Parent Coaching

Although we offer conventional individual and family therapy, the primary focus of our practice is parenting. We spend much of our time providing support — both strategic and emotional — to parents navigating the ups and downs of raising young children. Below are some of the most common challenges (alphebetized!), but it’s by no means an exhaustive list. We are here with the strategies you need so you don’t have to go it alone.

  • Bedtime and sleep problems

    You want to begin sleep training your four-month-old, but you’re not sure which approach is best for your baby (or for you). Your eight-month old baby was sleeping through the night, but now he’s up every two hours, and barely napping during the day. Your four-year-old outright refuses to go to sleep, and no matter how many times you tuck her in, she continues to wander out of her room complaining she's "thirsty." And, as if your child’s sleep issues aren’t enough, you yourself are so exhausted you can hardly function.

    Get the information and tools you need to come up with a bedtime/sleep plan that suits the needs not only of your child, but also of your whole family.

  • Behavior management (tantrums, defiance, whining)

    Your 18-month-old won’t stop banging his fork on the table and throwing food on the floor. Your two-year-old hasn't stopped tantruming since Halloween (and it's Thanksgiving!). Your three-year-old has started hitting her brother. And no matter how many times you tell your 4-year-old that he has to brush his teeth, he throws himself on the floor in protest every single time. You are trying to explain to your child why she cannot have five cupcakes in one sitting -- for breakfast -- but it is not working.

    Learn evidence-based strategies for managing behavior in ways that match your individual parenting style and meet the specific needs of your family.

  • Bonding challenges

    You want so badly to feel connected to your baby, but you just don’t – or, at least, not as much as everyone else seems to. Sometimes, the little one in your arms feels like a stranger – who is she and how did this happen? – and, though you may be ashamed to admit it, you sometimes think about how much easier things were before she was born.

    Find out how to untangle these complicated emotions so that the relationship between you and your baby can grow better and stronger.

  • Brief parent therapy

    Your heart starts to pound each time your baby cries, even though you know there’s nothing to feel anxious about. Your toddler’s behaviors get so far under your skin that you fear you may explode. You have strange and intrusive thoughts when you’re with your child; you don’t know where they come from or what they’re about. Perhaps you have been in your own therapy before, or perhaps not; regardless, you’re not interested in that right now.

    Through brief individual work (3-5 sessions), gain insight into what parenting is bringing up for you, and learn coping strategies that allow you to be more present and attuned to your child.

  • Coping with Illness/Death

    How to tell a child that a relative or friend is seriously ill or has died can be an excruciating task for parents. We work with families to find developmentally appropriate language that feels comfortable for them and to recognize what grieving typically looks like in children (it looks very different from grown ups). Unfortunately, we have had experience helping parents not only support their children when a pet, grandparent, or older relative has died, but also in tragic circumstances involving teachers, parents of classmates, and peers. Our goal is for parents to develop the tools and comfort they need to talk about illness and death with their children, as well as to manage the anxiety and difficult emotions – theirs and their child’s – that often accompany loss.

  • Divorce

    When parents decide to separate, they frequently have questions about how/when/where to tell their children and the developmentally appropriate language to use. Often parents believe that their children "won't notice" the change at first, or will accept an explanation that one parent is on an extended trip. This can lead to an escalation in anxiety for children, as they are sponges and pick up on EVERYTHING.

    We help parents think proactively about how to navigate the process of separation and divorce while simultaneously prioritizing the emotional security and resilience of their children. We continue to offer support as families face new challenges, such as how to co-parent effectively, potentially introduce new partners, and manage the logistics of two homes, all while keeping children’s wellbeing front of mind.

  • Early childhood development

    Your 18-month-old isn’t picking up words as quickly as the other toddlers on the playground, and isn’t making eye contact. Your two-year-old seems to run at full-throttle all the time, constantly craving activity and physical stimulation. You keep hearing mixed messages and need a bit of guidance (from experts, not your mother-in-law).

    Early intervention can be incredibly helpful for many young children with developmental vulnerabilities. We are available for initial screenings and play-based observations. We also have a vast network of resources to help parents identify delays and to get connected to appropriate services when needed.

  • Early childhood fears

    Your two-year-old melts down every time he sees a bug. Your four-year-old shrieks and cries when a dog passes on the street. And no matter how carefully you check the bedroom closet for monsters, you’re clearly not doing a good enough job.

    Imaginary fears were trouble enough before your child heard something scary in the news, or learned of a relative’s illness. Now she can’t stop asking questions you don’t know how to answer.

    Learn tools to comfort your child when she most needs it, and help her to develop the skills to cope with the fears that are a normal part of getting bigger. We can also help you recognize when your child's anxiety may be outside of the norm and requires some additional strategies and support.

  • Eating concerns

    Your toddler just won’t eat, or will eat only six different foods that are cooked to his precise specifications. You were never trained as a personal chef and have no desire to start now. You can’t continue to put this much time and energy into mealtime, but the alternative – your child’s not eating at all – is so much worse.

    Learn how to help your child foster a healthy relationship with food, and strategies for restoring calm to your kitchen table.

  • Emotion Regulation

    Your child goes from 0-60 in ten seconds flat, seemingly out of the blue. When he's angry he spins out of control, and when he's sad he totally falls apart. Sometimes even when he's happy, he works himself into an excited frenzy that can be hard to contain.

    Learn how to help your child manage when he gets overwhelmed by emotions that are "too big" and teach him tools that he can use to begin to regulate his own feelings.

  • Family transitions (new sibling, moving, return to work)

    You’re expecting a new baby, and you’re worried about how your preschooler is going to react to her baby sister. You've been at home with the kids for two years, and you're about to return to work full-time. You're moving out of the city, where your child's whole life will be different.

    Learn how to navigate the challenge of family transitions, so that you have the developmentally appropriate tools to support your children during times of change or difficulty.

  • Infant care (soothing)

    Your infant will not stop crying. You’ve read the books and tried it all, but nothing is working. Why do all these other parents have babies who are able to stay calm, even if only in the carrier, stroller, or car? Every day, you dread the “witching hour;” the stress is taking a substantial toll.

    Learn how to decipher the reasons behind the fussiness, and develop the tools you need to calm your baby (and yourself) down.

  • Mediation

    In addition to our parenting work, Dr. Locker is also a trained mediator, certified by the New York State Unified Court System. In this capacity, she meets with individuals experiencing conflict with a spouse, partner, sibling, friend or co-worker, offering both support and guidance in the process to find meaningful resolution. She has a particular expertise working with parents who are entering the beginning phases of separation and divorce, who need assistance navigating a clear path that best protects the emotional experiences of their children.

  • New parenthood (baby blues, post-partum depression and anxiety)

    You’re exhausted, both physically and emotionally. You’re putting off returning calls, and skipping activities you once enjoyed. Both your sense of self and close relationships seem to have taken a hit, and you’re not sure why. You’re always tearing up, and the smallest things get you angry.

    How do you nurture yourself during this time, when there are so many obstacles to doing so? You’d like to navigate the transition more smoothly, but right now you can’t even seem to navigate making sure your shoes end up on the right feet each morning.

    Through a customized combination of traditional therapy techniques, relaxation strategies, and concrete planning tools, learn to navigate this unique journey.

  • Parenting disagreements (discipline)

    You know your 21-month-old needs firm limits, but your partner prefers to negotiate with her. Or your partner was spanked as a child, and doesn’t understand why you have such an aversion to this method; after all, he ended up just fine. One day your partner is the good cop, and the next day you are – your approaches seem to depend more on the moods you’re each in than on your child’s behavior.

    Learn to work together – along with other caregivers, as desired (e.g., grandparents, nannies) – to find an approach to disciplining your child that is collaborative, effective, and feels comfortable to all parties involved.

  • Separation and Stranger Anxiety

    Your three-year-old clings to your leg every single morning during drop-off. Your four-year-old hides behind her father during birthday parties, long after all of the other kids are off playing and enjoying themselves. As if this wasn’t hard enough, now even grandparents and close family friends make your child nervous.

    Get the information you need to determine whether your child’s anxiety is normal, and the tools to help him (and you) manage separations successfully.

  • Sibling issues

    You feel like a referee more than you do a parent. Your voice is getting hoarse, and you don’t care who started it. You do your best not to play favorites, but your older one is such an instigator. And you’re worried about your younger one in general, given how outgoing and successful his sister is in comparison.

    Learn to foster a home environment in which your children can grow up to be allies rather than rivals, viewing themselves and each other as adding unique and important value to the family as a whole.

  • Toilet training

    Your two-year-old is ready for the potty – you think. Your four-year-old keeps having accidents at preschool. You’ve read the books and talked to friends, and your head is spinning from all of the different advice out there.

    Learn about the important factors to consider when toilet training (timing, different parenting styles, the personality of your child), and a step-by-step approach to getting children out of diapers. Come to see toilet training not as a source of dread, but as an exciting, and even fun, developmental milestone.