Chapel Hill, Lahey also writes for The Atlantic and The New York Times.  Maybe we should be getting advice from her parents!)

The Gift of Failure, it turns out, is a compelling companion piece to How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid For Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

Both make a solid case that our children will be better off if we park our helicopters and thr0w away the keys…


Links to further reading:

The Gift of Failure:

How to Raise an Adult:


Cannon School is a JrK – 12 independent school in Concord, North Carolina