playlist

Advice to help you be a great parent

Kids don't come with a manual, and parents don't get grades to affirm they're doing things right. These talks speak to the complexities of parenthood, offering unusual insights and hard-won advice.

  1. 18:11
    Jennifer Senior For parents, happiness is a very high bar

    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, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

  2. 18:00
    Bruce Feiler Agile programming — for your family

    Bruce Feiler has a radical idea: To deal with the stress of modern family life, go agile. Inspired by agile software programming, Feiler introduces family practices which encourage flexibility, bottom-up idea flow, constant feedback and accountability. One surprising feature: Kids pick their own punishments.

  3. 23:27
    Andrew Solomon Love, no matter what

    What is it like to raise a child who's different from you in some fundamental way (like a prodigy, or a differently abled kid, or a criminal)? In this quietly moving talk, writer Andrew Solomon shares what he learned from talking to dozens of parents — asking them: What's the line between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance?

  4. 12:39
    Reshma Saujani Teach girls bravery, not perfection

    We're raising our girls to be perfect, and we're raising our boys to be brave, says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program — two skills they need to move society forward. To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she says. "I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection."

  5. 14:16
    Julie Lythcott-Haims 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. At least, that's how Julie Lythcott-Haims sees it. With passion and wry humor, the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford 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.

  6. 13:44
    LB Hannahs What it's like to be a transgender dad

    LB Hannahs candidly shares the experience of parenting as a genderqueer individual — and what it can teach us about authenticity and advocacy. "Authenticity doesn't mean 'comfortable.' It means managing and negotiating the discomfort of everyday life," Hannahs says.

  7. 9:18
    Gever Tulley 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do

    At TED U, Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, spells out 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do — and why a little danger is good for both kids and grownups.

  8. 13:36
    Heather Lanier "Good" and "bad" are incomplete stories we tell ourselves

    Heather Lanier's daughter Fiona has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a genetic condition that results in developmental delays — but that doesn't make her tragic, angelic or any of the other stereotypes about kids like her. In this talk about the beautiful, complicated, joyful and hard journey of raising a rare girl, Lanier questions our assumptions about what makes a life "good" or "bad," challenging us to stop fixating on solutions for whatever we deem not normal, and instead to take life as it comes.

  9. 7:09
    Carina Morillo To understand autism, don't look away

    Carina Morillo knew almost nothing about autism when her son Ivan was diagnosed — only that he didn't speak or respond to words, and that she had to find other ways to connect with him. She shares how she learned to help her son thrive by being curious along with him. (In Spanish with English subtitles)

  10. 6:17
    Roberto D'Angelo + Francesca Fedeli In our baby's illness, a life lesson

    Roberto D'Angelo and Francesca Fedeli thought their baby boy Mario was healthy — until at 10 days old, they discovered he'd had a perinatal stroke. With Mario unable to control the left side of his body, they grappled with tough questions: Would he be "normal?” Could he live a full life? The poignant story of parents facing their fears — and how they turned them around.

  11. 19:52
    Deb Roy The birth of a word

    MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language — so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

  12. 3:38
    Steven Addis A father-daughter bond, one photo at a time

    A long time ago in New York City, Steve Addis stood on a corner holding his 1-year-old daughter in his arms; his wife snapped a photo. The image has inspired an annual father-daughter ritual, where Addis and his daughter pose for the same picture, on the same corner, each year. Addis shares 15 treasured photographs from the series, and explores why this small, repeated ritual means so much.

  13. 17:08
    Rufus Griscom + Alisa Volkman Let's talk parenting taboos

    Babble.com publishers Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman, in a lively tag-team, expose 4 facts that parents never, ever admit — and why they should. Funny and honest, for parents and nonparents alike.

  14. 12:53
    Colin Stokes How movies teach manhood

    When Colin Stokes' 3-year-old son caught a glimpse of "Star Wars," he was instantly obsessed. But what messages did he absorb from the sci-fi classic? Stokes asks for more movies that send positive messages to boys: that cooperation is heroic, and respecting women is as manly as defeating the villain.

  15. 9:33
    Emilie Weight 3 things I learned from my intellectually disabled son

    As a mother with a son affected with Fragile X syndrome — a genetic disorder — Emilie Weight believes that a diagnosis of disability can create opportunity, not despair. Her son's differences compelled her to question her inner self and her role in the world. With this new mindset she discovered his true superhero qualities when she stopped treating him like a patient and started treating him like a partner, leading her to three essential tools for how to approach life.

  16. 5:16
    Julia Sweeney It's time for "The Talk"

    Despite her best efforts, comedian Julia Sweeney is forced to tell a little white lie when her 8-year-old begins learning about frog reproduction — and starts to ask some very smart questions.

  17. 20:33
    Bruce Feiler The council of dads

    Diagnosed with cancer, Bruce Feiler worried first about his young family. So — as he shares in this funny, rambling and ultimately thoughtful talk — he asked his closest friends to become a "council of dads," bringing their own lifetimes of wisdom to advise his twin daughters as they grow.