Parents Coach Practical Advice for Healthy Relationships Wed, 17 May 2017 04:09:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Scattered to Successful Mon, 20 Feb 2017 22:49:23 +0000 adhd-workingmemory-wordcloud

I recently finished writing a book with Stephen Arterburn: Understanding and Loving a Person With ADD. It will be out this fall. I’m excited about the book because it comes out of years of coaching people with ADD on moving from scattered to successful. Recently, I did a three session class for parents of children with ADD. It was fun, lively (half of the parents had ADD themselves), and generated hope and compassion. “I thought I was just a bad parent. Then I came to this class and discovered that I wasn’t alone with my challenges. I learned strategies on how to parent my ADD child, but also how to advocate for him. I also made friends with other parents. Now I don’t feel so alone,” one dad told me.

Here are some of the insights I shared with the class:

Ten Facts About ADD

  1. Many people with ADD are never hyperactive.
  2. Less than half of those with ADD are in some form of treatment.
  3. ADD can actually be an asset, especially when it is identified early and treated. People with ADD typically have high energy, spunk, creativity, resilience, persistence, an ability to hyper-focus; they are passionate, work well under pressure, can multi-task, frequently engage in non-linear thinking, and are our champion athletes, actors and CEOs.
  4. Higher intelligence typically delays the diagnosis of ADD. Bright students with ADD can partially tune into the teacher and still perform well enough, until they get to a grade or subject that requires their full focus and sustained concentration.
  5. ADD is the most common educational and behavioral challenge with school age children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 13.2 percent of the boys at one time have been diagnosed and 5.6 percent of girls. The New York Times recently reported that 20 percent of teenage boys are diagnosed with ADD, and half of them are medicated.
  6. Many children, teens and adults don’t know they have ADD, and have never had a professional diagnosis.
  7. ADD is more prevalent among foster and adopted children than among the general population.
  8. ADD impacts all ethnic groups, socioeconomic strata, and degrees of intelligence, educational levels and geographies.
  9. About one-third of the ADD population outgrows it; leaving two-thirds have it throughout adulthood.
  10. Untreated ADD can be troublesome: 52 percent of untreated adults and teens abuse drugs and alcohol. 33 percent never finish high school (In contrast to the national average of 8.7 percent). They are twice as likely to smoke cigarettes and more than four times more likely to be arrested. Three out of four have interpersonal problems due to their untreated ADD: more speeding tickets, higher percentage of motor vehicle accidents or driving without a valid license. They are more likely to be injured up to five times more than those without ADD.

Parents of ADD children divorce three times more than the general population and people with ADD are more likely to divorce. This was the case in our class. Having a child with ADD and not having the support, information, training and resources on how to deal with the extra challenges can take it’s toll on the marriage. We are hoping to save marriages, make parents more effective and help children, teens and adults with ADD feel more capable and more understood.


ADD doesn’t have to be a negative label or experience – it’s simply a different way to think.

ADD traits don’t have to be changed or suppressed. ADD is a natural part of our human condition. Not only is it in the normal range but; as in the case of some very creative entrepreneurs, it helped people excel beyond normal to excellent ranges of achievement at work. ADD is not a problem to be fixed, but a unique way of thinking that needs to be understood, loved and leveraged for it’s strengths.

Please subscribe to my blog to receive notice when I post a blog on ADD. I’ll be posting on symptoms of ADD, secondary symptoms of ADD, the seven kinds of ADD, and fourteen treatments for ADD. I offer ADD coaching for children, teens and adults that will help you focus, be calmer, be organized, be less frustrated, enjoy relationships more and enhance productivity. My coaching is evidenced-based, positive and solution-oriented. Contact me for more info. 

No Bullying Month Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:33:41 +0000 “I used to get A’s and B’s, but after those kids teased me and called me names, I started getting D’s. They got into my head. I don’t even like them. Actually, I don’t even know them, so why should I care what they say or think?” asked thirteen year-old Noah. “I used to walk on campus, be happy to see my friends and have fun playing sports. Now I’m afraid to walk to class because I think I’ll run into those guys. It really messed me up!”


Noah had been a victim of bullying. Not the overt pushing, fighting or loudly calling him names; but the more covert (and common) sneaky whispers, gossip, and hand gestures that are designed to make him feel less thanIn some ways, the punches and physical jabs are easier to deal with than the sneers, whispered derogatory comments, and mean-spirited facial expressions and mocking.

