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

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Get your seat! Enrollment closes on October 18th at 5 pm.

  • Why Do They Act That Way?

    The Six Week Online Class With Proven Strategies to Understand and Stay Connected to Your Teen

Become the parent you want to be – and the parent your teenager needs you to be – without being overwhelmed by conflicting advice, the shame of parenting “shoulds,” or the self doubts that rear up in response to your kid’s big changes.

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.

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

Dr. Dave Walsh and Erin Walsh

Here’s what you might not know

You’ve been a parent for a while now, but big changes are here. Learning about the teenage brain can lead to:

More connection

You will practice creative ways to connect with your teen, ensuring that your relationship stays intact through big changes.

More empathy, more patience

Rather than taking it personally, you will understand why your teenager is acting the way that they do, allowing you to be calmer and more grounded in your parenting.

More clarity

You will be able to strike that tricky balance of knowing when to step in to help your teen and when to let them learn on their own.

More confidence

Adolescence can be an adventure to be lived, not just a problem to be solved. With more knowledge and tools you can actually have fun during this giant developmental leap.

“Dr. Walsh is a teacher, scientist, therapist, and parent and all of these roles enable him to deliver a powerful, practical book on the teenage brain. Usually, when I study the brain, my eyes cross and I fall asleep, but Walsh is a storyteller with the gifts of simplicity and clarity. This book is an easy read, but its message is fresh, nuanced and important. I recommend it to all parents who ask themselves, ‘Why do they act that way?”

– Mary Pipher, PhD, author of Reviving Ophelia

You don’t want to just “get through” the teenage years.

You want to look back and know you met the challenges with bravery and, dare we say it, joy.

But right now it just feels hard and you have no idea how to make it any easier.

Your kid is changing. Your parenting should too. But how?

Every parent of a teenager knows that you need all the support, strategies, ideas, and affirmation that you can get your hands on. But finding the time to get what you need can feel impossible.

You fall asleep two pages into parenting books while your kid is playing Fortnite downstairs until 2 AM and your schedule is too packed for workshops or parent nights at the local school.

You promise yourself and your kid that you will do better tomorrow but tomorrow often holds the same fights, same power struggles, and same overwhelm.

You’ve read some great articles before and felt excited to try new parenting strategies. But without ongoing support or ability to ask questions, you quickly revert back to old patterns and dynamics.

And meanwhile your kid is growing up. 

You’ve hit parenting challenges before but now the stakes are higher and your kid seems further away. They are making choices with huge consequences related to mental health, addiction, sex, relationships, social media, video games, and school.

They need you to be their compassionate, real coach even as they push you away and flex independence.

This is a window of opportunity.

Your teenager is rarely going to thank you for setting clear limits, boundaries, and consequences or for doing the hard work of parenting. This makes it hard to know if you’re doing okay. But the role you play now is critical. We are here to help you define this role and offer you tangible ideas, support, and strategies.

This is the time .… you’ve got this. We’ve got you.

The two tempting approaches to parenting teens that backfire:

  • The Takeover

    You know that the teenage years are full of risk taking, experimenting, and testing limits. You also have less control over their behavior and decisions than ever before.

    It’s easy to let your fears drive your approach to parenting and fall into the “Takeover” approach. In other words, “Go to your room until you are 25!”

    When you take over, you rely on harsh discipline or do things for your teen that they should be doing themselves. You are working under the belief that your teen is a risk to be managed and controlled until adulthood.

  • Hands Off and Hope

    You are tired of the power struggles and exhausted by your teen’s rebellion. Your teen is demanding that you back off and it is easy to fall into the “Hands Off” approach.

    In other words, “See you when you are 25!”

    You might check in with them over texts but otherwise they are in charge. You are working under the belief that your teen will have to learn the hard way and there’s nothing you can do to shape their behavior. You provide shelter and food but the rest is up to them.

There is a third way. Time to set a new course. Time to loosen without letting go.

Here’s the truth:

There are two roads we can take in parenting when we confront big challenges. You can either get stuck in survival mode or greet the changes in your child with a willingness to change yourself.

It might not always feel easy. It is going to be hard work. It’s going to be vulnerable. You and your teen are forging a new path – and you can’t do it alone. The key ingredients are trusted guidance, ongoing support, and a community of parents who care as much as you do.

Introducing

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. This class teaches you the latest discoveries about your teenager’s brain and concrete, relevant strategies to use at home.


This course works in the messy space between the ideal and the real


Why Do They Act That Way?

is the only program of its kind that…

Stitches science to your daily struggles

We’ve combed through the latest research to provide you the most relevant information you need in the hardest parenting moments.

Offers clear, transformational strategies that you can adapt to fit who you are

You and your teen are unique. But you are not alone. Through interactive guides and exercises, live Q &A, and an online community forum you will be able to find and practice approaches that work for you.

Pushes you to grow without making you feel bad

On our worst days, parenting can already make you feel inadequate. The last thing you need is a class that reinforces that message. We use real stories, humor, and empathy to deliver course content in ways that will motivate you to try new things and put in the work while building your confidence.

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.

Highlights:

  • 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 enroll today:


 

  • 25 short 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 $2,950

Because we believe that this information is relevant and powerful for families, we want to welcome you to the class for the price of just…

Or, try our “book club” model!

Love online learning but want to process with a group of friends who know you and your kid? Want to host discussions with other parents at your child’s school? Find 3 friends and go through the class at the same time. As a “book club” organizer you will get:

  • Bonus book club quick start guide to get the most out the experience
  • Discounted rate of $147 a person (applies to purchases for four people)

Here’s how it works: Your three other book club members each give you their registration fees, the discounted rate of $147 per person. You purchase for your book club and we will be in touch with codes for your entire group to be able to participate in the course. You will participate in the course alongside everyone else, this is just a way for you to form a little “offline” community to complement our online one as you work through the content.

Group Rates

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

Click here to get in touch

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Questions people ask before joining the online class Why Do They Act That Way?

When does the class start?

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. Spark 1 will become available the morning of October 20th. You will get a new Spark each week. You will receive your final Spark on November 24th and then we will do some wrap up and bonuses the first week in December! 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. We have a passion for and a commitment to inclusive design and work to make space for different identities, cultural traditions, and life experiences. For example, while your instructors for this course are white, we work to create exercises that have room for you to fill in your own belief and cultural traditions.

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 course?

This content consistently qualifies for CEUs from most major professional boards. While we do not grant CEUs ourselves, we can provide documentation of learning outcomes and course hours.

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

Group Rates

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

  • Just take your best guess
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.

If you said yes to at least 3 of the above, we can’t wait to meet you inside Why Do They Act That Way?

Plus check out these three amazing bonuses when you join the course today:

 

  • Bonus #1 Special masterclass on the addicted brain and adolescence with Dr. Dave
  • Bonus #2 Live Q&A on teens and technology with Erin
  • Bonus #3 Invitation to private class alumni Facebook page after the class is over for ongoing interaction with Dr. Dave and Erin

“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