Educator seeks to guide adults through parenting process

Parenting a toddler going through his “terrible twos” can be overwhelming, but area resident Karen Purves is here to guide parents through the process.

Through her nonprofit, Secure Parenting, Purves plans pilot parenting courses from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays starting April 12 and 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays starting April 13. Location information will be disclosed during registration.

The eight-week sessions are designed for parents of toddlers 20 to 40 months old and are set to cover building trust and closeness, responding sensitively, communicating effectively and more.

“During this age range, the neural pathways in the toddlers’ brains form a sense of security or shame,” Purves said. “The foundation of feeling secure leads this whole trajectory of them having better grades, fewer colds, less teen sex, fewer divorces. The correlations can be followed over the course of decades.”

Parents are scheduled to learn the concepts during the first portion of the class while a certified caregiver watches the children. During the last portion, parents will reunite with their children for on-site coaching, feedback and role play.

“The whole course is about emotional regulation,” Purves said. “We’re teaching parents how to deal with emotionally difficult situations because the goal is to have their children feel seen, safe, soothed and secure.”

After having a “midlife crisis,” Purves pursued creating the nonprofit instead of continuing a masters degree in positive developmental psychology. She used what would have been her tuition money and put it toward Secure Parenting.

“I was raised by people who were completely emotionally dismissive, so I’ve been living a set trajectory of pain and unhealthy emotional choices,” Purves said. “I thought, ‘How can I use my pain to help prevent future children from feeling the same way?’ I know my pain, and I know how to prevent it; I just need the parents to get to the kids.”

Southwest Las Vegas resident Sarah Tung participated in Purves’ previous pilot class after hearing about it through Facebook.

“I learned a lot about the psychological development of children,” Tung said. “Understanding what happens at different stages allows you to understand what’s going on in their minds so you can choose the right parenting style.”

Tung plans to retake the course with her husband and two sons, Samson and Thaddeus.

“My son, Sam, would talk about how I was going to class to be a better mommy, and he appreciated the effort,” she said. “The classes weren’t about making the adults feel guilty. Everyone understood that we’re doing the best we can for the little ones that mean the most to us.”

Class participant Robyn Rohlffs said she appreciated how Purves provided theory and applicable information.

“All these theories are nice, but when the rubber meets the road, I need to know what I say to my child,” Rohlffs said. “(Purves) corrected misinformation that’s passed down through the generations. She brings in the science of how children’s brains develop and then helps you color the way you should handle a given situation.”

Purves is a certified parenting counts educator through Teaching Strategies. She studied interpersonal neurobiology through Portland State University and participates in a monthly professional study group with Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, a co-author of two parenting books.

“Based on the pilot classes, I’m conducting a scientific experiment research study,” Purves said. “Through pre- and post-information collected from the parents, we will be publishing the results so we can prove statistically what works.

“We hope to provide parents with the knowledge and choices that build a foundation of security for their toddlers.”

For more information or to register, visit or contact Purves at or 702-724-4912.

To reach Henderson View reporter Caitlyn Belcher, email or call 702-383-0403. Find her on twitter: @caitlynbelcher.

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