Ask the Experts: Go-to Parenting Resources - MetroFamily Magazine
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Ask the Experts: Go-to Parenting Resources

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We asked local experts to weigh in on their favorite parenting resources.

To find more answers to other common parenting questions, check out our collection of Ask the Experts.

Sunshine Cowan: I vividly remember growing up and hearing my grandma lament about how easy my parents’ generation had it when it came to parenting.

“You have all these books that you can read, and they tell you what to do,” she would say. “We were left to fly by the seat of our pants and figure it out.”

I think on this often and marvel at the luxury of having such amazing resources at our fingertips via the internet and decades of child development research. Given these resources, I imagine my grandma would think it impossible to struggle as a parent today.

Yet I honestly do not know a parent that would say the job of parenting is any easier. It has been described as the toughest job there is for a reason. When parenting feels overwhelming and scary, I’m glad there are go-to resources available. Parenting strategies abound.

With that in mind, I explore several experts, reviewed their research and background, and weigh that information against my own intuition and values. For me, I choose to turn to Dr. Bill Sears and his family team of providers when I felt like I needed some insight. In addition to several books, Dr. Sears has a searchable web site at

Other resources I find handy are:

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) oversees a user-friendly parenting website which offers insight into stages, safety, health issues and more. Begin your search at
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers a site reviewing developmental stages which can be found at
  • While I tend to be particular about only using and recommending sites that are associated with well-known organizations, educational institutions or government agencies focused on health, I made an exception with KellyMom, a site that is overseen by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). There is a great deal of support available for breastfeeding moms. If that includes you, consider visiting
  • The Nemours Foundation oversees KidsHealth, a one-stop shop offering tips for parents, and continues through developmental stages to include topics specifically for kids and teens. This is a resource that has grown with our family. All material at this site includes a “last reviewed by” date as well as the professional reviewer’s name and credentials. Find answers to your questions at, and feel comfortable about sending older children and teens there as well.
  • For our family, learning more about Positive Parenting has been helpful. If you are interested in the research on positive discipline, this resource has a great deal to offer:
  • Research is fairly clear that children are hardwired with their own temperament from the beginning. While we are able to develop our children and help them adapt to situations, we can do little to change their underlying temperament. Parents of strong-willed children (one of our two falls into this category) know their kiddos will be amazing leaders someday. (The joke in our family is that the world needs strong leaders; we hope to survive the raising of one.) You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded) by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias is written from the author’s perspective of being both a strong-willed child herself and the parent of a strong-willed child. She uses her master’s degree in education, her experience as a teacher in the classroom, her experiences in law enforcement and her own spiritual beliefs to outline some tips for parenting a strong-willed child.

Dr. Sunshine Cowan is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma where she coordinates the Community/Public Health program. Although she teaches many courses in her role with the university, one of her favorites is a course on human development. Sunshine has been married to the love of her life, Jerel Cowan, for more than 20 years; together they have two children, Canyon and Ponder.

Dr. Kelly Stephens: I don’t recommend getting all your advice from social media. If you have wise parents or grandparents, they can be a great source of information. A trusted friend with older kids, and lots of experience, can offer a calm, comforting voice and provide empathy and direction if needed.

Dr. Kelly Stephens, III has been practicing for 30 years and specializes in pediatrics at Mercy Clinic Primary Care I-35 Edmond.  He says, “seeing kids grow up and overcome problems, while watching parents get more adept at handling their little bundles of joy, these are the true rewards of my calling.” Learn more about Dr. Stephens at

Uganda Richardson – Whether you are a one parent household or a two, the stress of raising children is inevitable. It can get downright difficult to raise our bundles of joy. These feelings are normal and should be normalized within the context of a support system. Your support system should be anyone you feel safe to share with as an overwhelmed parent. This person or people should allow you to own your feelings, but not wallow in negative emotions with you. This support system will hold your hand, while helping you to feel empowered, encouraged and think positively about your feelings.

If you need a support system, utilize local groups, blogs or websites like or Counseling for yourself or with your spouse is also a good idea to help you reflect and gain insight into persistent feelings of stress, detachment from people around you or changes in mood. A counselor can support you and facilitate healthy thinking.  Or, pick up a supportive book like No-Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.

To find more answers to other common parenting questions, check out our collection of Ask the Experts.

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