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

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  • Are you looking for 21st century ways to support parents?

    Online learning that fosters offline connections

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It’s harder and harder to get parents to show up for parent nights at school. This can lead to missed opportunities, wasted resources, and a decreased sense that school is a learning environment for the whole family.

More and more institutions are looking for ways to support their parent employees. Parents today are juggling and need learning opportunities that align with their busy lives. This doesn’t mean that parents are any less motivated to do what’s best for their kids. 

Parents are especially in need of extra parenting support and concrete strategies to stay connected to their child through big changes at home and at school.  Whether it is navigating the challenges of social media and video games or the ups and downs of adolescence, parents deserve extra support.

You need new tools to help parents do the work at home that helps their children succeed. We are thrilled to offer group licenses that allow you to bring support, insight, and strategies on parenting to your community.

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

Father and daughter team Dr. Dave Walsh and Erin Walsh. Co-Authors of National Bestselling book Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen.

Online classes: a new way to engage and support parents at your school or institution.

Allows parents to engage in learning how and when they want to.

Not everyone can attend parent education sessions at night or over the lunch hour but all parents need extra support during times of big change. Build a culture where parents understand what their kids need and how to support them in school and at home.

Offers clear, transformational strategies that can adapt to fit different families.

Parents and teens are unique. With access to short videos, downloadable guides and exercises, live Q &A, and online community forums, parents are able to find and practice approaches that work for them.

Allows parents to learn on their own time, connect at school, and partner for student success.

Group licenses allow parents across a school community to participate in the course. Many school complement the course with school-based launches, meet-ups, or discussion groups.

Offers a unique benefit to working parents.

Create a caring workplace where parents get the support they need to manage the stressors of parenting teens.

Current course offerings:

Logo for online class Connected: How To Show Up For Your Kids in the Digital Age

Logo for Why Do They Act That Way online class

Kids desperately need their parents to step up as their digital mentors but too many caregivers don’t feel equipped for the job. This spotlight course walks parents through the essential skills of parenting in the digital age and helps them define their screen time priorities and strengthen their commitments to connection online and offline.

Here is what parents can expect in this short and accessible spotlight course:

SPARK 1: Connect and Communicate

We get started by explaining why you are already your teenager’s digital mentor, whether you realize it or not.


  • What does an effective Digital Mentor do? Defining and clarifying the role.
  • Reflective exercises to help you understand the digital parenting style you have now and how to become the Digital Mentor your child needs.
  • Exercises to help you catch your kid’s digital strengths.
  • Suggestions for how to handle online challenges.

SPARK 2: Rest and Rejuvenate

It’s hard work to change our relationships with screens. One way to stay motivated through the inevitable push-back is learning the brain science behind when and where kids benefit from digital breaks.

Highlights include: 

  • Why your child needs sleep.
  • The significance of boredom.
  • How moving your body positively impacts your brain.
  • The relationship between spacing out, imagination, and goal setting.
  • Pep talks that acknowledge how and why habit change is hard and tips to keep going.

SPARK 3: Focus and Fire Up

One of the most precious mental resources we have is our attention. Learn more about how to help your child focus attention in a world full of distractions.

Highlights include:

  • Why your child needs you to teach them the art of singletasking.
  • Reactive vs. focused attention.
  • The science behind why it’s so hard to unplug.
  • The attention economy and practicing mindful media habits.

Adolescence is a “normally abnormal” time full of ups and downs and new parenting challenges with higher stakes. Parents of middle schoolers report that this stage is the single most stressful parenting period. This signature course walks parents through the science of the adolescent brain and delivers practical strategies for staying connected during these turbulent years.

Here is what parents can expect from the course:

SPARK 1: 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

SPARK 2: 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?

SPARK 3: 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

SPARK 5: 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

SPARK 6: 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


Want to bring this course to your community?

Here’s how it works:

1. Fill out the group license form.

2. We will get in touch with you to learn more about your needs.

3. Get unique codes to distribute to parents in your community.

4. Build parent capabilities and strengthen your partnership with parents.

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What parents have said about Why Do They Act That Way:


    “I have already recommended this course to several parents! It is a fantastic, comprehensive and accessible overview of adolescent brain development and behavior. It also offered loads of reflection exercises (so much of parenting is an inside job, reflecting on our own family of origin and baggage) and actionable tools. So great.”

    Sarah, participant in fall course 2019


    “This is the teen ECFE class that I wished for, full of simply presented insight into the teen brain geared towards a better (and happier!) way to parent through connection. Dr. Walsh and Erin present real (not idealized) techniques. They recognize that there will be bumps and bruises along the way and offer guidelines to help identify when typical behaviors & emotions cross over into concerning ones. It is clear that they have a real passion for helping parents and a deep affection for teens.”

    Naomi, Participant in fall course 2019


    “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 helping!!” 

    Sally, Participant in fall course 2019

“We are here to support parents in the messy space between the ideal and the real”

– Erin Walsh, Co-Founder Spark & Stitch Institute