Logo of Spark & Stitch Institute with Dr. David Walsh and Erin Walsh

Gift the class now

LIMITED TIME OFFER – Buy a spot in our spring course for someone you care about who is raising a teen! Offer ends 12/10 at 8 PM CST.

  • Give a unique gift that helps families you love stay connected through the turbulent teenage years!

    – a six week online class on parenting teenagers –

Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy a spot in the course.
  2. Get an email with an enrollment code that you can gift to a friend or family member.
  3. We will remind them to enroll using the code you gave them when the course opens in February!
  4. Experience the joy of giving the gift of insight and practical strategies to a parent of a teen who deserves it.

More about the course:

“I have always looked forward to raising teenagers, albeit a little nervous also. But it’s different and scarier when it’s our own kiddos. Your reminders helped: She is doing exactly what she’s supposed to be doing, and right on time. It’s the process of letting go that is so gutting. She is becoming her own person – and we’re growing as much as she is. Your class is the help we needed!” 

– Sally, participant in fall course 2019

If you are a parent of a teenager, parent of a soon-to-be-teenager, or play an important role in a teenager’s life and want to be prepared and stay connected during the teenage years then you already know that you need all the support you can get. Your teenager needs you now more than ever–even though they might never tell you that. 

But figuring out HOW to stay connected with teens is tricky, especially as they jump on an emotional rollercoaster or start pulling away.

You’ve probably also heard that your teen’s brain is still under construction and the more you know about the construction zones the more prepared you are to navigate them. You already know that raising a teenager isn’t easy, but did you know that parents of middle schoolers report that it is the single most stressful time in their parenting lives?

We are here for you.

Gift the course

Dr. Dave Walsh and Erin Walsh introducing online class Why Do They Act That Way?

Here is what you can expect

WEEK 1 SPARK: Why Do They Act That Way?

We get started by taking a tour of the construction zones in your teenager’s brain. Knowing what’s going on inside your teenager shifts how you respond to them.


  • The emotional gas pedal is pressed to the floor
  • Risk taking, dopamine and the teenage brain
  • Embracing the new normal

WEEK 2 SPARK: Loosen But Don’t Let Go – Staying Connected To Your Teen

It’s hard to know both why it matters and how to stay connected with your teenager when they are pushing you away.

Highlights include: 

  • Why Your Teen Still Needs You (Even If They Won’t Admit It)
  • Connection Unleashes Your Teen’s Brilliance
  • Tips and Tricks for Getting Creative With Connection
  • Phones or Face-to-Face?

WEEK 3 SPARK: Setting Limits and Avoiding Power Struggles

Learn the tricky but essential middle road between the “takeover” and the “hands off” approaches to discipline with your teen.

Highlights include:

  • It’s Your Teen’s Job to Push Against the Limits; It’s Your Job To Set Them
  • The Strategy of Limits and Consequences and When It Doesn’t Go As Planned
  • Why Are You Always Yelling At Me? Communication and the Teenage Brain
  • How to Negotiate With Your Teen Without Being a Pushover

WEEK 4 SPARK: Managing Feelings, Stress, and Mental Health

Adolescence is a stressful time. Learn how to help your teenager handle their stress while also making sure you don’t miss more serious mental health concerns.

Highlights include:

  • It’s Not Your Job To Rescue Your Teen From Their Feelings
  • Stress and Your Teen’s Brain
  • Back to the Basics: Sleep, Exercise, and Food
  • Recognizing signs of mental illness
  • Don’t Ignore Mental Health

WEEK 5 SPARK: Independence vs. Guidance – What’s the Right Balance?

The goal is for your teen to become a resilient, capable adult. How do you help them get there?

Highlights include:

  • How to Help Your Teenager Set Goals and Reach Them
  • The Turn Towards Friends: Identity, Drama, and Support
  • The Talk(s) – Sex AND Relationships
  • Don’t Duck Difficult Conversations

WEEK 6 SPARK: Raising a Teen Requires Community

This final spark will inspire you to not only connect with your teen but to a wider circle of support.

