made a promise to myself that first moment when I felt a new life stirring
inside my body. Overwhelmed by feelings of awe and love, I promised
that I would become the very best parent I could be.
Then came reality. My son was a joy and I loved him immensely,
but he was a real child: he fussed, whined and rebelled at times and
tested my patience. In dark moments I would find myself wondering, “Why
is it so difficult? Do I have what it takes to be a mother?”
I kept thinking, “If I’m having such a hard
time now, what will it be like when he’s a teenager?”
Ashamed to admit I needed help, I found a way to save
face: I would put my skills as a teacher to work and learn how to lead
a parenting class. The program I learned did wonders for our family
and for the parents I taught. Yet I realized there was something missing.
Parents like me became skillful, yet under stress we’d
“lose it” emotionally and resort to yelling and threats.
At those times, we were unable to use our skills. The ideal of mutual
respect went out the window.
And it wasn’t just some parents; virtually all would
go out of control at times, either acting like an aggressive dictator
or giving up and becoming a doormat. Here was a major roadblock to effective
parenting, yet I had no idea what to do about it.
Some years later, I was introduced to Psychosynthesis,
a transpersonal approach to psychology. It felt like a light suddenly
illuminating parts of human nature. Among other things, I began to see
why we “lose it,” and what to do about it. And it opened
my eyes to the surprising power of attitudes. I realized that difficult
behavior is a cry for help. Children want to become their best—and
they need our help to do it. We’re on the same team.
As I conducted research for a Ph.D. and during years of
practice as therapist and parent educator, I gradually applied my learning
and experience to the creation of a new program: Quality
It’s purpose: to help parents and teachers create an environment
that brings out the best in everyone: a family or classroom based on
More than twenty-five years later, I’m still learning
from parents and teachers in many parts of the world — and most
of all, from children and teens themselves. Helping families to bring
out the best is more than a profession; it is my lifelong passion.