Online Parenting Classes

For more information please call 860-933-1371, email,

To improve parent-child relationships, reduce conflict, and increase cooperation

  • Positive discipline: cooperation and self-worth
  • Emotional intelligence: teach and model
  • School success: structure and praise that work
  • Happy Kids: raising optimism and resilience
  • Money and kids: raise financially responsible children
  • Mealtimes: End the power struggles

“Ruth’s webinars are full of real-life scenarios with concrete techniques to use with children immediately. She explains why the child is exhibiting a behavior and what to do about it in a nonjudgmental way. The focus is not on harsh discipline, but empathy and kindness–towards the child AND the parent.”

–Beth, corporate

Demonstrated effectiveness

A research evaluation conducted at the University of Connecticut found that Ruth’s webinars increased parents’ sense of control and competence with their children, reduced the use of ineffective discipline methods, and increased the
level of support parents felt in facing their everyday lives. According to participants,

  • 74% focus more on children’s positive behavior
  • 70% have more family harmony at home

Ruth Ettenberg Freeman, LCSW has taught positive parenting skills for 30 years to thousands of parents from all walks of life. With honesty, humor, and compassion, Ruth shares her knowledge and insights about parenting, as well as her real-life blunders and successes as a parent, stepparent, foster parent, and grandparent.

Ruth coauthored a parent trainers’ curriculum and is the co-founder of the CT Parenting Education Network. Her most significant accomplishments are the relationships she enjoys today with the magnificent young adults she had the privilege of helping to raise. They patiently taught her the most important things she knows about parenting.

“If you have not been to one of Ruth’s seminars, I strongly suggest it. She is fabulous. I don’t know anyone who did not walk away from her workshop enlightened and feeling better about parenting.” Sara M. Kleinman, parent liaison

A research evaluation conducted at the University of Connecticut demonstrated that Ruth’s webinars had significant impact by

  • Reducing dysfunctional parental discipline practices (including parental hostility)
  • Increasing parents’ sense of control and competence with their children
  • Increasing the level of support parents feel in facing their everyday lives

Webinar: Happy Home, Happy Life

registernowRegister now to learn tactics on Keeping the Peace in your Home.

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Ruth Needs to Go National!

Wow – Ruth needs to go national. Where is the Oprah show when you need it!

I am getting calls from all over the country today since the eCard went out. Not only CT and AZ but Texas, Florida and New York to name a few. I have spoken to some very nice people with charming accents from all regions of the US. (Unfortunately the webinar is full and I can’t give them what they want – which is RUTH!)

I just wanted you to know how popular you are!

– Corporate Wellness Center Concierge

What is your most important job as a parent?

Parents focus a lot on good behavior. Many spend so much energy on compliance that it seems they believe they can measure their worth as parents by how well their kids behave. If my kids do what I want, when I want it, then I must be a good parent.

I see it differently. I have watched in amazement as my daughter, stepson , foster son and other significant friends and family members take on adult life. In almost all cases, there was plenty for us to worry about as we watched the teen years before their “launch.” The transition to autonomy for each these young people was unique and again, not without doubts on all our parts.

However, as I observed them conjuring up their life dreams or just falling without plans into adult roles, I realized that one characteristic was the key – how each young person thought and felt about him or herself. Self-worth is at the foundation of all of our decisions and actions. It guides our daily behavior and our long term dreams.

When you listen to young children, they all seem to come into the world with strong self-worth . “I am going to be an astronaut.” “I love to paint.” “I am a good friend.” They have the courage to try new things and do them imperfectly. Just the persistence to keep getting up and trying to walk involves a whole lot of belief in yourself! Not worrying about the number of times you fall and being willing to try again is evidence of good, solid self-worth.

Sadly, it seems that as children get older, the grownups’ efforts to shape and polish young ones results in diminished courage and confidence.

Self-worth has two parts:

Self-concept – your thoughts and ideas about yourself (I am smart, I am inferior, I’m helpful, I run fast, I am bad at math, I can’t spell)

Self-esteem – your feelings about yourself (I am proud of myself, I am worried about who I am, I feel bad about myself, I am excited to be who I am)

Caroline Graduation-65Children with strong self-worth have a good idea about who they are. Strong self-worth does not mean that children believe they are superior to others or good at everything they do. They have realistic ideas about their strengths, capacities, gifts, talents and challenges. Most importantly, children with strong self-worth feel enthusiastic about developing these abilities and creating goals that involve their strengths. They can admire the abilities of others and work with them because they don’t have to be perfect. They are happy with who they really are.

I sometimes wonder what would be my “elevator speech” about parenting. You know, if I had just one elevator ride with a parent I didn’t know, what would I tell them? After all these years, it is this:

Your most important job as a parent is to protect and strengthen your child’s self-worth. Every interaction with your child, your words, your tone of voice, and your body language are all either putting money in their self-worth piggy bank or taking it out. Threatening and punishing in order to achieve compliance can often negatively affect self-worth. Take time to think before you act, take a deep breath and keep that goal of strong self worth in mind.

Celebrate fathers and how they are different from mothers!

IMG_0888 Happy Father’s Day! Here are two of my favorite fathers – my husband Joe and his son, my stepson, Benjamin.

Joe is doing here what dads hopefully do well – taking delight in his son! What I love about Joe as a father is the way he shows his children respect and compassion. What I love about Ben as a father is his consistent  commitment to his children’s well-being and his willingness to share his passion for sports with all of his boys. Ben taught me how to be a stepmother and it took him a long time (but that’s a whole other blog topic!)

Fathers and mothers are different. That may seem self-evident, but in fact, I sometimes worry that mothers who love parenting class will go home and try to turn the fathers in their lives into mothers. While research only captures trends and there is little comparable data on same sex parents, I think you will appreciate this description from a well respected study on the difference between mothers and fathers:

Alert, fed, comfortable babies, when approached by their mothers, tended to relax, coo, and modulate their breathing and cardiovascular responses-as if to sort of say, “Ah, here’s Mom.” Then when the father approached, the babies’ eyes tended to open, the shoulders would go up and the heart and respiratory systems were activated rather than calmed, as if to say, “Here’s Dad, let’s party!” (Pruett, in Louv, 2002)

Consider these differences that research suggests you may want to celebrate: Mothers tend to nurture, dads tend to play. Before you dismiss the importance of play, think about its functions. That crazy “wrestling” on the floor actually helps strengthen brain synapses. Play teaches collaboration, negotiation and thinking skills. Play is how children learn and grow.

Mothers talk, fathers do. Mothers tend to ask questions, mothers tend to repeat themselves, mothers tend to discuss personal issues more than fathers. In contrast fathers focus more on physical play and activities and tend to do unconventional behaviors like joking around and slapstick humor. Mothers are inclined to protect and understand. Fathers often express high expectations and encourage children to deliver on those demands. Their words tend to be more direct and demanding than mothers’ inquiries and explanations.

Here’s what’s important – children benefit from both ways of seeing the world. When children have both mothers and fathers in their lives, they tend to be more confident and more competent. And keep in mind that fathers don’t have to be the biological kind – supporting relationships between children and their grandfathers, uncles, stepfathers and other significant male caregivers is important. So moms, on this Father’s Day be sure to tell dad, and remind the children to tell dad, all the things they love and appreciate about him – even if some of those things are so darn different from the way you see the world!

The fathers and mothers that you are or that you know may not fall into these categories – tell us about how you are similar or different from your child’s other parent.