Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar

Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar

When I was born, there was really only one book about how to raise your children, and it was written by Dr. Spock. (Laughter) Thank you for indulging me. I have always wanted to do that. No, it was Benjamin Spock, and his book was called “The Common
Sense Book of Baby And Child Care.” It sold almost 50 million copies
by the time he died. Today, I, as the mother of a six-year-old, walk into Barnes and Noble, and see this. And it is amazing the variety that one finds
on those shelves. There are guides to raising
an eco-friendly kid, a gluten-free kid, a disease-proof kid, which, if you ask me, is a little bit creepy. There are guides to raising a bilingual kid even if you only speak one language at home. There are guides to raising a financially savvy kid and a science-minded kid and a kid who is a whiz at yoga. Short of teaching your toddler how to defuse a nuclear bomb, there is pretty much a guide to everything. All of these books are well-intentioned. I am sure that many of them are great. But taken together, I am sorry, I do not see help when I look at that shelf. I see anxiety. I see a giant candy-colored monument to our collective panic, and it makes me want to know, why is it that raising our children is associated with so much anguish and so much confusion? Why is it that we are at sixes and sevens about the one thing human beings have been doing successfully for millennia, long before parenting message boards and peer-reviewed studies came along? Why is it that so many mothers and fathers experience parenthood as a kind of crisis? Crisis might seem like a strong word, but there is data suggesting it probably isn’t. There was, in fact, a paper of just this very name, “Parenthood as Crisis,” published in 1957, and in the 50-plus years since, there has been plenty of scholarship documenting a pretty clear pattern of parental anguish. Parents experience more stress than non-parents. Their marital satisfaction is lower. There have been a number of studies looking at how parents feel when they are spending time with their kids, and the answer often is, not so great. Last year, I spoke with a researcher named Matthew Killingsworth who is doing a very, very imaginative project that tracks people’s happiness, and here is what he told me he found: “Interacting with your friends is better than interacting with your spouse, which is better than interacting with other relatives, which is better than interacting with acquaintances, which is better than interacting with parents, which is better than interacting with children. Who are on par with strangers.” (Laughter) But here’s the thing. I have been looking at what underlies these data for three years, and children are not the problem. Something about parenting right now at this moment is the problem. Specifically, I don’t think we know what parenting is supposed to be. Parent, as a verb, only entered common usage in 1970. Our roles as mothers and fathers have changed. The roles of our children have changed. We are all now furiously improvising our way through a situation for which there is no script, and if you’re an amazing jazz musician, then improv is great, but for the rest of us, it can kind of feel like a crisis. So how did we get here? How is it that we are all now navigating a child-rearing universe without any norms to guide us? Well, for starters, there has been a major historical change. Until fairly recently, kids worked, on our farms primarily, but also in factories, mills, mines. Kids were considered economic assets. Sometime during the Progressive Era, we put an end to this arrangement. We recognized kids had rights, we banned child labor, we focused on education instead, and school became a child’s new work. And thank God it did. But that only made a parent’s role more confusing in a way. The old arrangement might not have been particularly ethical, but it was reciprocal. We provided food, clothing, shelter, and moral instruction to our kids, and they in return provided income. Once kids stopped working, the economics of parenting changed. Kids became, in the words of one brilliant if totally ruthless sociologist, “economically worthless but emotionally priceless.” Rather than them working for us, we began to work for them, because within only a matter of decades it became clear: if we wanted our kids to succeed, school was not enough. Today, extracurricular activities are a kid’s new work, but that’s work for us too, because we are the ones
driving them to soccer practice. Massive piles of homework are a kid’s new work, but that’s also work for us, because we have to check it. About three years ago, a Texas woman told something to me that totally broke my heart. She said, almost casually, “Homework is the new dinner.” The middle class now pours all of its time and energy and resources into its kids, even though the middle class has less and less of those things to give. Mothers now spend more time with their children than they did in 1965, when most women were not even in the workforce. It would probably be easier for parents to do their new roles if they knew what they were preparing their kids for. This is yet another thing that
makes modern parenting so very confounding. We have no clue what portion our wisdom, if any, is of use to our kids. The world is changing so rapidly, it’s impossible to say. This was true even when I was young. When I was a kid, high school specifically, I was told that I would be at sea in the new global economy if I did not know Japanese. And with all due respect to the Japanese, it didn’t turn out that way. Now there is a certain kind of middle-class parent that is obsessed with teaching their kids Mandarin, and maybe they’re onto something, but we cannot know for sure. So, absent being able to anticipate the future, what we all do, as good parents, is try and prepare our kids for every possible kind of future, hoping that just one of our efforts will pay off. We teach our kids chess, thinking maybe they will need analytical skills. We sign them up for team sports, thinking maybe they will need collaborative skills, you know, for when they go
to Harvard Business School. We try and teach them to be financially savvy and science-minded and eco-friendly and gluten-free, though now is probably a good time to tell you that I was not eco-friendly and gluten-free as a child. I ate jars of pureed macaroni and beef. And you know what? I’m doing okay. I pay my taxes. I hold down a steady job. I was even invited to speak at TED. But the presumption now is that what was good enough for me,
