Founder of Proactive Parenting
My parenting career began with an education in parenting, early childhood development and interpersonal dynamics, resulting in 4 certifications in parent education, facilitating for the Cline/Fay Institute and Redirecting Children’s Behavior programs, creating Proactive Parenting and The Authentic Parent Series, as well authoring Stop Reacting and Start Responding” 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be.
I was blessed to have a college professor who was a student of Magda Gerber. She taught me to observe and support a child’s innate capabilities before interjecting any beliefs about a situation. The work of Rudolf Dreikurs and Redirecting Children’s Behavior taught me that a child’s behavior is an expression of something he’s unable to articulate at the moment, and his parent’s feelings can help unearth what can’t be expressed. Studying the work of the Cline/Fay Institute, founders of Love and Logic, taught me the value of patience and teaching a child about their behavior, as opposed to punishing them for their behavior.
All of that, plus 23 years of working with parents, is what gave birth to Proactive Parenting, my book Stop Reacting and Start Responding, and now The Authentic Parent Series. Being authentic opens the door to many, many options versus being reactive, which relies solely on yelling, punishing, threats, and timeout. Being authentic allows a parent to respect how a child learns, be supportive, and just firm enough to calmly enforce the corrections needed as a result of a child’s actions, all while honoring the feelings of both parent and child. Being an authentic parent means always having your eye on the future, on what your child will need in order to grow into a person who trusts his instincts about himself and the world around him.
I’m a mom, parent educator and coach, an author, speaker and blogger. Parents in 96 countries have benefited from the information in my book, Stop Reacting and Start Responding. I’ve been on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Sac & Co, an ABC affiliate in Sacramento CA, and AM Northwest in Portland, OR. I’ve done numerous local and national radio, newspaper, and online interviews including Parenting Magazine, Parents Magazine, Your Teen, Yahoo.com, PopSugar, CNN and CNN Health. I’ve also been a weekly blogger for Circle of Moms, AOL’s Patch, Life 360, and a contributor to Ask Moxie.
I smile proudly when I think and speak of my two children, but that hasn’t always been the case. I’ve lived what every parent is living, a real life, parenting real children. I had my first child when I was 21; I thought I had it all together. I yelled, screamed and punished, and secretly felt awful afterwards. I had achieved my immediate goal of stopping the unwanted behavior, but at what cost?
One day my 3 yr. old backed away from me, assuming I was going to spank him. I was crushed. I had replaced my beautiful child’s trust in me with fear. I never spanked again.
But now I had a problem. How was I supposed to change behavior without yelling, punishing or spanking? I found parenting theory, but the solutions didn’t seem realistic enough to address my real everyday life. I found answers, but they were hard to remember, and made me sound like someone else.
Then I found a way to talk to, and correct my kids; a way to respond, not react; a way to discuss, not yell; and a way to stay connected and teach, versus hoping punishment would do all the work for me.
I wasn’t perfect; neither were my kids. But the everyday situations that came up were handled calmly, peacefully, firmly and respectfully, and didn’t pull us apart as a family. I teach parenting so I can share this knowledge with everyone. That’s how Proactive Parenting™ was born.