Highlights include:

  • Helping Your Teen Find Their Purpose
  • You Can’t Do This Alone
  • Parenting with a Growth Mindset

Money Back Guarantee

Nobody’s time is more precious and valuable than that of a parent. By the end of this course you will have received over twenty five short and engaging video lessons, fifteen strategy-packed downloadable guides, and had the opportunity to ask specific questions every week.

We are confident that if you really engage in this course, you will feel the difference in how you see your teen and how you parent them. If you don’t see the value – we will give you your money back.

If, after six weeks of engagement and demonstrating that you’ve worked through the materials and exercises, you still aren’t satisfied, you can reach out to the Spark & Stitch team and we’ll work with you to get your money back.

Here is what you are getting when you grab a seat today:


  • 32 video lessons – $500
  • 15 downloads that include more information, practical strategies, reflection prompts, and exercises – $150
  • Access to private social community for support, Q&A, and conversation – $250
  • Live online group Q & As with Dr. David Walsh and Erin Walsh – $1,500
  • Bonuses to be announced February 2020 when course enrollment opens – $550

When you add it all up, that is a value of over $2,950

But because we believe that this information is relevant and powerful for families, we want to welcome you to the class for the price of $195

Group rates

We offer group rates for companies, community groups, schools, and school districts.

Click here to get in touch

Online Class Licensing

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When does the class start?

Enrollment begins again in February 2020! As soon as you enroll, you will gain access to our course platform and can get started with the welcome videos and a “brain brush up” video. You will get a new Spark each week. Remember, you will have lifetime access to the content.

How much time will it take me to do this class?

Whatever you put into this is what you will get out of it. We’ve carefully designed the videos and guides to get you the most important information and strategies in a compelling and succinct way while also allowing for a deeper dive for those who want to take it.

That said, at a minimum you can plan on carving out a half hour a week to watch the video lessons and a half hour to work through the guides on your own time plus our weekly live Q&A. So plan on at least two hours a week (many more if you want to dig deeper) that you dedicate to growing your understanding, building your toolkit, and becoming the parent you want to be.

Every week, you will get an email with a link to the new videos and interactive downloads for the class that week. You can watch these videos and do the work on your own time! You might choose to squeeze them in during the day or watch them in your jammies at night. It’s up to you. Every week you will have the opportunity to submit questions and Dr. Dave and Erin will go live to answer them! If you can’t make the live stream, you will be emailed a recording of it. You can also ask questions and interact in the private social page related to the course.

What if the information and strategies don’t fit my family or teen?

Parenting is complicated. Teenagers are complicated. Don’t believe anyone who says that they will solve every challenge in one online class. That said, we have worked hard to make the information accessible and the homework concrete so that you are constantly translating big ideas into strategies that work for you and your kid. Plus, community and Q&As! That’s where so much of the messiness gets sorted out. We are all in it together.

Please also know that we have presented and facilitated workshops with audiences of diverse backgrounds and identities. While your instructors for this course are white, we have a passion for and a commitment to inclusive design and work to make space for different identities, cultural traditions, and life experiences.

If I have read the book Why Do They Act That Way or seen you speak should I still take the class?

We think so! We love delivering keynote addresses and writing books. But sometimes keynotes only have time for an over-packed WHY and leave you hanging when it comes to the details of WHAT NOW? And you are not alone if you have ever wished that you could ask a book a specific question and get an answer in real-time. 

This class will give you the chance to digest information on your own time, get access to guides packed full of more practical strategies, and troubleshoot challenges as they arise. You also get to decide when and where it makes the most sense to engage in this content, whether it is early in the morning, late at night, or while you are waiting for soccer practice to end in the parking lot.

Do I have to do it in six weeks? What happens after the class?