or for my folks for that matter, isn’t good enough anymore. So we all make a mad dash to that bookshelf, because we feel like if we aren’t trying everything, it’s as if we’re doing nothing and we’re defaulting on our obligations to our kids. So it’s hard enough to navigate our new roles as mothers and fathers. Now add to this problem something else: we are also navigating new roles as husbands and wives because most women today are in the workforce. This is another reason, I think, that parenthood feels like a crisis. We have no rules, no scripts, no norms for what to do when a child comes along now that both mom and dad are breadwinners. The writer Michael Lewis once put this very, very well. He said that the surest way for a couple to start fighting is for them to go out to dinner with another couple whose division of labor is ever so slightly different from theirs, because the conversation in
the car on the way home goes something like this: “So, did you catch that Dave is the one who walks them to school every morning?” (Laughter) Without scripts telling us who does what in this brave new world, couples fight, and both mothers and fathers each have their legitimate gripes. Mothers are much more likely to be multi-tasking when they are at home, and fathers, when they are at home, are much more likely to be mono-tasking. Find a guy at home, and odds are he is doing just one thing at a time. In fact, UCLA recently did a study looking at the most common configuration of family members in middle-class homes. Guess what it was? Dad in a room by himself. According to the American Time Use Survey, mothers still do twice as much childcare as fathers, which is better than it was in Erma Bombeck’s day, but I still think that something she wrote is highly relevant: “I have not been alone in the
bathroom since October.” (Laughter) But here is the thing: Men are doing plenty. They spend more time with their kids than their fathers ever spent with them. They work more paid hours, on average, than their wives, and they genuinely want to be good, involved dads. Today, it is fathers, not mothers, who report the most work-life conflict. Either way, by the way, if you think it’s hard for traditional families to sort out these new roles, just imagine what it’s like now for non-traditional families: families with two dads, families with two moms, single-parent households. They are truly improvising as they go. Now, in a more progressive country, and forgive me here for capitulating to cliché and invoking, yes, Sweden, parents could rely on the state for support. There are countries that acknowledge the anxieties and the changing roles of mothers and fathers. Unfortunately, the United States is not one of them, so in case you were wondering what the U.S. has in common with Papua New Guinea and Liberia, it’s this: We too have no paid maternity leave policy. We are one of eight known countries that does not. In this age of intense confusion, there is just one goal upon which all parents can agree, and that is whether they are tiger moms or hippie moms, helicopters or drones, our kids’ happiness is paramount. That is what it means to raise kids in an age when they are economically worthless but emotionally priceless. We are all the custodians of their self-esteem. The one mantra no parent ever questions is, “All I want is for my children to be happy.” And don’t get me wrong: I think happiness is a wonderful goal for a child. But it is a very elusive one. Happiness and self-confidence, teaching children that is not like teaching them how to plow a field. It’s not like teaching them how to ride a bike. There’s no curriculum for it. Happiness and self-confidence can
be the byproducts of other things, but they cannot really be goals unto themselves. A child’s happiness is a very unfair burden to place on a parent. And happiness is an even more unfair burden to place on a kid. And I have to tell you, I think it leads to some very strange excesses. We are now so anxious to protect our kids from the world’s ugliness that we now shield them from “Sesame Street.” I wish I could say I was kidding about this, but if you go out and you buy the first few episodes of “Sesame Street” on DVD, as I did out of nostalgia, you will find a warning at the beginning saying that the content is not suitable for children. (Laughter) Can I just repeat that? The content of the original “Sesame Street” is not suitable for children. When asked about this by The New York Times, a producer for the show gave
a variety of explanations. One was that Cookie Monster smoked a pipe in one skit and then swallowed it. Bad modeling. I don’t know. But the thing that stuck with me is she said that she didn’t know whether Oscar the Grouch could be invented today because he was too depressive. I cannot tell you how much this distresses me. (Laughter) You are looking at a woman who has a periodic table of the Muppets hanging from her cubicle wall. The offending muppet, right there. That’s my son the day he was born. I was high as a kite on morphine. I had had an unexpected C-section. But even in my opiate haze, I managed to have one very clear thought the first time I held him. I whispered it into his ear. I said, “I will try so hard not to hurt you.” It was the Hippocratic Oath, and I didn’t even know I was saying it. But it occurs to me now that the Hippocratic Oath is a much more realistic aim than happiness. In fact, as any parent will tell you, it’s awfully hard. All of us have said or done hurtful things that we wish to God we could take back. I think in another era we did not expect quite so much from ourselves, and it is important that we all remember that the next time we are staring with our hearts racing at those bookshelves. I’m not really sure how to create new norms for this world, but I do think that in our desperate quest to create happy kids, we may be assuming the wrong moral burden. It strikes me as a better goal, and, dare I say, a more virtuous one, to focus on making productive kids and moral kids, and to simply hope that happiness will come to them by virtue of the good that they do and their accomplishments and the love that they feel from us. That, anyway, is one response to having no script. Absent having new scripts, we just follow the oldest ones in the book — decency, a work ethic, love — and let happiness and self-esteem
take care of themselves. I think if we all did that, the kids would still be all right, and so would their parents, possibly in both cases even better. Thank you. (Applause)

