Eat Chat Parent hosts best-selling author Jessica Lahey |

Eat Chat Parent hosts best-selling author Jessica Lahey

Lahey will present two distinct presentations on consecutive nights

Jessica Lahey is a bestselling author who has written columns for The New York Times, and has been a contributing writer at the Atlantic.
Paul Morigi/AP

Parents, coaches and educators have long been challenged with how much freedom and independence to offer children, and the pandemic has only complicated the matter.

Similarly, our human relation with substances is complex with deep roots and broad impacts. Are you seeking urgent, practical advice on how to support your child and help them to succeed in a culture of dependence? Are you curious about the intricacies of substance abuse, and strategies to have difficult conversations with those you love?

Mountain Youth, Vail Mountain School and Eagle Valley Behavioral Health are partnering to bring best-selling author Jessica Lahey to Eagle County for two distinct Eat Chat Parent presentations on dire topics. Jessica embraces topics of education, parenting, welfare and substance abuse and has written for The Washington Post, the New York Times and The Atlantic.

Night one is scheduled for Monday, March 28, at Vail Mountain School where Lahey will focus on fostering a sense of curiosity in children, urging us to support their motivation, direction and success. Learn tips and strategies based on Jessica’s New York Times bestseller, “The Gift of Failure.”

“Jessica Lahey has an important message for parents who are raising children of all ages,” said Dr. Kate Drescher, a school psychologist at Vail Mountain School. “For parents, there is no job more important than caring for their children’s well-being. They feel their children’s sadness as a result of a disappointment or loss, and the need to relieve them of that pain or discomfort can be powerful. While there are times it is very appropriate and necessary for parents to advocate for their children, Lahey explains that in being overly protective, this well-intentioned action prevents children from developing the ability to learn from their setbacks and build a sense of self-efficacy.”

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While modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness, letting go allows children to learn how to solve problems on their own.

“The research is clear that when we over-parent our kids, we’re actually setting them up to be less able to learn, innovate and respond to physical, emotional and intellectual challenges,“ said Amy Baker, the Family Education Manager for Mountain Youth. ”We must allow children to experience disappointment and frustration instead of continuously protecting them from it.”

Ultimately, we can give young people the tools to grow up to be self-reliant and confident and successful throughout their lives.

Lahey’s Tuesday, March 29 conversation will offer an intimate and empowering platform focusing on substance abuse prevention themes from Lahey’s more recent production, “The Addiction Inoculation.”

Data from local Healthy Kids Colorado student surveys show that alcohol, marijuana and vaping continue to rank among the most popular substances used by adolescents, impacting one third of local high schoolers. This Eat Chat Parent will kick off with a candid account of Lahey’s own alcoholism before moving on to an explanation of the adverse effects of alcohol and drugs on the developing brains of adolescents and young adults.

“Lahey’s foray into neurobiology is shaped by peer-reviewed journals, so the science is solid, as are her emotional and behavioral insights into mental health. This is a must-have conversation for parents, teachers or anyone who works with youth,” Baker said. Attendees will come away with a more robust understanding of the roots of substance abuse and practical prevention strategies.

Vail Health’s Eagle Valley Behavioral Health is excited to help bring these opportunities to the community.

“The topics that will be discussed will absolutely assist parents in having important conversations with their children,” said Dr. Casey Wolfington, the senior director of community behavioral health for Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. “However, we also hope these presentations increase our ability to support our friends, coworkers, and our communities. The topics impact us all.”

Each evening will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with a free healthy meal and will offer complimentary Spanish interpretation and child care. While in-person attendance is encouraged to boost connection, virtual opportunities exist each night. Please register today at

Mountain Youth is partnering with Vail Mountain School and Eagle Valley Behavioral Health to bring Lahey to our community. Additional support exists from Vail Health, Eagle County School District, Alpine Bank, Vail Resorts Epic Promise, The Slifer Smith & Frampton Foundation, Eagle County Schools, El Pomar, Towns of Avon, Eagle, Gypsum and Vail, Eagle River Foundation, Vail Valley Cares, SAMHSA, Wells Fargo, Colorado Office of Behavioral Health, and Eagle County Government.


What: Eat Chat Parent conversations with Jessica Lahey

When: Monday, March 28 at Vail Mountain School or Zoom

Tuesday, March 29 at Battle Mountain High School or Zoom

Schedule: Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. dinner, followed by the presentation from 6-7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free with registration. Register at

Other services: Live Spanish interpretation is available, along with free child care, though reservations required as space is limited

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