Ryan Holiday, who publishes an awesome newsletter about great books he's read, is a new dad like me. He recently recommended The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey.
I really enjoyed the book and learned a lot of new lessons from it. It posed some tricky questions that I hadn't really thought about deeply before, such as whether and how much to bail your kids out when they mess up (like when they forget their homework at home and you're already going to be stopping by school anyways). I was surprised by how far the author suggests taking the autonomy supportive parenting approach, but after thinking about it some more, I agree with her framework and ideas. It all boils down, in the end, to trusting your child and taking a long-term view on how they grow up to be independent, capable adults who can take care of themselves rather than optimizing for short-term performance (which is hard in a competitive, "if-they-don't-go-to-x-preschool-then-they-won't-go-to-Harvard-so-they'll-be-on-the-streets" mentality).
My favorite parts of the book involved age-appropriate lists of ways that kids can have real responsibilities around the house (household duties and "family contributions," not "chores"). I know many people personally who never learned how to do laundry or manage their own personal lives until college, and even then all decisions -- small and large -- were run through parents, which continues handicapping them throughout adulthood. I also liked the idea of kid-generated checklists so they can remember what they need every day.
Below are my notes and takeaways from the book. (It also reminded me a lot about Ryan's book The Obstacle Is The Way.)