99 thoughts on “Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar

  1. Actually, the word Parent began as a verb. Parent comes from the Latin word parens, parentis which is the parent participle of the verb pario, parere which means "to bring forth, produce, bear, acquire, procure, spawn, beget, give birth, etc."

  2. Stopped watching after 2 minutes because 2 out of 3 of her jokes bombed and the other joke only worked because she made it painfully obvious the crowd was suppose to laugh by putting up a picture of spok

  3. raising child is what humanity did successfully ?? SUCCESSFULLY !??? WHAT!? c'mon, do you think that the earth population is successful while people in your own country are homeless and other gets to roll in a Ferrari ?
    And I'm not even considering the stupid patriotism or NRA dumb&dumbers!
    sorry TED, this one is pointless and wrong.

  4. It's nice to have my country held out as a positive example, but I have to add that despite our progressive state sponsored parenthood, Swedish mothers choose to have less kids than US mothers on average. This may of course have to do with other factors, such as less pressure on women to become mothers, and better access to and less taboo on contraceptives.

  5. In the attempt to parent their children most parents just end up projecting their own failings on to the child, and end up creating what they set out to avoid. Just leave the children alone.. give them some outdoor green space to play in or a sandbox. Revising the education system should also be a priority, it causes just as much damage as a broken home does.

