#038 – The Addiction Inoculation: An Interview with Author Jessica Lahey

We were honored to be able to spend some time talking with Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,  about her new book The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Jessica’s new book weaves together her personal story about addiction with a tremendous amount of information about topics such as brain development, drinking culture, substance use disorder, and ways both parents and schools can approach this sensitive topic. The book contains suggestions and scripts for conversations with your kids from pre-school through elementary, middle and high school as well as college. With this book, parents will be armed with the information they need to talk to their kids about alcohol and drugs.

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We had a wonderful conversation with author Jessica Lahey in this episode about her new book.  The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence is part memoir, part deeply researched information, and part “how to” for parents. If you have children of any age, you’ll want to read this book.

In addition to her books, Jessica Lahey writes about education, parenting and child welfare for the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. She is a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the curriculum for Amazon Kids’ The Stinky and Dirty Show. She has been an English, Latin, and writing teacher and has a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a concentration in juvenile and education law.

We’re already big fans of Jessica’s New York Times bestselling book The Gift of Failure: How Parents Can Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, so we knew that this book would be equally important for families. We were right.

Jessica shared with us so much information about the importance of data (and this book is full of it) when talking to teenagers and how understanding the real numbers can help them make better decisions. She shared the concept of pluralistic ignorance (when students think other students drink more than they actually do) and how students respond when they learn more about how marketing targets them.

As Jess talked about some of the shame and secrets that often surround addiction, she mentioned the work of Brené Brown. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Brown, here are two wonderful TED talks that will introduce you to her ideas: The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame.

If you’d like a signed copy of Jess’s new book, The Addiction Inoculation, visit the website for her favorite local bookstore The Phoenix Bookstore and order your book there. Jess will be visiting there to sign copies and the store will ship it to you for free.  You get a book and you get to support an independent local bookstore all in one!

As we always do, we asked Jess if she had any books she’d recommend for parents of future or current college students. She shared a few of her favorites:

How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan

Your Turn: How to Be an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims (also the author of one of our favorites, How to Raise an Adult)

Grown and Flown by Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington

Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear by Dr. Carl L. Hart

If that’s not enough, and you’d like to keep reading, visit Jess’s website for her speaking bibliography.

Don’t forget that you can listen to all of our previous podcast episodes here or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Let us know what you’d like to hear about on future podcasts! Leave a comment here or email us at podcast@collegeparentcentral.com.


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