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5 TED Talks to Inspire, Move, and Motivate You as a Parent

5 TED Talks to Inspire, Move, and Motivate You as a Parent

Let’s face it – parenting is hard, and kids don’t exactly come with a handbook. Each parent is only trying to do what’s best for their child, and often with not much affirmation, which can make navigating each milestone tricky and unpredictable. The good news is that parents are not alone in their journey. Take a look at these 5 TED Talks that will inspire, move, and motivate you with out-of-the-box and well-thought advice.

1. For parents – happiness is a 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, Senior offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

2. How to raise successful kids – without overparenting

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.

3. 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.

4. 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?

5. Let’s talk parenting taboos 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.

Interested in more parenting advice? Check out the 4 ways to teach your child about responsible technology use in this blog post!

This post was originally published October 2019.'s picture
Elaine Ho
Elaine Ho studied Political Science and Education at the University of California, Berkeley and previously served in Americorps teaching and mentoring high school students. She is interested in connecting parents with the resources and information they need to help their children succeed. She also curates a free weekly newsletter called Beyond the Classroom, which collects the top need-to-know education news for parents.