  6. Great talk and for those calling for more "science" talks, sociology IS a science and it's becoming increasingly more important.

  7. the problem is treating your children like children. i dont force my wife to learn Mandarin; you should treat your children with at least as much honor and respect. 

  8. I can't believe that her conclusion, after having slammed giving too much advice about parenting, was to give advice about parenting.  How about telling people to just ignore ALL advice and stop ignoring your child.
    And of course she managed to blame all of America's problems on a lack of Socialism…  Thanks RED TED…

  9. The problem is not so much parenting, but the government taking control of your kids for 8 hours a day for 18 years. In society, humans are the fundamental crop. If you mold the child's brain, the child's beliefs, you can own that child for the rest of his or her life. That's why a parent can be thrown behind bars for not sending their child to schoo. Food for thought.

  10. Over population of the world, along with a failing economy = higher not lower competition.

    Her assumptions that if it worked for me, it should work for today's children, is a false comparison, not taking into account the relative higher competition.

    It is a well known fact of all complicated skills, the younger you start the better you are at older ages. Chess grandmasters start at age 5 learning the game and studying hours every day. This competition for paid work will require each kid to be like the tree that must grow taller to get any sun or payment at all. Like a forest of trees competing for sunlight, our kids will have to work harder, not be lazy, just so they are not sitting in someone else's shadow who did work hard.

  11. That's wonderful that you can eat Gluten and be just fine. My wife and both sons cannot have Gluten due to having celiac disease. My apologies for not having a medically perfect family.

  12. Good talk. Interesting thoughts. Well delivered. I agree with her. Parents should concentrate on raising decent, hard working kids who will grow up and be good human beings. Their happiness and self esteem will take care of itself.

  13. Studies have clearly shown that multi-taking does not exist – not for men, not for women. You can combine some work combinations at the same time like it seems you do two things but be sure one will not be done well. Ever driven behind someone who is on the phone in his/her car? Well that says enough, in fact so much that calling in a car should be forbidden, even hands-free you see that their attention is gone, speed slowing, no focus on the road, irregular reactions and in fact in very harsh traffic conditions this is asking for trouble.

  14. "Why do parents experience parenthood as a kind of crisis?" Because parents nowadays are lazy, don't teach work ethic, and allow their children to sit in front of the Computer or XBox all day long. Then get mad when their children don't perform. Wait, I'm sitting in front of a computer right now….

  15. The way this woman presents herself is genuinely painful to watch. She thinks she's so quirky and 'in-touch with the audience'. Maybe you're in-touch with your ego-eccentric American live audience, but internationally sweetheart, you are fucking repulsive.

  16. Do no harm means – don't yell, don't insult, don't neglect, don't spank, don't stress & worry, don't be overprotective, don't set a bad example, and definitely don't send them to a traumatic brainwashing institution like school and church. Yet so few people are capable of avoiding these things, because they aren't fixing themselves before they procreate. Anxious, dysfunctional parents raise anxious, dysfunctional children. Happy, mentally healthy parents raise happy, mentally healthy children.

  17. Children are the last refuge of a loser. It transmutes motivation & desire for success onto the offspring. Just my opinion.

  18. This talk had a lot of interesting information in it. Although, I have to say, she seems to be talking about one specific kind of parent that I'm familiar with, and, no offense, thankful I didn't have. The kind of parent that chooses goals for their kids. From what I've seen the kids of those parents end up being the least happy. In my opinion, it's better to teach your kids to be self-motivated and help them with the goals they choose. After all, that's what we do as adults, so why not prepare them for that, rather than give them stress issues and over-dramatized fears of failure?

    By the way, my parents never checked my homework. I thought it was weird when she mentioned that. o.O

  19. Any kid is much happier than any adult. In order to feel a bit of happiness we need sex, drugs, alcohol, cars and other expensive stuff. In contrast children are happy with just cheap toys or even without any reason. So children happines is not a paramount it's  just a normal state of childhood.

