Meet the Smiths

My name is Amy

Brent and I have 8 children ages 20 down to 5: two boys, then five girls in a row, and then 1 more boy. We also foster parented two teenage girls years ago and we have given service among children and youth for nearly our entire 22 years of marriage.

As a child, I wanted to be a mother when I grew up. Three months after graduating with a bachelors degree in Communications, I became one.

Trudging down the trenches of parenting with one, then two, then three young children jolted me to an awareness that motherhood sparks all sorts of uncharted emotions: some heart-warming and wonderful, others not so much.

While I thoroughly enjoyed many moments as a new mother, I also started to identify a few challenging issues:

1. Young children are frequently out of control physically and emotionally.

2. Their shocking behavior made me feel out of control right along with them.

3. The emotional mood of one person dramatically affects the behavior of others, and since 1 and 2 were true, our daily prospects of peaceful living grew increasingly grim.

This discouraging reality changed my life. It put a shovel in my hands and made me dig through countless parenting/psychology/child development/education/neurobiology/religion books in search for a solution to the popular parenting problem:

What should we DO when our children are out of control??

We found a gazillion different answers...and tested many of them...and then discovered a new problem:

Many tactics suggested by leading parenting books that are intended to control behavioral and emotional struggles worked short-term (made the kids momentarily stop crying, whining, fighting, teasing, misbehaving, etc), but few seemed to improve our family’s long-term emotional maturity.

So in the process of finding an answer that worked for us, I uncovered my passion for brain science and in the spring of 2009 we created our own disciplinary guide--the Accountability Pyramid--which is based on my hypothesis that discipline should be focused on developing the child’s prefrontal cortex in order to establish true long-term peace and happiness. And amazingly, the development of the child's prefrontal cortex happens quite naturally IF the child's parents are more concerned about influencing their child through controlling their own behavior rather than on controlling their child's behavior through manipulative disciplinary tactics.

In 2012, when we felt inspired to share our experiences with other parents, we created the concept of Present Parenting, which uses the Accountability Pyramid as a guide to disciplinary actions that support a parent's ability to influence a child's brain development and behavior throughout the life-long path towards true maturity.

By creating this website, we are not proclaiming to the world that we know everything about parenting. Of course we don’t. And we are not announcing that our ideas about parenting are the best way for everyone in the world to raise their children. They likely aren't. And we are not declaring that we are perfect at being fully present with our children 100% of the time. We're far from.

By creating this website, we are simply sharing how present moments with our children are in the process of transforming our family--children and parents--into happier, more peaceful, and more complete people.

By creating this website, we are offering you an opportunity to discover if Present Parenting adds peace and joy to your journey as well.