From the Executive Director

I love it when life provides the opportunity to meet new friends! I met a wonderful new friend last week while joining my husband at one of his national meetings. Liann Smith is a parenting expert who holds a certificate in parenting coaching from the Parent Coaching Institute in partnership with Seattle Pacific University. She is the mother of three adult daughters and has worked with families and children as a ministry director, teacher and coach for more than 17 years. Liann and I talked about how important it is to have healthy parenting principles when our children are small because they serve us well when we move through the empty-nest years into adult-to-adult relationships. I asked Liann if she could provide some guidelines for parenting college-aged adults, and she was kind enough to send me the following information to share with you!

Helping your college student transition from your home environment to a college environment is a challenge on a number or levels. One parenting tool that has helped many families is from The Love and Logic® Institute. It is a time-tested practical tool that enables children own their problems. Name the problem – low balance in their café account, lack of transportation or social struggles. No matter what, at the age of your college student, it is our job as parents to assist them in realizing that the problem is theirs! If they are not given the honor and respect to own their problems, they get stuck in a dependant relationship with their parents. So what’s the tool? It is called Ownership of the Problem. There are four simple steps to use any time your student brings a problem to you. Let’s look at an example: The situation is your child calls you announcing their great need for more money to be deposited into their Bon Appetit spending account. Here are the steps for your child to own the problem:

Step one: Use empathy. This approaches the child with a limited amount of words but reflects compassion. A great empathetic one-liner that Love and Logic® recommends is “bummer,” check out a whole list of one-liners:

Step Two: Ask your child a simple question: “What do you think you should do about that?” Or, you could ask, “What options do you feel you have?”

Step Three: Ask your child if they want to brainstorm some ideas. The key here is that you are not solving the problem. If you have agreed to put money in the account on the first of every month, stick to that boundary, be sure to use a lot of empathy as you are reminding about the limit.

Step Four: Allow your child to solve it or not solve it. This is a great opportunity to step back and let the natural consequences teach your child.

This sounds simple, but if a child is not use to solving life’s obstacles it might be a difficult experience for them. No matter how uncomfortable they are, in the end they will feel a sense of accomplishment when they have stood on their own two feet with you on the sideline in support.

For more great resources, visit Liann’s website at
Impact Parenting offers Love and Logic® classes and one-on-one parenting coaching for all parents no matter the age of their children. These can be done over the Internet using Skype or “Go-To-Meeting,” or face-to-face in Liann’s Seattle office.

Liann has a passion for supporting and equipping parents to raise responsible children and maintain a great relationship with them along the way! If you would like to speak with her personally, she can be reached at 425-890-2081 or

I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you at Family Weekend!

Sheri Philips
Executive Director of University Relations