With the prevalence of helicopter parenting these days, it’s no surprise we’re seeing kids becoming much more dependent than independent — and let’s face it, we’re seeing more really tired parents. But it can be challenging for parents who are used to doing so much for our kids to take a step (or a bunch of steps) back and allow our kids some autonomy.

So how thrilled were we to welcome Jessica Lahey, columnist, educator, and author of The Gift of Failure to our Spawned with Kristen and Liz this week to discuss ways we might be inadvertently stifling our kids’ creativity and ability to succeed by doing too much for them.

Plus, Jessica solves our own parenting dilemmas, like delivering forgotten homework, correcting homework, helping with school project,  and much, much more.

You can listen to the episode right now on Soundcloud, or catch us on iTunes — and make sure to subscribe. Guarantee you’ll hear something from Jessica that will make you change one of your tactics for the better. It sure helped us.

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And… here are 3 tips from Jessica for how to get started on the path towards autonomy-focused parenting.

1. Start thinking more long term than short term. It’s easy to focus on the here and now, especially when that tantrum could so easily be quelled with just giving in, but think about the lessons your child will learn and take with them throughout life. A little crying now could save a whole lot of crying later on.

2. Let your child’s teacher know what you’re doing. If you’ve decided to take a few steps back and give your child some autonomy, keep your child’s teacher in the loop. This way, they can support what you’re doing at home, and they’ll understand why you didn’t drop off their homework when they forgot it.

3. Let your kids know that you’ve made a mistake. Kids learn by example, and so if they see that you’ve admitted your current ways of parenting have not been the best for them, they will come to understand that messing up and learning from those messes is just part of life.

Cool Picks of the Week

Jessica: The Boys in a Boat, a book the entire family will enjoy together.

Kristen: Fuller House. Can’t resist it!

Liz: Unicorn pooping rainbows. Not even joking.


For our entire chat about parenting self-reliant kids (seriously, it’s inspiring) listen to Spawned with Kristen and Liz on iTunes where you can even subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. And please, share Spawned with a friend!

If you have ideas to add, want to suggest a guest? We’d love to hear them in comments! Or you can catch us on Twitter (use the hashtag #spawnedshow) or email us with your comments or show ideas at spawned@mompicksprod.wpengine.com.