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Heather Stevenson, M.A.


Basic Principles of Open Heart Parenting

At the heart of Open Heart Parenting are the following beliefs:

  • Parents with children of any age will experience more closeness and less conflict in their relationships when everyone’s needs are respected and addressed. I work with parents to establish effective discipline techniques based on mutual respect. This helps children learn to solve problems in a positive and respectful way both inside and outside the family.
  • Children of all ages benefit emotionally, intellectually, and socially when allowed to express all their feelings to an attentive parent. I support parents in learning to accept and lovingly listen to their children's hardest feelings, including sadness, anger, and fear.
  • The happiest families are those that develop and maintain a strong sense of connection and trust between parents and children, especially through the teen years. I encourage families to do activities that promote closeness, including physical affection and playing together.

Using these principles, I have helped families:

  • Decrease power struggles between parents and teenagers
  • Develop creative and satisfying problem solving strategies
  • Create more loving and effective communication patterns
  • Address issues faced by parents who are in recovery from addiction
  • Help their children heal from stress and trauma

Issues I work on with parents include:

  • How to raise drug-free kids
  • Helping children through divorce
  • Responding to tears, fears, and tantrums
  • Peaceful conflict resolution/positive communication skills
  • Discipline without punishments or rewards
  • Addressing the reasons for children’s behavior
  • Special issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents
  • Special issues facing parents in recovery from drugs and alcohol