  20. It's considered a crisis because there isn't enough data to reach any certain conclusions. Doctors say one thing one decade and then that's proven wrong in the next. Parenting, as a scientific field, it's still very primitive. So, yeah, if I were a parent, I would be concerned whether I was doing a good job. The "humans have been doing it for millennia" is an insultingly idiotic argument.

  21. I feel like having children is just an expectation we have of people that shouldn't really be in place. Nobody really knows how to parent children, and there are many people that just simply shouldn't be parents in the first place. Good lecture. Media makes happiness seem like it's such a simple thing.

  22. Here is what I KNOW. Kids don't need to BE a project – they need to be PART of a project. Then you fix the issues you can in the context of going somewhere together. This is good, because when you don't move or are too preoccupied with your own navel, or when the child does not – the project still moves you all. You don't change the care. You don't become less attentive. You still follow up. But you shift the focus from what we are to where we are going. And that is important when shit breaks down – and it will.

    That project used to be working the farm or whatever craft or family thing. The question now is – what is essentially meaningful enough to keep us all moving in the same general direction, if in different ways and tempos?

    If its not real – kids don't buy it. They know where your real attention is.  And if you focus on the shit without focusing on where we are going at the same time, and without asserting that aspect, chances are the shit is just gonna spread out laterally from the static centre. 

    For the avid reader ;o):

    The most attentive kid I ever saw was a 4 year old son of an Indonesian Fisherman. Alone in the boat in the shallow end of the island boat channel, he was rolling up his dads tuna line on a handcrafted wheel. Perfectly at peace, perfectly concentrated, doing a job that most would not give a 4-yearold, if they needed it done right, in a situation that would probably scare many parents. It was deeply meaningful to him – his entire being was set on doing it right, on helping his father out. As he had learned. Catching the fish, he knew they all survived on. When a small ripple caught the boat and he dropped the rig in the shallows he cried inconsolably. Not for the (apparent) loss, not for fear of consequence, but in frustration that he did not succeed. Not like a kid with a broken toy. Like a contributor. Like someone with identity, someone who belonged, someone part of something important. When dad returned from the boat shed, a few minutes after – he just picked up the line and his kid, and they sat down, in the quiet, unperturbed, way of so many Indonesians I know, to fix the line. The was the comfort. All the love implicit, all the emotions set free by not having to be the all-important centre of attention. It was not about removing crying and installing happiness. It was about doing together. About going somewhere. About being needed. For real. Needless to say that investment would pay off in the years to come. But it was not even that strategical of a parenting measure. It was just life unfolding according to its own momentum.

    Not glamorizing the merciless life of a local tuna fisherman, this made me think how the price of the industrial society truly is the fragmentation of integrated life processes. The one redeeming thing about this village was that all of life was there, integrated in the natural behaviours of everyday life. You did not have to go anywhere to meet friends or family – you worked with them, on the common project of survival and community building. You can question the values of any community of course but no community is as bad as bad community. And no community is what the global north is increasingly about. And so you produce parent and kids with no valid center outside themselves. Nothing to be a part of, nothing to be moved by, nothing to lean on. Just avenues of exploration pointing back to you and you and you. And should you fail in happiness – we all know who must consequently be to blame – You. I firmly believe that the only way to cushion the impact of modernity is creating better opportunities for more integrated life styles.

  23. its not that complicated. and she makes it seem so. 
    we need to HELP heal the earth from all the damage we have been doing.
    we need to focus on becoming "ONE" doing good on to others and yourself.

    do i really need to go on? …really

  24. "Grew up with a jar of mac and beef" "and I'm doing alright" The ingredients in your food as a child from then to now has changed dramatically so maybe that comment is not so good as that is a TED talk of a different subject all together…. but as a fellow parent its nice to see people giving us a helping hand and putting our hard work out there…

  25. The way I see parenting: they bear my genes, I just want them to fuck as many girls as possible, or bear as many kids as possible. Don't give a flying fuck about their GPA or career. I just want to have my genes everywhere around this globe.

