Origins of Parents Toolshop® & the Universal Blueprint® System


In some ways, I’m just like you, surprised (still) by the new challenges parenting presents to me and wondering the best way to respond. In other ways, I’m unlike most parents and even other parenting experts, due to my upbringing and life experiences.

Like many other parenting experts, I am a Licensed Social Worker, a Certified Family Life Educator, and have decades of experience working with parents of diverse backgrounds, values, and needs.

Unlike almost all other parenting experts, I am one of only a few second-generation parent educators in the world and my parenting struggles and “wondering” led me to discover a “secret-sauce system” that has worked for tens of thousands of parents to plan effective responses to the challenges parenting presents to us daily. (Cuz parenting is for life!)

My education as a parent actually started when I was eight-years-old and took a rather unusual path that lead to an incredible discovery. This is my story.

Little Did I Know,
When I was Eight-Year’s Old,
That Saying “Yes” to
Helping My Parents
Would lead to a Discovery that Has
Helped Tens of Thousands of Parents
Worldwide for Three Decades!


When I was eight-years-old, my parents took a parenting class. My brother, who was five years older than me, was starting to have problems that they didn’t know how to handle.

The class was so helpful for them, they started teaching parenting classes in our church, where my mother was the Director of Christian Education.

They asked me to help them record audio vignettes for their parenting classes. I’d play the snotty-nosed bratty kid and they’d demonstrate some communication or discipline tool.

What I didn’t realize is that I was learning the language of effective parenting as my first language.

The skills I learned helped me a lot during my childhood and especially during the teen years. They also prevented me from having to un-learn bad parenting habits. (It didn’t, however, make me a perfect person or parent! Read on…)


In high school, I took my mother’s group facilitator course and her class for parents of teens, so I could be a Youth Leader in the junior high programs.

Little did I know, I’d be facilitating groups the rest of my life and even develop what others have said is the best parent educator training program they’ve ever attended — even those who are certified in dozens of other parenting curricula.

By this time, my brother’s problems were getting worse, despite every expert my parents consulted, book they read, and approach they tried. There seemed to be a “missing piece,” so they kept searching.

In an effort to help my brother — and others struggling with the problems they faced — my parents both got social service college degrees while I was in high school.

So the reading materials in our home were self-help books and college textbooks on abnormal psychology and other subjects most high school students don’t read!


All three of us graduated the same year, me from high school and they from college.

My first year of college, I went away to school. Honestly, it was to escape my brother and his problems, which were unbearable to live with. Shortly after, my brother finally shared a horrible trauma he experienced when he was only nine-years-old; it was the missing piece of the puzzle!

We didn’t realize it at the time, but the journey we all went on as a result of what happened to him, and how it affected each of us, ended up charting our lives on different paths than any of us would have likely chosenotherwise.

In college, my professors seemed fascinated with my family history, as they would ask me to come to their offices and ask me questions about it. I was even asked to tell my story at a conference of PhD psychology professors my senior year. When I showed up, there several hundred professors there! I couldn’t back out at that point, so I just started talking.


With a first speaking experience like that, everything else seems easy! Little did I know, however, that speaking would become my profession and I’d end up being considered a top-rated speaker and train over 50,000 parents and family professionals worldwide!

During college, I did family-focused research and taught my first parenting class as an intern, years before I was a parent myself. As much as I enjoyed it, I had no idea I’d teach parenting as a career, and would eventually develop my own curriculum!

After college, I worked as a protective service caseworker and realized that many of these parents’ problems could have been prevented if they had learned more effective parenting skills earlier. I gained great compassion for them, as most had abusive or neglectful parents themselves. I realized they really didn’t know any better — but sure wanted to do better, because they truly loved their children.


By now, I was a career-driven Licensed Social Worker and Certified Family Life Educator, not even planning on having children.

Then I met my husband; it was mutual love at first sight. We married and had our first child, who I absolutely fell in love with.

I couldn’t return to my high-stress job and quit, doing odd jobs to make ends meet.

Back then, we didn’t have the internet or Meetup groups. Desperate for adult conversation and support, I called my local paper to take out an ad to meet other moms. To my surprise, they wrote a full-page feature article, which led to my starting a non-profit parent support group called The Family Network, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012.


