Susan Stiffelman is a marriage and family therapist, a credentialed teacher, and a licensed psychotherapist. For over 30 years, Susan has worked with families to create greater harmony and deeper connection between parents and children. Susan also delivers weekly parenting advice for the Huffington Post as their “Parent Coach.”
Susan believes that children need to know that they can depend on their parents to guide them through the ups and downs of their lives. Just as a Captain is able to navigate rough and stormy seas, parents are meant to function as their child’s best source of comfort and direction by confidently steering the ship!
Being the calm, confident Captain of the ship
Susan illustrates this idea by having the right hand represent the parent and the left hand, the child to represent the three ways we can parent: Captain of the ship, Lawyer, or Dictator
In this image, the parent hand is above the left, with the parent in charge as the Captain of the ship.
When the hands are side by side, no one is in charge. This is where power struggles, negotiations, arguments and pushing/ pushing back take place. Susan calls this “The Two Lawyers.”
And when hand representing the child is on top, the child is essentially running the household. The parent feels desperate and powerless, resorting to bribes and threats to try to regain a sense of control.
Susan is regularly featured in print and broadcast media, including NBC’s Today Show, The Boston Globe, Parents magazine, Gaiam TV and the Los Angeles Times. For the past two years, Susan has hosted four-day Parenting With Presence summits featuring guests like Dr. Jane Goodall, Arianna Huffington, Congressman Tim Ryan, and Alanis Morissette.
Susan is the author of the bestselling book, Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and the new book, Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids (An Eckhart Tolle Edition.)
Susan has delivered her parenting guidance throughout the world, from Paris to New York, Tel Aviv to Senegal. She has a worldwide network of parents that rely on her advice and support via her popular newsletter and Facebook posts, Skype sessions, and online courses. Susan is based in Los Angeles where she maintains a small, private therapy practice.