    I'll start a fucking dynasty. Who needs parenting? That shit is gay.

  26. Jennifer, as the father of two fully grown, good and decent human beings, who followed their dreams and are experiencing great joy in their lives, I mean you no disrespect, but you are not ready to be giving people child rearing advice. "You do not know what you do not know".

  27. She made some interesting points and I agree that holding yourself responsible for another person's happiness is an unreasonable and possibly self-defeating goal. However, I disagree that the lack of norms or a 'script' is a primary cause for parents feeling overwhelmed and unhappy. In fact, I think trying to manage a family according to a script is part of the problem.  Parents need to talk to their kids and think about their own feelings rather than planning everything according to an idea of how families are 'supposed to be'.

  28. The average parent or 7.45 out of 10 parents would rather have beauty than brains because the average man or woman can see clearer than he or she can think.

  29. She does have some good points, but I have a comment. She says that even though she ate unhealthy as a child she turned out fine, and while that may be true of most people, we should be glad of new research of nutrition, because many people have suffered from a poor diet if they were over-sensitive to certain foods. So these self-help books are a good thing if used right and not in a hysterical way.

  30. But if parenting is the one thing which humans have been doing 'successfully' – why is it that there is so much unhappiness and resentment on our planet?
    Clearly parent need to be psycho-educated on crucial topics. 

  31. I would hardly say that parents have been doing "just fine" all of human history. While humanity is slowly improving, in some parts of the world, all of human history has been plagued with all sorts of societal ills. I don't think that merely having some of your offspring survive should constitute the main criteria for "good parenting".

  32. can't stop asking myself; why do Americans have a need to "act" when they're talking?? Too much tv? Too much movies? 

  33. I had to pause, But I think there should be a type of parenting training the comes before having a child. Im not saying you should become a teacher, however some form of teaching should be a prerequisite. Granted, one can do with their body what they want, however once a new life is created and is autonomous, one has to embrace the fact that you have no control, only contributed guidance.  

  34. Anxiety:  Crap, PEE, throw-up, milk, fluids of many dimensions, on everything you own.  BTW: never buy stuff like furniture from nice looking sub-divisions.  They all have the aforementioned on/in them.

  35. This is the only book you need for parenting:

  36. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I started crying toward the end of your TED talk, just feeling like I understand and feel relieved. I have 3 kids and I'm pregnant with my fourth and I'm always worried and hoping my kids will be happy and wondering if I'm doing enough. of course I never feel like I am doing enough. maybe if we just keep it simple life would work out better and not be so scary and stressful. 

  37. Thankful to divine guidance into Jessica's research, it may not be all encompassing but it is enough to foster hope as well as direction for the next leg of my own parental journey…Adolescence (11yr old daughter) n Adolescent Teen years (14 year old son) at the same time. God is with us.

  38. This is the WORST TED Talk I have EVER seen. This woman contributes NOTHING. She just wasted 18 minutes of my life with nonsense and drivel. I just kept waiting for the substance and all I got was BS. Who's next on the TED stage, Ann Coulter? Get it together, TED. 

  39. If parents became more involved with their children's development and not let the school system take so much control it would probably lead to less anxiety. For example, I had a great time teaching my child fun ways to read and as a result we had fun creating the books Catch the Cat and The Hat in That.  Let homework become fun work, and do fun learning activities with our children. This turns anxiety into fun and further bonding.

  40. One thing I am not quite understanding of is when she says to teach children "good work ethic". What's her definition of "work"? I worry that it involves bending passively to the will of anyone who is hierarchically above us.

    On a positive note, it was interesting to me to be reminded that children worked during their "childhoods".

  41. I find it sickening that you are trying to lower the bar of parenting expectations. They absolutely include your child's happiness. Maybe you are just not cut out to be a parent.

