I am so happy to be sharing with you one a powerful conversation with my friend Susan Stiffelman. Susan, who is a family and marriage counselor, a psychotherapist, and a former teacher, is a wonderfully supportive presence in the parenting space. At the heart of Susan’s work is her book Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected, and that is exactly what we’re going to be talking about today — how to avoid power struggles with our children and tap into that calm energy even in the midst of challenges and rising conflict in a way that supports not only our children, but us as well.

Susan also hosts the Parenting Without Power Struggles Podcast, runs regular webinars for parents, supports parents through her membership community, and co-hosts regular calls for parents who are co-parenting with a narcissist. She is dedicated to supporting parents in finding more peace in their journey, and after listening to this conversation, I have no doubt that she’ll have amassed many more fans. This is an episode that’s perfect for those of you out there, like me, who are challenged to maintain a sense of calm in difficult moments, especially ones that trigger our own emotional reaction. 


About Susan: Susan Stiffelman is a marriage and family therapist, a credentialed teacher, and a licensed psychotherapist. For over 30 years, Susan has worked with families to create greater harmony and deeper connection between parents and children. Susan also delivers weekly parenting advice for the Huffington Post as their “Parent Coach.” Susan believes that children need to know that they can depend on their parents to guide them through the ups and downs of their lives. Just as a Captain is able to navigate rough and stormy seas, parents are meant to function as their child’s best source of comfort and direction by confidently steering the ship!

Susan is regularly featured in print and broadcast media, including NBC’s Today Show, The Boston Globe, Parents magazine, Gaiam TV and the Los Angeles Times. For the past two years, Susan has hosted four-day Parenting With Presence summits featuring guests like Dr. Jane Goodall, Arianna Huffington, Congressman Tim Ryan, and Alanis Morissette. Susan is the author of the bestselling book, Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids (An Eckhart Tolle Edition). Susan has delivered her parenting guidance throughout the world, from Paris to New York, Tel Aviv to Senegal. She has a worldwide network of parents that rely on her advice and support via her popular newsletter and Facebook posts, Skype sessions, and online courses. Susan is based in Los Angeles where she maintains a small, private therapy practice.



  • What is at the root of most power struggles between parents and kids
  • The three roles parents can play —the lawyer, the dictator, and the captain of the ship — and why it’s the latter role that we want to play
  • How to project “captain of the ship” calm and steady energy, even if we don’t feel it
  • Why parents want to work toward becoming detached from outcomes concerning our kids
  • Why it’s critical that our children develop secure attachment to parents and other adults in their lives, and how to do that
  • How to respond to our children’s demands and requests in a way that doesn’t result in conflict
  • The importance of questioning the meaning we’re making from our child’s reactions and emotions
  • How parents can mitigate harm that may stem from a teacher not “seeing” who our child is






Read through the whole episode!






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