Nope. We know that you will get the most out of this course when you commit to it, prioritize the live Q&As and engage with other participants. That said, you will have lifetime access to the content, including recordings of the live sessions! 

You might choose to revisit certain sections when a challenge arises, dive into the exercises more fully when you have more time, or run through the whole thing again when your next kid hits adolescence! You do you.

After the class ends, you will still have access to the materials via our online learning platform. The social community will be archived but still accessible for you to search through. Finally, you will also be invited to join our private Facebook group specifically for alumni of our online courses for ongoing engagement with other parents.

What makes this course different from other parenting classes?

This class is based on decades of experience bridging science to your parenting struggles. We’ve designed workshops and delivered keynotes about the teenage brain to thousands of parents around the world for over twenty years. We co-authored the national best selling book Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen, on which this course is based. We’ve listened to parents and teenagers about common challenges and triumphs. We’ve taken everything we’ve learned and channeled it into this comprehensive course.

Dr. Dave is the psychologist and parenting expert you wished lived next door and Erin is the youth-focused social scientist you already feel like you are friends with. Together they draw on parenting, grandparenting, youth work, and research to make things accessible, actionable, and inspiring.

As a father-daughter team, we’ve lived through the adolescent years and teach not only from our heads, but from our hearts too. We literally filmed this course in Erin’s home. Parenting doesn’t happen in a studio and neither does this online class.

What if my kid isn’t a teenager yet?

Let’s be honest, adolescence is getting longer and longer (from anecdotal surveys it appears to range from age 9-30, so we use the term loosely! Really though, taking this class now is the perfect way to prepare for the storms that might come with adolescence, making it much more likely that you weather them together with minimal damage.

What if I am not a parent?

While this class is certainly packed with “home-based” strategies, anyone who cares about teenagers can get a lot out of it. The information is relevant to educators, aunties, uncles,  grandparents, and youth serving professionals. We invite you to translate the information and strategies into your own context.

How much access do I get to Dr. Dave and Erin?

We are excited to be with you on this journey and support your engagement in the course and the materials! You will have the opportunity to submit questions during the week and Dr. Dave and Erin will craft responses to common themes and struggles during our live Q & As. Erin or Dr. Dave will also be in the social community every day to engage, share resources, and cheer you on.

This class is not a way to receive therapeutic support, clinical guidance, or receive one-to-one consultation. We are happy to provide recommendations for resources in your area and we will offer a library of online resources for additional support.

Can I get CEUs for this class?

This content has qualified for CEUs from most major professional boards. We do not directly provide CEUs but can send you the documentation you need to apply for them from your board.

Can you remind me of everything I’m getting when I sign up for this class?

Here is what you are getting when you enroll today:

  • 25 video lessons – $500
  • 15 guides that include more information, practical strategies, reflection prompts, and exercises – $150
  • Access to private social community for support, Q&A, and conversation – $250
  • Live weekly Q & A with Dr. David Walsh and Erin Walsh – $1,500
  • Bonuses including webinar on The Addicted Brain with Dr. David Walsh and live Q&A on teens and technology with Erin Walsh – $550

When you add it all up, that is a value of over $1,950

But when you enroll today, you will get access to everything for only

5 ways to know you are ready to join us in this course:

  1. You are willing to carve out a little bit of dedicated time each week to shift your relationship with your teenager towards more connection and better communication.
  2. You don’t want to just “get through” the teenage years or miss this sensitive window of opportunity.
  3. You’ve read parenting books or articles but have found that without continuing support it is hard to implement new ways of relating to your teen.
  4. You are eager for a class that allows you to learn when and where you want to and allows you to tailor strategies to fit who you are.
  5. You know that you are your teen deserve this extra boost of trusted support and help.

Gift the course

“Adolescence is not a problem to be solved, but an adventure to be lived.”

– Dr. David Walsh, Course instructor and author of national bestseller Why Do They Act That Way, A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen