One of the hardest and scariest parts of parenting is learning how to navigate substance abuse and dependency within our kids.

Of course we don’t want our kids to use drugs or alcohol- and we know we can’t control them. 

So in a society with rising dependency on harmful substances, how can we help our children stay safe and make conscious choices?

Joining me for this conversation is Jessica Lahey, 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. 

We cover:

  • [3:05] How Jessica came to write her new book
  • [5:50] Using authoritative parenting styles to help kids not develop substance abuse problems
  • [12:20] The important role connection to parents plays in kids growing up
  • [15:30] Jessica’s perspective on giving children alcohol at home
  • [20:35] Where the ‘inoculation’ theory comes from
  • [29:05] Risk factors for teens
  • [34:35] How to handle if your kids ask if you’ve done drugs or alcohol
  • [39:35] The dopamine risk 
  • [44:20] Post-pandemic statistics on drug and alcohol abuse
  • [46:05] How Jessica chose to raise her kids differently 
  • [48:20] Jessica’s advice to her younger parent self

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, a medical detox and recovery center in Stowe, Vermont. She has written about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, 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. 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 from her empty nest in Vermont.

Download the episode transcript HERE

Resources mentioned in this episode  

Connect with Jessica Lahey

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