12 TED Talks Every Parent Should Watch

by Joelle Wisler

I love TED Talks. Maybe in an unhealthy-obsession kind of way. TED Talks describes itself as being “devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks.” You can find inspiration for just about anything on there, from creativity to body language to motivation, and even for orgasms (seriously watch this last one). And yes, there are TED Talks for parents, most of which have me crying within a few minutes because they usually say something profound that I’ve never thought of before and it touches that sensitive mama heart of mine.

We want to do the best by our kids, right? We want to be good parents, and we especially don’t want to put assholes out into the world. I swear by the internet gods that the wisdom of TED Talks can help us do these things.

However, mining through the really good ones can be daunting, so I’ve done the work for you. Here are a few of my very favorite TED Talks for parents:

1. Julie Lythcott-Haims, “How to Raise Successful Kids — Without Over-Parenting”

Lythcott-Haims shares some brilliant yet simple solutions to avoid what she calls the “check-listed childhood.” Find out some of the specific questions you could be asking your kids when they come home from school to make deeper connections.

Julie Lythcott-Haims: How to raise successful kids -- without over-parenting

2. Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”

Grit: It’s been found to be one of the biggest predictors of success. How can we teach our kids this skill?

Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit: The power of passion and perseverance

3. Temple Grandin, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds”

I love Temple Grandin. If you don’t know about her, watch the movie, Temple Grandin, or watch this TED Talk. She has lived her amazing life harnessing the uniqueness of her autism, and she let’s us know how important different brains are for our world.

Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds

4. Gever Tulley, “5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do”

Here’s a guy who puts power tools in the hands of second-graders, and this TED Talk explains why he thinks this a fabulous idea. Listening to this actually changed the way I parent, and it hasn’t scarred my kids yet.

Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do

5. Jennifer Senior, “For Parents, Happiness Is a Very High Bar”

Have you ever felt anxious or overwhelmed about the act of parenting? Does the parenting bookshelf at the book store give you heart palpitations? Find out what Jennifer believes is a better goal, for us as parents, than making our children happy.

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

6. Shane Koyczan, “To This Day…For the Bullied and Beautiful”

His words are magical — for any kids or parents out there who have ever felt different.

Shane Koyczan: To This Day ... for the bullied and beautiful

7. Emma Marris, “Nature Is Everywhere — We Just Need to Learn to See It”

Why teaching our children about nature and exposing them to it might be the most important thing we can do as parents.

Emma Marris: Nature is everywhere -- we just need to learn to see it

8. Jedidah Isler, “The Untapped Genius That Could Change Science for the Better”

What is it like to be an astrophysicist who also happens to be a black woman? Isler talks about intersectionality and why it’s important for us and our children to understand. She says, “Do not think for one minute that because you are who you are, you cannot be who you imagine yourself to be.”

Jedidah Isler: The untapped genius that could change science for the better

9. Ramsey Musallam, “3 Rules to Spark Learning”

This thing is only a little over six minutes long and has been watched over two million times. It’s well worth a watch.

Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning

10. Astro Teller, “The Unexpected Benefit of Celebrating Failure”

Failure is good. Teller talks about how people need to fail to make the greatest strides in this world. We should teach our kids that failure in life is vital.

Astro Teller: The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure

11. Andi Puddicombe, “All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes”

He asks, “When was the last time you did nothing for 10 minutes?” He explains why this is so critical for all of us as humans.

Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

12. Robert Waldinger, “What Makes a Good Life? Lessons From the Longest Study on Happiness”

Discover what scientists found to be the No. 1 predictor of happiness from following 724 men over 75 years. I’ll give you a hint: It’s not wealth or fame.

Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

I expect that I’ve now made TED Talk addicts out of you all, and I’m not sorry. Thinking is good and hearing stories from the experts is even better. Feeling sad? There’s a TED Talk for that. Feeling uninspired? There’s about 20 for that. Feeling like a bad parent? Learn little tips and tricks on how to be a better one. And never stop being curious.