How does a parent help a child like Noah? I met with his parents to get the details on what they had done and their family history. Noah had been a happy, productive student and capable athlete until this school year. “I just wanted to go Papa Bear and have it out with those bullies, but I realized that was a dead end,” admitted his father.  His mom explained, “We talked to his counselor and he changed Noah’s classes and the bullies were disciplined by the Dean, but he’s still rattled and anxious to walk on campus. Can you help him?”

“Yes, I think I can. I want to help him rediscover his confidence. I want him to develop grit, otherwise known as resilience or hardiness. We start with his mindset. Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Right now, he’s in a fixed mindset – one based on fear and a scarcity mentality. There are limited resources and there may not be enough for me. I may not be safe at school. This kind of fixed mindset often leads to lower achievement, blaming and a victim mentality. Why? because he’s stuck in react mode or in survival mode. When he walks on campus, he’s in fight, flight or freeze.”


“We’ve noticed that. He’s been so reactive, irritable and fragile. It’s like he’s given up. We want the old, happy, relaxed Noah back,” said his mom.

“It’s possible if he’s willing to try some of the tools that will help him rediscover his growth mindset. That’s an abundance mentality that will empower Noah and help him develop, vs. the fixed mindset that keeps him stuck. Noah’s view of himself remarkably affects the way he lives. He needs a perspective not based on performance or achievement or popularity but one based on a desire to learn and a passion to grow as a person. Grit is sustaining passion and perseverance for long-term goals, in spite of challenges. It’s working hard to make your vision come true. It has little to do with talent and IQ. In fact, recent studies show that IQ and resilience are inversely related.


I wrote G.R.I.T. on my whiteboard. “We want to help Noah develop these four qualities: Guts, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity. Or you can substitute ‘Growth‘ for ‘Guts’ as in a commitment to a growth mindset. Brains and talent are just the starting point. A growth mindset creates a love of learning and the resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Some reasons why our kids lack grit are, for many of us, we’ve rescued them too much; explained to them too often and went out of of way to make their life too easy and comfortable. I’m not saying be mean and act like a Marine Drill Sergeant; but sometimes by doing too much for our kids, we are making them less gritty. At times we do more for our kids by doing less.”

Grit helps our kids and teens:

  • Stand up against bullies
  • Advocate for themselves
  • Develop ownership for their lives
  • Creates flexibility and bounce that helps them take on challenges
  • Move from externally-driven motivation (grades, people-pleasing, performance, etc.) to internal initiative and follow-through
  • Grow their loyalty muscle and learn to work through issues with others
  • Provides an opportunity to learn all the time – especially in failure

I like what Dr. Carol Dweck from Stanford University says, “We need to be gritty about getting our kids grittier.

Look at the 7 bullet points above to see if your child or teen could use some coaching to develop true grit. Contact me to learn more.   or call           805-376-3500. Let’s raise a generation with grit!



]]> Happy Kids? Mon, 17 Oct 2016 18:17:37 +0000 I always twitch a little when I hear a parent say, “All I want for my child is for him to be happy.” I think I react because I’m not sure if ‘happy’ is coming from a place of positivity and health, or from a darker place of fear and a frantic lifestyle.


“I have two children, and all I want for them is for them to be happy,” said a mom to me in my coaching office. “Eli is fifteen and Kate is ten; and I make it my priority to see that they are comfortable and happy.”

“How are they responding to that?” I asked.

“Seems like the more I do, the more demanding and less appreciative they get. After meeting all their needs and running them all over the place; they fight, are whiny and inpatient. I’d think they would be more grateful and cooperative.”

“I know what you mean. As parents, we think that the more we do relates with the more they will appreciate, but it’s almost the opposite.”

“She furrowed her forehead, “Why’s that?”

“Because we are actually training them to take us for granted. Doing too much for your child is actually doing too little. In a way, it’s robbing them of what they need and giving into what they want. Just because we can afford to do something for our kids, or buy something for our kids, doesn’t mean that we should. Just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should.”

 She shifted in her chair, “Are you saying my kids are spoiled?”

“They might be. Do you find yourself giving into them?”

“Yes, but I can say ‘no’.”

“When was the last time you said ‘no’?” I asked.

“It’s been awhile.”

Always delivering what our kids want robs them of learning patience, self-control, restraint and the joy of anticipation of waiting. These factors produce entitled kids – kids who think they deserve concierge service and five-star provision from their parent.”

“So real happiness doesn’t come from parents simply giving in and giving them what they want in that moment?”

