Information Rich: TED Talks for the Informed Parent

Raising a child in the modern era is both easier and more difficult than it ever has been. Easier because medicine and science have eliminated many of the obstacles and threats to rearing healthy, happy kids. More difficult because the volume of information and climate of parenting have become increasingly complex and overwhelming.

TED talks have emerged as a new medium for receiving information, a distillation of perspectives from some of the brightest minds around the globe. Congruent with the mission, these talks on parenting serve to parse out the noise from the facts, to offer clarity and simplicity, rather than bombard the modern parent with opinion and pressure.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the very tough job of raising your kids, you are not alone, and these particular talks we’ve selected will serve to broaden your perspective and hopefully, make your job a little easier.


  1. Kang Lee: Can You Really Tell if a Kid is Lying? This presentation dissects the psychology of lying and what it indicates about development. Parents are often horrified when they catch their kids in a lie, but the science of lying reveals many other truths about mental health and human interaction.
  1. Julie Lythcott-Haims: How to Raise Successful Kids – Without Over-Parenting. Lythcott-Haims speaks on helicopter parents and the potential for “check listed childhood.” The emphasis on perfection and the level of involvement we currently extend into our kids’ daily lives may actually be deterring their natural development.
  1. Chinaka Hodge: What Will You Tell Your Daughters About 2016? This beautiful poetic speech about the shockwaves of violent events and shifts in the social landscape, a litany about civil rights, women’s health and war in 2016 that will leave a mark on history. In a courageous call to action, Hodge calls the culture to the mat as a mother and asks in ferocious tone, how we will stand up for our girls. – t-97514
  1. Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar. “Why is it that parents experience parenthood as crisis?” It’s true: parents are more stressed than non-parents, they have less happy marriages and have higher rates of anxiety. Senior takes a closer look at why our culture has such a charged perspective on the experience of raising kids. She makes the argument that we place an undue burden on ourselves and our children toward “happiness” that actually does the opposite.
  1. Colin Grant: How Our Stories Cross Over. As the son of immigrant parents from Jamaica growing up in the UK, Grant struggled to understand his father’s oppressive rules. As an adult, Grant slowly grew to see the level of assimilation required of his parents and wove their experience in with his own identity as a citizen of two worlds. A highly personal story that helps us teach empathy to children by way of the past.
  1. Colin Stokes: How Movies Teach Manhood. Stokes uses classic movies like Wizard of Oz to illustrate how the messages boys and girls receive from media and how those messages have changed. He discusses concepts like heroism, action, violence in a funny and unique way.
  1. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain. Neuroscientist Dr. Blakemore shows us how our new capabilities with MRI that give us a rich picture of development. She points out that the growth of the prefrontal cortex during adolescence is profound, a fine-tuning of cognitive function.


What is fascinating is that the more we dig into these ideas and shake up our own notions about our choices as parents, the easier it becomes to let the small stuff go and concentrate on the big concepts of love, growth, and bringing meaning to things. That’s why these talks are such a valuable tool – because they shed new light on the most important job we do.




About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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