One day, I was eating lunch with my toddler while watching the noon news and was concerned about some advice given to a parent by an “expert.” I wrote a letter of concern, fearing the child could be abused, and the station called me in. At the end of the meeting, I was shocked to be offered a job as the On-Air Parenting Expert and Assistant Producer of the Ident-a-Kid television series, which won several Emmy-nominations.

How could I have known that would be the beginning of my career as a parenting expert to the media or that I’d give hundreds of interviews in the upcoming decades!

Parents in The Family Network started asking me to teach them what I knew, so I started teaching parenting classes in my living room. I called the class T.I.P.S.: Tools for Improving Parenting Success. Word spread and soon there were waiting lists for the classes. I did this for eight years, while raising my two young children.

Quite unintentionally, I ended up discovering a unique parenting system for preventing common challenges and planning personalized effective responses to problems.

to do what I’m doing
or create what I’ve created.
Parents just kept asking for more and
I created what they asked for!

As a new parent, I did what you probably did: read everything I could get my hands on. Except, I wasn’t just looking for solutions just for me and my children; I was looking for solutions that worked for all the parents I served.


I did and exhaustive eight-year literature research study of hundreds of parenting resources, to find the best tools available.

Since I knew how to recognize inaccurate advice, I weeded out anything that wasn’t backed up by research.

Altogether, I found more than 150 practical tools for how to say and do what the research recommended.

Unfortunately, not one of the resources I found had all the teachings and tools in one place.

So I organized the tools by the type of problem they solved (such as child problems, parent problems, misbehavior, etc.) and called them Toolboxes. Within those, I grouped the tools by the purpose they served (such as building self-esteem, getting cooperation, communicating, disciplining, etc.), and called them Toolsets.

I quickly noticed that if the parents in my classes didn’t learn the tools in a particular order, they had a harder time understanding and using the skills in ways that got the best results. So I had parents read different sections of different books in a particular order, which was rather cumbersome.

Over time, I also realized that if the parents also used the tools in the order that was best to learn them, they got dramatically better results!


All this time, I was raising my own children, trying to live what I teaching. You know, to walk the walk.

Like any young mother I’d have my own moments of frustration or confusion about what to do.

Well, actually, it wasn’t so much that I didn’t know what to do; if I could figure out why my child was acting a certain way, I’d know what to do. But I knew that children could behave in similar ways, for different reasons.

So I would call my husband, who has a degree in engineering physics and is a very logical thinker. After letting me vent, he’d ask me the same questions I asked the parents in my classes.

Every Time, There Were 3 Questions
That Always Revealed
What Type Of Problem I Was Dealing With
(I Found There Were Only 5 Types).
Once I Knew
I Knew Exactly What To Say And Do,
Following A 5-Step Formula Using 5 Key Tools.

When parents learned and used this system — the 3 questions, five steps and best tools — the results they got skyrocketed! Even more surprising was that they reported back that when they tried using the tools in other relationships they worked just as well!

Then, one night in 1992, I woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning with the Universal Blueprint® house diagram and decision-making flowchart in my head. I jumped out of bed and created them on my computer. That was the birth of The Parents Toolshop® and its unique Universal Blueprint® for Parenting Success.


Despite the stories almost every parent told me, I couldn’t believe there could be such a parenting formula, so I kept it a secret, only sharing it with the parents who took my classes.


Then, when my youngest child went to pre-school, I decided to resign from my volunteer position at The Family Network and return to work part-time.

The very first Sunday I looked in the classified ads, there was a part-time position with a non-profit agency who had received a grant to develop a parenting program. I was practically hired on the spot!

Within a year, there were waiting lists to get into the parenting classes and I was getting more speaking requests than I could handle. Other parent educators heard about the results my programs were getting and asked if they could teach them. So in 1993 I started Parents Toolshop® Consulting and began certifying instructors in 1995.


The agency’s grant included the services of a PhD evaluation consultant who custom-designed an outcome-based tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the Parents Toolshop® program.

During the ten years I was employed at this non-profit, thousands of parents from all walks of life attended my parenting classes. We tracked almost 2000 of them and their results were off the charts!

