#553: Jessica Lahey on Parenting, Desirable Difficulties, The Gift of Failure, Self-Efficacy, and The Addiction Inoculation | The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss is not associated or affiliated with PodcastNotes in any way. All notes are independently created by PodcastNotes and do not imply any sponsorship or endorsement by, or affiliation with, Mr. Ferriss.

Check out The Tim Ferriss Show episode page

Key Takeaways

  • Make your life, your argument – People are very loud about their intentions and achievements, your life should really speak for itself
  • “Euphemisms make it really easy to gaslight kids…there is nothing worse than taking a kid, who is just figuring out the world, and telling them their perceptions are inaccurate” – Jessica Lahey
    • Don’t prop up hypocrisy with euphemisms as a parent. This can be extremely harmful to children’s self-efficacy.
      • “Just say no” is an ineffective script – you more than likely know that from personal experience
        • When educating children on drugs, use real data
        • Inoculation theory: When we give kids data that supports a rebuttal, they are more comfortable and likely to use that rebuttal
  • Overparenting negatively affects students motivation and learning ability
    • “You can’t teach cause and effect if you save [your children] from the effect” – Jessica Lahey
  • Discussing the origin of addiction is often more important than discussing rock bottom anecdotes
    • “We spend a lot of time talking about the last day, but what we really need to be talking about is the first day” – Jessica Lahey quoting Chris Harren
  • Having a rigid perspective of what it means to recover from addiction is not helpful
    • There is no one size-fits-all solution or concrete timeline to recovery
    • This advice is for both those going through recovery and those helping others through recovery

Intro

  • Jessica Lahey (@jesslahey) is an NYT Best-Selling author and teacher. Her teaching experience ranges from 6th through 12th grade at public and private schools, as well as at a drug and alcohol rehab facility for adolescents where 100% of her salary goes to a scholarship fund. Tim and Jessica discuss the negative returns of overparenting, wisdom on addiction recovery, and how teaching gives her hope.
  • Host: Tim Ferriss (@tferriss)

Key Books Mentioned

Teaching

  • “I decided to make my life my argument” – Nobel Peace Prize winner, Albert Schweitzer
    • People are very loud about their intentions and achievements, your life should really speak for itself
    • Jessica wants to model this to her students and children
  • Jessica has taught every grade from 6th to 12th in both public and private schools
    • 9th grade (freshman) is the most difficult – freshmen struggle to truly understand themselves; personal development makes it difficult to focus on school
      • Tim says there was always a possibility that he would teach 9th grade one day
        • “People who received good inputs went one direction and people who received bad inputs went another direction” – Tim Ferriss
        • Based on brain development and growth in emotional intelligence, good advice in 9th grade can truly influence your life’s direction
    • Middle school (6th-8th) is Jessica’s favorite – the learning moments are very natural

Jessica’s Family Addiction History

  • ‘Taking a nap’ was a euphemism in Jessica’s family for getting intoxicated
    • “Euphemisms make it really easy to gaslight kids…there is nothing worse than taking a kid, who is just figuring out the world, and telling them their perceptions are inaccurate” – Jessica Lahey
      • Extremely damaging to children’s self-efficacy
  • Jessica’s entire family had an alcohol problem; her father was an enabler and always avoided addressing the problem to avoid conflict
    • Jessica drank because of her anxiety, all of her family members did in some fashion
    • June 7th, 2013 – “I know what an alcoholic looks like and you’re an alcoholic and need help” – Jessica quoting her father
      • Her father sucked up his fear of conflict and let his love rise to the top
      • Jessica has been sober ever since

Addiction

  • “We spend a lot of time talking about the last day, but what we really need to be talking about is the first day” – Jessica Lahey quoting Chris Harren
    • Discussing the origin of addiction is often more important than discussing rock bottom anecdotes
    • Watch the full Chris Harren story in the film The First Day
  • Having a rigid perspective of what it means to recover from addiction is not helpful
    • There is no one size-fits-all solution or concrete timeline to recovery
      • There is no ‘right way’ to be sober
      • Jessica drinks non-alcoholic beer because that works for her
    • This advice is for both those going through recovery and those helping others through recovery
  • The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence by Jessica Lahey
    • “Just say no” is an ineffective script
      • Real data works: When a child gets offered a sip of alcohol under the presumption that everyone does it, they are likely to do it. If they knew that less than 25% of children before 8th grade have had a sip of alcohol, they will be more inclined to side with the majority.
      • Inoculation theory: When we give kids data that supports a rebuttal, they are more comfortable and likely to use that rebuttal

The Gift of Failure: Parenting

  • The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey
    • Overparenting negatively affects students motivation and learning ability
      • Overparenting is being ‘over-directive’ – giving every instructive step along the way
      • Children of over-directive parenting give up on problem-solving much quicker
    • Desirable difficulties – tasks accomplished at the fringe of capability are likely to be stored in long-term memory
    • Instilling high self-esteem in children at an early age can produce negative returns
      • Don’t tell your child they are the best at math if they are not
        • Competence > Confidence
        • Competence is confidence based on actual experience
    • Perfectionism leads to stalled progress and improper motivations
      • Jessica tells an anecdote of a student whose perfectionism led her to value the grade more than the lesson
      • Every skill is a learned skill, nobody starts perfectly on anything. Be objective and humble about your imperfections, take what you learn today into tomorrow.
    • “You can’t teach cause and effect if you save [your children] from the effect” – Jessica Lahey

Hope

Jessica’s Quotes and Billboard

  • Jessica’s Billboard: “Did you make someone feel seen or heard today?”
    • *Billboards are actually not allowed in Jessica’s home state, Vermont*
  • Jessica’s quotes that inspire her daily:
    • “Protect when you must, permit when you can” – Laurence Steinberg
  • “You could not step twice into the same rivers for other waters are ever flowing onto you” – Heraclitus, recommended by a former student
Tim Ferriss Show : , , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 25,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks