Speaking to the World
Boston | Chicago | San Diego | Atlanta
Educator & Best-Selling Author of The Gift of Failure & The Addiction Inoculation, Recovery & Prevention Coach
Jessica Lahey is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed and The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Read More >
Over twenty years, Jess has taught every grade from sixth to twelfth in both public and private schools, and spent five years teaching in a drug and alcohol rehab for adolescents in Vermont, and serves as a prevention and recovery coach at Sana at Stowe, a medical detox and recovery center in Stowe, Vermont.
She writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, is a book critic for Air Mail, and her biweekly column “The Parent Teacher Conference” ran for three years at the New York Times. She designed and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ award-winning animated series The Stinky and Dirty Show, and was a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee for her Creative Nonfiction magazine essay, “I’ve Taught Monsters.”
Jess holds the dubious honor of having written an article that was later adapted as a writing prompt for the 2018 SAT. She co-hosts the #AmWriting podcast with bestselling authors KJ Dell’Antonia and Sarina Bowen, and lives in Vermont with her husband, two sons, and a lot of dogs. Read Less ^
The Gift of Failure
The Addiction Inoculation
Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence
Changing the Odds
Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
3 Ways to Get Intrinsic Motivation
Learning to Let Go
Letting Your Kids Make Their Own Mistakes
Modern parenting has become defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness. We all know parents who rush to school to deliver forgotten assignments, challenge teachers on disappointing report cards, mastermind their children’s friendships or interfere on the playing field. According to teacher and bestselling author, Jessica Lahey, this “overparenting” has the potential to both ruin children’s confidence and undermine their education. By letting go and allowing children to learn how to solve problems on their own, we give them the tools to grow up to be self-reliant, confident and successful adults. That’s the Gift of Failure. Jessica reminds us that teachers don’t just teach reading, writing or arithmetic. Like coaches and others who work with children, they also teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint and foresight — important life skills that shape stronger futures. In this powerful presentation that can be tailored to parents, educators, administrators, coaches, community members and students at all grade levels, Jessica Lahey champions failure as a crucial element of long-term success. She also provides indispensable advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, competitive sports and more.
Offering three different versions of this talk (for parents, educators and kids), Lahey helps make the statistics and research come alive, and includes personal anecdotes culled from over twenty years spent teaching, parenting, and mentoring kids. Read More >
Parent talk: Lahey offers an evidence-based exploration of what it means when experts proclaim, “Substance abuse is preventable.” She begins with an overview of why humans use and abuse substances, an explanation of why the adolescent brain is uniquely wired for novelty and the risk of substance use while being uniquely vulnerable to those substances in very specific ways. She will identify the major risk factors for substance abuse and explain what adults can do to overcome the weight of a given child's risk factors. Lahey offers an overview of the research as well as concrete, practical takeaways adults can use to change their thinking and behavior and begin preventing childhood substance use and abuse at home. Parents will leave Lahey’s talks feeling informed, challenged, empowered and entertained.
Educator talk: Substance abuse is preventable, and yet only 57 percent of schools in the United States offer substance abuse prevention programs. Of those 57 percent, only ten percent are based on evidence. Lahey believes can do so much better. Lahey will detail the research on substance abuse prevention and help teachers, counselors, and administration know what to look for in evidence based, effective substance abuse prevention programs that begin in early childhood and extend through high school and beyond. Educators will leave Lahey’s talks feeling informed, empowered and entertained.
Kid talk: Years of research on the existing substance abuse prevention programs reveal that scare tactic, “just say no” and punishment-oriented programs do not work. In fact, some of these programs actually increase the chances kids will try substances. Effective programs arm kids with real data about their brains and cognitive development the harm addictive substances can have on their developing brains and give them solid refusal skills based in inoculation theory. The more kids know about substance use, the more they can overcome the incomplete or false assumptions we all tend to harbor, such as the belief that “everyone is doing it,” and the belief that everyone else values and consumes more alcohol than they really do. Kids will leave Lahey’s talks feeling informed, empowered and entertained. Read Less ^
"Jessica was absolutely AMAZING! I really appreciated the time she took to meet with students prior to her presentation. She seemed genuinely concerned about helping everyone and shared may resources for students to reference."
"Things with Jessica went very, very well. We had a great turnout and sold out all of the books we had ordered. Feedback from our parent community has been great."
"Jessica’s presentation focused on teaching children the intrinsic value of resilience, perseverance and learning from a growth-oriented mindset. In essence, how to foster and promote their success within a supportive framework that discourages parents from over scheduling and hovering. It was a good reminder to us all that it’s okay for a child to experience small and reasonable failures. It’s all about “the getting up” when you’re knocked down. Jess is very articulate and persuasive and she was a joy to work with. We highly recommend her."
"She was fantastic!!! I love her message and her energy!! I received several emails this am from parents who just loved it!!"
"Jessica presented to be both the parent community at Severn School as well as the Middle School and Upper School students. The information she presented to parents was spot-on and very well received. Her discussion on the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation was a great foundation in which to understand ways parents could support their children to become more independent. She had a very nice way of giving parents ‘permission’ and reasons grounded in research to ‘back off’ as their children learn and grow with new responsibilities. Jessica is a speaker who is very relatable and connects easily with her audiences!"
"Jessica Lahey delivered a captivating keynote talk at LearnFest’17 about the importance of intrinsic motivation and its connection to student success. Jessica is an energetic storyteller who delivers powerful advice for teaching and raising resilient children. Her humorous delivery coupled with her experience as a classroom teacher delighted a diverse audience of teachers and parents."
"Jessica’s talk was engaging and spot-on, and the kind of thought-provoking content with which we are hoping to engage our parent and teacher audience. She was generous with her time both before and after the talk, answering questions for folks. She made it a special night for all!"
"Jessica gets middle school! At our recent parent event, Jessica did a wonderful job of connecting the realities of parenting a middle school child with the larger topic of resilience. The audience left with both specific strategies to try at home as well as a framework for understanding the true needs of adolescents. As a parent and an educator, we were impressed and grateful.”
"We cannot begin to overstate how powerful and timely her message was for our community. Since her talk, dozens of parents have approached us noting that Jessica was the “best speaker the school has ever had,” or “is there a way we could have her speak on an annual basis?” We can say without equivocation that this praise is spot on. Jessica is personable, incredibly easy to work with, and relates beautifully to a wide-ranging audience. We were blessed to have her speak to our community, and would highly recommend her!"
"Jessica spoke to a rapt audience of parents and teachers from our school as well as from the surrounding community. She explained pertinent research in clear and easily understood terms, and dispensed guidance and advice in a supportive and friendly manner. Everyone left with at least one new skill to apply in their classrooms or around the dinner table at homework time. Jessica’s anecdotes about her own experiences as a mother and teacher were not only entertaining; they made us feel that we were benefiting from the wisdom of a trusted friend. We highly recommend her for your school community, and are looking forward to reading her book!"
Email Your List
You’ve reached your maximum number of speakers for this list.
Email Your List