Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar (TED Talk)

This talk shares Jennifer Senior’s thoughts on emotional ups and downs of being a parent. This touches on our YCISL framework where part of our objective is to deliver messages via proxy that are often filtered in direct parent-child communication.

Jennifer Senior introduces herself as the mother of a 6 year old. She advances thoughts specifically about feelings of anxiety that overcome parents. It is unfortunate that she positions this situation as a crisis – signs of a fixed mindset as opposed to a growth mindset. With a growth mindset, she might perceive the situation from a more positive standpoint. Consequently, she might understand that this is a learning experience and with a love for life-long learning, she will find intrinsic motivation (remember Daniel Pink’s mastery, autonomy and purpose?) which might make this responsibility less inconvenient.

There is no single correct interpretation of this situation. I am confident approximately half of ALL parents (regardless of class, culture and means) feel that they are in varying degrees of a crisis or close to it – the cohort that this speaker has identified. But that is to say that there is another half that is finding sensibility, fulfillment and unparalleled joy, and want more! Having and raising children is the ultimate life experience, and one should not expect a categorically unified experience for all parents. There is no comparison to the “stress” level of non-parents – an apple and oranges comparison.

To borrow a thought from another TED Talk title “Should you live for your résumé … or your eulogy?” by David Brooks: parenting should not be judged by day-to-day results but the outcome with which the parent will be remembered. It is the long-term effect of communication and active listening that makes parenting so vital and distinctive. We emphasize this through our YCISL program. Parenting is a leadership role where KI + EI = LI is as relevant as anywhere else.

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