“Exactly. We want our kids to be happy and to like us, but even with our parental obsession with our kids’ happiness and feeling good, we are not producing children and teens who feel good.”

 “So how can I help my kids be happy without giving in and spoiling them?”

“Our kids will experience genuine happiness from the inside-out vs. outside-in. Lasting, genuine happiness is forged with gratitude, contribution, and kindness. It’s fueled by a clear sense of values and seeing yourself as a capable member of a community.”



Are your kids spoiled?  Watch my short video on Spoiled Rotten Kids

Genuine happiness produces terrific results. In a recent meta-study,* the benefits of being positive led to increased happiness and higher levels of success. Including:

  • Better health and less stress
  • More fulfilling relationships
  • Better academic and work performance leading to professional success
  • More altruism and social and community involvement
  • Higher incomes and more financial success

*(Dr. Ed Diener, Senior Scientist –The Gallup Organization, & Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, UC Riverside).

 Do your children and teens reflect this kind of healthy happiness? Or do you find yourself giving in when you should draw the line? Have they become more demanding and less grateful?

I have a five-point, evidenced-based program to help your family discover how to be healthier and happier. Contact me to schedule a coaching session in person, by phone, FaceTime or Skype.

For healthy families,

Tim Smith




The Problem With Raising A Prince Mon, 18 Jan 2016 18:14:50 +0000 I have to admit it, I have a problem with the prince and princess mentality I see emerging in some families. I enjoy the fairy tales; the Disney franchise that introduces preschoolers to the epic stories through media, merchandise, and theme park experiences; and the ideas of a quest to win the princessfight the dragon, or find my prince; but I sense a darker side to this whole prince and princess emphasis – it seems to fuel a sense of entitlement with our preschoolers, children and teens. Kids can be entertained in seconds with a digital device, and their requests for a new toy or fashionable clothes can be responded  to in a flash with Amazon Prime.  We may be fueling a generation of entitled princes and princesses.

A healthy family is not centered around a child or children, but values and virtues that are larger than any individual. It’s fun to play prince, but we don’t want our son to grow up acting like one and expecting to be served. We want our sons and daughters to grow up with a sense of confidence and capability, balanced with a sense of compassion, because it’s not all about me. 


Research affirms that kids who grow up with a sense of entitlement are more than spoiled – they are actually more likely to be at risk. They are more likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, loneliness, isolation and digital OCD (obsessive-compulsive texting or social media addiction). How do we, as parents challenge entitlement in our kids and teens? Here are three ways:

  1. Do it myself.  I recently heard from a mom of three who had attended my presentation in Connecticut on The Relaxed Parent – Helping Your Kids Do More As You Do Less. She wrote, “My boys, ages five and seven, like to do things for themselves, but they also like to have me ‘help’ out with a lot of things. Who doesn’t like to be served sometimes! After I came home from your presentation, I spoke to my boys about family team work and I drew your triangle of my help getting less and their triangle of doing more over the years. A few mornings later, I was dressing our one year-old daughter while my boys were having breakfast. My older son wanted his waffle, so I told him – here’s a chance to do it yourself. I explained how to do it. Once he was done, he looked up and exclaimed, ‘Mommy, if I had to wait for you I would still be waiting for my waffle! But since I did it myself it was much quicker!'” This mom had learned the principle: Don’t do anything for your kids that they can do for themselves. 
  2. Let them struggle – don’t always rescue them. Making life too easy for our kids – like they are princes and princesses actually can make them less capable, less resilient and less motivated. Learning to push through discomfort is a gift we can give our children. I’m not saying create discomfort for your child – that would be mean. I’m saying let them experience a little adversity so that they can persevere and generate hardiness. Learning to walk and ride a bike involves a lot of falling. Just because your child falls doesn’t mean he’s a failure, but that he is learning. To stop him from falling would keep him from the autonomy of walking and riding his bike. Challenging entitlement involves being patient. Train your child to delay gratification by waiting, or earning what he wants. This will foster contentment and generate confidence. frostykids1
  3. Model and Teach Other-Centeredness. Empathy is the best antidote for entitlement. Since children learn what we do, more than what we say, provide an example of compassion and other-centeredness that is age appropriate for your child: For preschoolers – you could be like the mom my wife saw at the grocery store parking lot with a baby swaddled to her chest and a three year-old holding her hand, she pushed her empty shopping cart back to the cart corral, in a natural, routine manner. If anyone would have a reason to leave the cart by her parking place, she did. But instead, she chose to model empathy for the employees who have to gather the carts. For elementary age children – you could be like the dad I saw in Home Depot recently with his son, who looked to be around eight years old. He was in line with a cart full of stuff, and I had a box of screws. He said, “You go first,” and modeled to his son thinking about others. Teenagers tend to be self-involved, so when we model other-centeredness, we are giving them a liberating option from most of their peers. Recently, right before a presentation to parents in New York, a dad came up to me and said, “I heard you speak eight years ago and talked with you afterwards. You coached me to ‘enter the world of my thirteen year-old’ because I felt disconnected, was too busy with work and felt like I was losing my son.  I entered his world and did things he was interested in. It wasn’t always comfortable, but we connected, and today, while he’s in college, we have a terrific relationship.”

