You Don't Need to Struggle in the Parenting Trenches Alone

We are here to support you with evidence and empathy.

As parents ourselves, we know how challenging it can be to raise happy and healthy humans. Trying to be the best parent, you use wisdom from family members, smash it together with advice gleaned from your social media, and hope your child turns out ok. 

Let Us Help You Navigate the Art & Science of Parenthood

We have dedicated our careers as psychologists and research scientists to improving families’ well-being. Through decades of this work, we have witnessed the powerful transformation that evidence-based intervention can bring to families.

Through the joys and confusions of parenthood, we were fortunate to rely on these tried and true scientific frameworks to get through the rough patches. As friends and colleagues since grad school we have supported each other as we navigated the many paths into parenting including biological parenthood, adoption, foster parenting,and kinship care.

One day, while juggling a career and a newborn, Jenna was scrolling through the internet and realized something sad and profound:

There is a gap between the information most parents have access to and the rigorously researched tools we knew could give them real peace of mind.

We founded Helping Families Thrive because we believe every parent deserves to use facts, not fiction, to ensure their children live their best lives.

Parenting is Hard Enough

You shouldn't have to deal with contradictory, high-pressure information.

Many overwhelmed parents take to Instagram to find their way through challenges, but most of the information is wrong at best and harmful at worst.


We heard the anxiety in our clients’ voices as they found themselves ping-ponging between various parenting ideologies on the internet and we wanted to help them avoid burnout. After texting screenshots of pseudo-facts and shocked emojis back-and-forth, we decided to take action. We wanted to give families the tools they need to raise their kids more confidently.  

If parents are stressed out, they can't effectively increase positive behaviors in their children.

Through Helping Families Thrive, we use an authentic and humorous approach to layer scientific knowledge with our real-world experiences as parents. We provide you with a compass to cultivate a healthy relationship with your child.

Work with us to realign with your values and make your daily actions consistent with what matters most.

TRUSTED BY EDUCATORS

We can help

Parenting Essentials is Trusted by the Seattle School District's Head Start Program

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

"Shanna is an extraordinary leader. She is insightful, inspiring and real.

She gives so much of herself to the class – from extremely helpful, illuminating and sometimes hilarious examples from her own personal life to extra support when families are struggling – that every family felt completely supported throughout the 18 weeks.” 

justine c.

"Our daughter has absolutely thrived through this program.

She has learned so much about managing her own behavior and responding appropriately to others, and she has gained tremendous awareness of her own emotions and what she can do to help herself get and stay calm, even in challenging times.

alissa g.

Our Amazing Team

Shanna Headshot-2
Shanna Headshot-2

Dr. Shanna Alvarez, Ph.D

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BG7A2493_Original

Dr. Jenna Elgin, Ph.D

Heather Headshot
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Dr. Heather Davis, Ph.D

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