Parents today have it rough. Don't overschedule your kids, they're told, but don't fail to nurture their passions. Beware helicopter parenting, but if your kid gets anything more than a scratch, you're a terrible mom. Be authoritative, but not authoritarian. Keep tech use within healthy bounds, but make sure your kids are ready to deal with a robot-filled future.
With all this advice bombarding parents day and night, raising kids these days can feel like walking a tightrope. Is there any solution (apart from plenty of wine)? The experts at TED might be able to help.
Over the years, many child development experts have graced the stage of the popular lecture series, offering parents advice on how to navigate this barrage of endless and seemingly contradictory advice. The TED Ideas blog just rounded up some of the best. If you're looking to stay sane while still raising happy, successful kids, check these out:
1. Bruce Feiler: Agile programming--for your family
When you're a parent, it feels like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, but remember, it's not all on you. "Enlist the children in their own upbringing," suggests Bruce Feiler, author of The Secrets of Happy Families, in the talk below. "Research backs this up: Children who plan their own goals, set weekly schedules, and evaluate their own work build up their frontal cortex and take more control over their lives."
2. Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar
Your chief goal is to raise a happy kid, right? Well cut that out, urges Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun, in this counterintuitive TED talk.
"In our desperate quest to create happy kids, we may be assuming the wrong moral burden. It strikes me as a better goal--and, dare I say, a more virtuous one--to focus on making productive kids and moral kids, and to simply hope that happiness will come to them by virtue of the good they do and the love that they feel from us," she argues.
3. Helen Pearson: Lessons from the longest study on human development
As parents, we're often obsessed with the big things--getting our children into the right school or college, providing them with the best, most enriching activities and experiences--but according to science, it's mostly the simple gestures you routinely make every day that matter the most for kids' success.
"Quite small things that parents do are associated with good outcomes for children--talking and listening to a child, responding to them warmly, teaching them their letters and numbers, taking them on trips and visits. Reading to children every day seems to be really important, too," explains Helen Pearson, author of The Life Project, in her TED talk.