Watch this short video on the danger of raising an entitled child.

Try these three tips with your child or teen to challenge entitlement and raise a capable, compassionate human instead of an spoiled prince. Feel free to share it with parents who may be raising a royal pain.

Healthy Families – Healthy Businesses Sat, 31 Oct 2015 00:42:26 +0000 Families, like businesses have a system and a culture. Some look attractive, even successful, but if you look deeper, they actually may be unhealthy. Your family and your work are the two most important organizations in your life. Are yours’ healthy?


Organizational health is the single greatest competitive advantage in business, and it is essential in home for children and teens to reach their potential. Organizational health at home and work is virtually free and accessible to any leader who wants it, and yet it remains largely untapped in most organizations and families.

Healthy families – the ones where parents give their children discipline, affection and time – almost always improve over the years; even when they lack many of the advantages and resources that money can buy. Unhealthy families, the ones without discipline and unconditional love, will always struggle, even if they have all the money, tutors, coaches, and technology they could ever want . . .It’s really about the health of the environment.” – Patrick Lencioni in The Advantage – Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business 

I’m a fan of Patrick Lencioni. He gets it. He understands that culture and relationships matter. This is equally true at home as it is at work. In his book, The Advantage he presents The Four Disciplines of a Healthy Business. I’d like to think about these as principles of health that we focus on at work and home.

  1. Build a cohesive leadership team. If mom and dad aren’t on the same page, confusion and chaos likely reign. If we can build a truthful, authentic atmosphere, trust will thrive, we will be able to talk about conflict and deal with it directly. Commitment and loyalty grow when there is cohesion.
  2. Create clarity. Once we have cohesion, we can work through a process of developing clarity, which is more than a mission statement. Creating clarity at home requires a rigorous process of dealing with six fundamental questions to create alignment.
  3. Over-communicate clarity. You probably already discovered that children and teens need repetition in order to remember, and more repetition to follow through with our instruction. Don’t assume that you have communicated effectively, just because you transferred information.
  4. Reinforce clarity. Keep the message simple. Get rid of anything that might be distracting, unnecessary, or fuzzy; and challenge any drift that might attempt to confuse your focus. Clarity produces consistency, and consistent parenting is essential for a healthy home.

If this sounds interesting to you, check out the four minute video that I’ve done recently with my friend, psychologist, Dr. David Ross – consultant with Patrick Lencioni’s The Table Group


Interested in organizational health?  Contact me to discover how these four disciplines can help your business and family be healthy. Including, learn how to:

  • Overcome the 5 challenges every team faces – at home and at work
  • Smart vs. Healthy organizations
  • Understand how to get on the same page at home and work with the 5 Behaviors of Cohesion
  • Escape the chaos and confusion with the 6 Critical Questions for Clarity
  • Learn how to parent with clarity, consistency and calmness
Common Views Parents Have of Their Kids Sat, 19 Sep 2015 00:03:58 +0000 It’s September, and as parents, we are excited to have our kids go back to school (except for those parents who are first-year preschool parents, and are agonizing and missing their precious little one, but you’ll get over it.)


You may catch yourself saying, “Your job is to be a student, so make sure you color in the lines.” Or, “Don’t forget your backpack!” And the redundant, “Do you have any homework?”

I’m not sure it’s developmentally helpful to put to much emphasis on your child ‘being a student – that’s your job.’ I think there can be a downside to that kind of speech. I think we want our child to be more than a student. What happens if he’s not good at school? Does that mean we fire him? Does he lose his ‘job’?

I’ve noticed that parents view their kids in three common ways, and how you look at your kid shapes how you parent him/her. Our perspective of our child influences our expectations, our communication, our discipline and our relationship with our child. I’ve observed that their are two very common ways parents view their kids, and in my opinion, these two can actually get in the way of a child developing to be a capable young person. I’ve also seen a third, healthier way to view and relate to our kids. Check out this short video to see the Three Ways Parents See Their Kids. 