  42. It is possible! Joy, happiness, love. It's all their. Doing what's right. Not what society thinks that is right. And your children will be abundantly happy. Our son is 🙂 And so are we 🙂 Love and peace to all of you.

  43. Love some of these questions and ideas and sad re some of the statistics…..really makes you think.
    Parenting is tough, yes, improvising without a script is what we do.

  44. why? simple answer, because it is an "industry"…just like so many others geared towards the "self-help" market…first they make you feel inept and then they feed you the books, self-guide book – , "that you are made to feel you need". Again. Simple. You create a "niche"…and then "you fill the niche". First you plant the seed of "ineptness" in whatever field and then you provide the great answer…when all along the answer has been there …but you just weren't – attentive enough-, smart enough -, to see it but had the money to buy the books. Think, what you need to parent is what you learnt from your parents and grandparents, your extended family (very simple, take away what did not work for you, what you liked and did not like, what you wished they had done and what you wish they hadn't done, and I bet you have got the formula…). I followed these principes and I have raised a wonderful child. By this I mean, I have raised a child who grew up to be an awesome human being and all I mean by that is that she is kind, considerate, generous, respectful and trying to be happy in what she does everyday! Mission accomplished. And yes, I was never arrogant to dismiss the advice I got from other mothers, I was always willing to listen to what they said to me because their experience (mixed with my own ,intuition) meant the world to me, whenever I heard a mother gving me avdice, I always remembered "who knows best?" the answer, as we all know is "Mother knows best". Namastee. Love you my sweet Kate.

  45. This video is so insightful that you will learn a whole lot watching it. Thanks for sharing this heartbreaking and very inspiring talk.

  46. Me parece un vídeo muy interesante, nos muestra una realidad relacionada con nuestro afán de que nuestros hijos realicen actividades y tengan conocimientos que a nosotros no se nos dio la posibilidad de tener los estamos en muchos casos sobre cargando de actividades extra curriculares.

  47. the reason parents are so anxious may be the awareness of the butterfly effect, knowing that a small issue with you kid at age 3 may imprint a psychological issue for his whole life.

  48. I hate motherhood, i hate my post pregnancy body, i hate the sound of my kids whining and crying, i look at them and wish i had a time machine, i would have never gotten married or had kids…. I'd be free as a bird with mo ties! I fantasize about divorcing my wonderful husband just to split up custody

  49. Linked is a website that allows parents to share the importance of ethics and ethical behavior to their children. Instilling morals and values is best at an early age. We help raise and produce the next generation.
    Check out the link if you are interested.

    Spread the hope !!

  50. I think only mums can understand what her speech ment. In our effort to raise happy kids we are really hard with ourselves, perfect parents dont exist! We have to be proud for trying to do our best for them.

  51. Am I the only one who is confused by this talk? She went through 18 minutes without actually saying ANYTHING that supports her idea? First she suggests that gender roles are important, then she says that men need to do more, then she says they need to do less…. what is going on in this talk? Walked away from this feeling so dissatisfied.

  52. I appreciate how she starts to cry , I wish more was said about single parents. Oh well guess I need to give my own TED Talk

  53. When I was in a very secluded village in Honduras I noticed that the families for the most part were very emotionally healthy. The adults seemed to be very emotionally stable and the whole community treated all of the kids as their own. My husband is from there and I didn't believe in functional families until I met his gigantic family. I learned that one problem is we have a lack of help and community in America that is essential to parenting.

  54. Amazing talk! All the things she described are major reasons I'm not having kids. It's a nasty dangerous world and I know I'd just tear myself apart trying to keep them from harm: racism, bigotry, unemployment, depression, anxiety, etc. The sheer amount of schoolwork and responsibility that I had dumped on me was frightening and it's only getting worse. The prospect of having to go back to help a kid navigate through it all again is just too much…

  55. This is the most distasteful talk I've ever seen on TED. The speakers attitude is condescending and dripping with negativity.

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