After seeing over ten years of statistically significant results from all these research studies, I no longer questioned the reliability or validity of the Universal Blueprint® System and decided to no longer keep it a secret.



It was only then that I made a conscious decision to pursue a career as a parenting author, speaker and entrepreneur.

On my own time, I turned my class handouts into the first draft of The Parent’s Toolshop® book.

In 2000, I self-published the book nationwide and it won several awards, including being a top-three finalist for the national Ben Franklin award for “Best Self-Published Book by a First-Time Author.”


During the first two years of publication, I gave over 300 media interviews. Many of them were call-in advice shows where I’d have three minutes to hear a parents question (which usually took them 2 minutes to tell), figure out what was happening and give them an insightful, practical workable response to try. It was then that I saw just how powerful the Universal Blueprint® was.

Since the initial research study ended almost 15 years ago, a full 100% of the tens of thousands of parents who have taken a Parents Toolshop® class have given it rave reviews and said they recommend it to others.

Universities have done research projects testing the Universal Blueprint® system and published the results in academic journals.

New research has only confirmed what The Parents Toolshop® teaches. I’ve always known what works, but as new research is explaining why. As a result, very little has changed in what I teach and The Parents Toolshop® has been proven to be a timeless parenting resource parents worldwide can trust.

For 30 years, the Universal Blueprint® has
never failed me or any of the
tens of thousands of parents
who use it consistently and skillfully.

As of today, I’ve personally trained over 50,000 parents from around the world from all walks of life: different races, cultures, incomes, education levels, and family backgrounds.


What I can tell you is that most parents (and professionals!) believe that you have to use trial-and-error to figure out “what works” with your child.


When you have a system, like the Universal Blueprint® and the practical tools it contains, you can prevent many common parenting challenges and find individualized solutions to the problems that arise in your family.

While I do provide one-on-one consultations, I feel like I’m doing parents a disservice when I coach them, especially if they are focusing on one particular problem or child. Once that problem is solved, they need additional coaching to figure out the next solution!

Also, as I hear what they have been doing, I often see little tweaks they could make that could prevent or improvement situation! I can certainly tell them what to do in that situation with that child, but I’m always holding back the temptation to teach them what I know!


That’s because I know that if you simply learn this system, you will be empowered to find your own personalized solutions to each challenge you will ever face, using proven-effective practical tools that are unbelievably simple to use and often get amazing results!

As a parent of two now-grown children, I know the parenting pitfalls to avoid. Even with all the great skills I got from my parents, it didn’t make me a perfect parent or provide me with perfect children. What made the difference was having a reliable system I could fall back on and trust. It might not prevent every problem, but I knew with each problem the Universal Blueprint® would help me find a solution.

So I made it my mission to show parents how small changes in their words and actions can produce dramatic — sometimes even miraculous — results that can help them have stress-free relationships with their children in all areas of their lives.

My Lifelong Experience with Parent Education,
Knack for Seeing Patterns, Developing Systems, and Decades Of Research and Development Can
Save You Time, Frustration And Money
Spent Trying To Put Out Fires With Trial-And-Error



I wish I could do a Vulcan mind meld like Spock did in Star Trek, to instantly transfer my knowledge and skills to you!

What my years of experience has shown me, however, is that parents learn these skills best when they learn them step-by-step, in order, with time to process and practice each skill set. So I admittedly steer everyone towards the advanced training program.

As a Parents Toolshop® graduate you get lifetime support. Once you know the system, problem-solving, coaching and consultation is a breeze! It usually takes minutes, not multiple coaching sessions over several months, which saves you lots of time, money, and frustration in the long-run.

So I invite you to come join the Parents Toolshop® community, where you can:

  • Find Done4U solutions based on this system, so you can get some immediate relieve from whatever problem is vexing you today.
  • Learn the system yourself, so you can prevent future problems and be empowered to find your own personalized solutions forever!
  • Get support from other like-minded parents and Parents Toolshop® Consultants, who have been there and know the system, too.
  • Become a more conscious parent, by taking the most advanced training programs we offer, so you can rebuild or remodel your family and life in a way that turns all your good intentions into reality.

I look forward to getting to know each other soon!