Let me know what you think at

The Blur of Being a Parent Sat, 01 Aug 2015 20:24:32 +0000 The school year is about to start, and you may already feel like you are behind. Like many parents, you may be overwhelmed. But you want to do things differently this year: simpler, with more clarity and less clutter. But you don’t have much time. It’s enough to make you long for summer!



We have a solution! Just in time for the new school year we have a new innovative digital resource for you busy parents – ParentsCoachTV offers short videos for parents of preschool kids, elementary children and teens; and for all types of families (single, step, two-parent, grandparents, etc.). You can view a three minute video on The Relaxed Parent while you stand in line at the grocery store.  You can read a short blog on dealing with your middle schooler while on your lunch break at work.

Check out the free samples:


We will be producing dozens of these vlogs and making them available to parent groups, schools, churches and businesses on a subscription basis. Contact for info.


Dealing With Back to School Stress Sat, 01 Aug 2015 17:42:10 +0000 I’m starting to see all the back-to-school commercials, ads and hear the din of all the activities firing up, like NASCAR engines. School can feel like a race. “Why can’t it be summer all year?”

Students and parents are trying to catch their breath before the gun goes off and all the frantic scampering begins.

“I’m freaking out about school starting! Last year I ended with a 4.4 GPA. I always study during lunch, I’m on the Varsity soccer team, attend youth group weekly and just went on a mission trip with my church this summer; but my dad looks at me and frowns, like I’m lazy and goofing off when I take thirty minutes to Facetime with my friends. He doesn’t understand that I’m not like him, and I have a life and I need a break,” exclaimed sixteen year-old Karissa. “The stress is upsetting my stomach.”


 A little stress can actually be good for students, but when they are overwhelmed, confused, anxious and freaking out, it turns toxic and can be dangerous. Learning skills to keep stress in check will produce many benefits.  Students will perform better with academics, athletics and in the arts if they have a calm, clear, rested mind.

I deal with stressed teens daily in my coaching practice, I often share with them, and their parents, four reasons to challenge toxic stress. and make changes in their schedule, lifestyle, thinking and family culture:

1. Toxic stress makes colds worse.

A study done by Carnegie Mellon University and reported in the National Academy of Sciences Proceedings, warns that chronic stress causes more inflammation and reduces immunity making colds worse and last longer.  Chronic stress causes the body to over produce cortisol, which weakens the body’s immune system.  During the cold and flu season, we need to help our students get plenty of rest even if it means sleeping in until eleven on a Saturday. Most teens are sleep-deprived.

For more on the study:

 2. Chronic Stress shrinks the brain.

Everyday academic stress like taking a quiz, reading literature, and writing a paper actually helps the brain expand, make connections and learning happens, but when the pressure becomes to severe, the ability to learn is greatly minimized.  Imagine someone chasing you with a weapon; you probably won’t be able to remember what you learned in chemistry that day. A lot of students feel so much toxic pressure that they do feel on the run in an adrenalin-induced haze.

A Yale University study reported in Biological Psychiatry reports that this on the run toxic stress shrinks the brain and reduces functioning (processing and memory) by reducing grey matter in regions tied to emotional and physiological functions.

Makes sense when you think of some of the random behavior we observe in teens when they get super-stressed. Clearly, their brains are not operating reasonably.For more on the Yale study, check out:

3. Chronic stress makes you age faster.

For a freshman, this sounds like a good thing, but it’s not.  Premature aging can occur with children and teens. When girls are under a lot of stress, their first menstruation could come eighteen to twenty-four months early.

A professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Duke University recently published a study on telomeres – the repetitive sequence of DNA that caps chromosomes at each end.  Toxic stress in teens actually shortens these caps. Telomeres are the clocks that regulate aging. With a lot of stress, the telomeres are shortened and the clock of aging starts clicking prematurely.

Let’s help our children and teens mature at a rate that is healthy and developmentally appropriate, not hurried due to stress. The study reports that tension at home and bullying at school often cause the premature aging in teens:


4. Increases the risk of depression.

Most stressed out teens that I see have anxiety or depression, or both. High levels of stress are cumulative and are a significant health risk – mentally and physiologically. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that high stress kills neurons and prevents neurogenesis – the birth of new brain cells (in the part of the brain called the hippocampus). When this happens, the teen becomes depressed or anxious and also becomes more likely to be at-risk for future stress. The cycle of stress-worry-anxiety-depression becomes an ingrained pattern.

