Alan’s Parent-Coach Journey


Seventeen years ago I was embarking on a new role in the field of education when our daughter, Sarah, was born. I was leaving a career as a high school health education teacher and was beginning a second career as a middle school guidance counselor. The intersection of these two events led me to reflect on my life as an educator/leader, and I reached two conclusions.

First, I had a great relationship with some kids, but a lousy relationship with others. I sometimes would find myself in power struggles with certain children when facing certain behaviors or attitudes. That would have to stop. I would have to appreciate all children regardless of their behavior. All of the students that I guided and counseled would have to know that I cared about them through my words and actions.

Next, I knew in my heart that I would love my newborn daughter unconditionally, but I also knew I had to make certain changes to be the very best father I could be. Until her birth I had coached high school basketball, but my pursuit of excellence in coaching would interfere with my role as a parent. We are all given one chance to raise our kids as well as possible and Sarah would need to be the priority in my life.

Leading up to Sarah’s birth and in the first year of her life, I prepared myself to be a parent educator. Not only for myself, but for the families in my school.  I became certified to facilitate The Positive Parenting Program offered through the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and read a dozen child development and parenting books by experts such as John Rosemond, Jim Fay, Alfie Kohn, and Jane Bluestein.

Taking into account the wisdom I gained from working with kids and my research, in addition to my desire to be the best dad possible for Sarah, I entered my parent education work with this hypothesis: if parents follow a basic core philosophy that places the parent/child relationship above power struggles, they will have an amazing relationship with their great kids. No excuses.

Futhermore, I wanted to go beyond simple parenting tips and develop parenting theories that worked with strong-willed children, children with ADHD, children with anger management issues and children with a host of other challenges. Every parent/child relationship has the potential to be warm, loving and deeply fulfilling. No one should be left out.

Finally, my theories were more than professional hypotheses. Parent education had become personal: failure with my own daughter was simply not an option. How could I stand before people and tell them what would work and what would not work unless it absolutely led to kids being responsible, self-disciplined, loving, caring, respectful people?

So I made myself a promise: I would facilitate parent education courses only as long as I could hold my own daughter up as a model for what all kids can become.

My hypothesis is now a proof. Sarah is kind, loyal, hard working, responsible, goal-oriented, respectful, appreciative, and wants to make the world a better place.  Professionally, I have worked with hundreds of parents in one form or another, and I honestly believe that each one is a better parent as a result.

Simply stated, working with parents to improve the parent/child relationship is my calling. It’s my passion. I am dedicated with all my heart to the parents I work with and the incredible relationship they will soon have with their children.


Name: Alan Carson

Degrees:  B.S. Health/Phys Ed; M.Ed, Health; M.Ed. School Counseling; Parent Coach certification through ACPI

Career:  high school health teacher and basketball coach; middle school guidance counselor; parent educator

Family:  wife Suzanne (art teacher); daughter Sarah, 16

Favorite Book: The Second Family by Ron Taffel

Favorite Quote: One of the most dangerous forms of human error is forgetting what one is trying to achieve. - Paul Nitze, statesman

My Favorite Links: