About Penny G. Davis

Penny Davis, parenting specialist

I began my professional career as a social worker in the Child Protective Services field, working with birth families as well as with foster and adoptive parents. After moving to California from Canada in 1977, I coordinated a school-based counseling program serving high risk children and their families, as well as providing training for students, administrators and parents, for a non-profit agency. I then developed and implemented another school-based program at the same agency, providing classes to pregnant and parenting teens.

I’ve been an adjunct faculty member in the Child Development Department of a community college since 1986, where I still teach a full semester class entitled Parent--Child Interaction. I currently hold a full time position at a second community college as Director of the Foster and Kinship Care Education program. This program provides continuing education classes and workshops for licensed foster parents, kinship providers and others.

I have an Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Alberta in Canada (eh), and a Master of Arts degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, CA.

I have two grown daughters, two grown stepchildren, and two grandchildren. I currently live with my husband Barry, in southern California.

My path to ‘Parent Educator’ began in 1978 when I was asked by my employer at the non-profit counseling center, to attend a ‘Training for Trainers’ in order to be able to provide parent education classes to birth parents whose children had been removed by Child Protective Services. The class prepared me to teach ‘Systematic Training for Effective Parenting’ (S.T.E.P), and it altered my life forever – both as a professional and as a new parent. My first daughter was just a year old at the time, and what I learned in the class completely changed my viewpoint on children and parenting. The S.T.E.P program was based on the philosophy of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs (as is Positive Discipline), and once I began practicing the theories and methods with my own child and sharing them with parents, I was hooked. I had found my life’s purpose. In the late 70s and early 80’s, not many people were attending parent education classes other than foster parents, and birth families who were mandated by the courts to do so. In fact, in 1986 when I began teaching 8-week parenting classes at the community college, I would beg (and sometimes bribe) friends, relatives, neighbors, and often people I barely knew, to enroll in the class, in order to have the numbers necessary to hold the class. It took many years for this class to gain in popularity, and for people to realize that perhaps parenting, like most other skills, is something we can learn how to do more effectively. Eventually the class had so many attendees, it became 2 classes, and then from 8 weeks in length to a full semester (18 weeks). It has now become a required class for many of the early childhood certificates offered at the college.

In 2001, I read Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen, and fell in love with the Adlerian philosophy all over again. I was so impressed by her personable writing style and the stories of her own journey with her children. In 2002, Jane was the keynote speaker at a conference close to my home. I attended her presentation and, at lunch had the opportunity to chat with her and 3 of her Positive Discipline Associates. As we talked, she was thrilled that I had been teaching parenting using the Adlerian philosophy, and she encouraged me to consider becoming a Certified Positive Discipline Associate through the national Positive Discipline Association. I was excited at this new opportunity, and within eight months had completed the training necessary to do just that. I continued teaching parenting classes, using Positive Discipline, and also began to train parent educators and other professionals in Positive Discipline. The rest is history.

In the past five years, I have focused a great deal of reading and research on the impact of chronic abuse and/or neglect on attachment, brain development and behavior. I am passionate about sharing this important information and it’s ‘fit’ with Positive Discipline. I have presented this material at many conferences and seminars in California and throughout the nation.

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