Discuss with your child the benefits of reducing toxic stress and how you might help her/him. Contact me to schedule a coaching session face-to-face or video conference. I have an evidenced-based program for teens and children that has significantly reduced stress in their lives by building resilience with seven key skills.


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Less Than Perfect Thu, 21 May 2015 03:40:20 +0000 “We just want her to work up to her potential. She’s a gifted student and in honors and AP classes, but she seems to have lost her drive. Seems the more we talk with her, the less she does,” said the forty-something dad wearing a crisp, professionally-starched dress shirt and shiny, polished Italian shoes.

Courtney rolled her eyes and sighed.

“What part of that annoys you the most Courtney?”

“Their nagging doesn’t work. Their lectures don’t inspire me, instead they rob me of my drive. They think I have to be perfect to be successful. I know I can’t be perfect, so I don’t want to even try.”

“What about the ‘P-word’ – Potential?”

“It’s so annoying and they use it too much!”

I smiled at her parents, “Students, especially in middle school and high school grow weary of their parents comparing them to other students,  their previous accomplishments or perceived capabilities that we call potential. It’s like a swear word to them. I know we mean well, but it backfires.”

“So what are we supposed to do? Just let her fail?” asked Courtney’s mom, “I’ve been checking online everyday and she’s missing twelve assignments in her classes, and the year is coming to a close. Finals are next week!”

“I like to contrast perfectionism -which is fear-driven, with high-achievement which comes from confidence and capability. Perfectionism has a fear of failure and assigns permanence to anything less than stellar work. Whereas high achievement puts the emphasis on the effort, the character and the willingness to try. It’s process vs. product. Perfectionism is pushed by fear. High achievement is pulled by the willingness to try and the courage to fail, knowing that even in ‘failure’ we can learn,” I explained.


“Mom, they are MY grades not yours. Let me earn the grades I deserve. You don’t have to rescue me.”

Her mom, not convinced, shifted in her seat, “So what can I do differently?”

“Let her own her grades. She can update you daily on what she’s doing, but that’s her taking initiative vs. you interrogating and checking online. Here are five things you might try to help you be Less Than Perfect.”

1. Emphasize the process of learning and becoming a better person, more than simply mastering the material.

2. Model and talk about “good enough” at times. Not everything has to be perfect.

3. Let your child know that you believe in her even though her performance isn’t what you expected.

4. Ask, “So you didn’t do as well as you hoped for, what did you learn from it?”

5. Have realistic expectations so she doesn’t feel the need to please you with perfect performance, or take shortcuts like cheating.

I’m working with quite a few students who have high levels of anxiety, especially at this time of the year. We want them to do their best, but sometimes doing more for your child may mean doing less. Watch this short video on becoming more relaxed as a parent and learning to be Less Than Perfect.

Less Than Perfect Parent

I have an evidenced-based coaching program that helps children and teens be less anxious and be more confident and capable academically, socially and athletically. Contact me for information at          805-376-3500 or




A Popular Obsession Wed, 22 Apr 2015 18:05:58 +0000 Our culture is obsessed with perfection: perfect babies, intelligent preschoolers, kindergartners who speak French, third-graders who know algebra, fifth-graders who make the all-star club team in soccer, eighth-graders who spend their Saturdays in SAT prep courses, and sophomores suffering sleep deprivation from studying until 2 AM for their AP test.


We have also have been deluded by the myth of enrichment: that if a little bit of activity, stimulation, challenge and prep is good, than MORE is better. 

It isn’t so. In fact, we’re finding that this obsession with perfection and pursuing enrichment have diminishing returns. We wind up with disappointed parents and fatigued children and teens. 

But it’s so easy to be caught up with it because it’s so common in our culture. We are on our teens about peer pressure, but I’d suggest that some parents need to think about parental peer pressure. We don’t want to be the only family on our block that doesn’t have our kids involved in the right activities. That would make us The Loser Parent. ‘We gotta keep up!’


When we have the wrong focus, we look to the wrong metrics for success with our kids. It’s easy to look at external metrics to measure our impact as parents. But externally-oriented parents produce externally-oriented kids. What about the internal metrics for success? Like resilience, work ethic, honesty, compassion and impulse control? There aren’t club teams for those.

Check out this short video to see if you have bought into the Four Decoys for Success as a parent. It’s from my book, The Danger of Raising Nice Kids. 

Feel free to contact me about becoming effective parents with capable, healthy kids.