Golden Rule

Have you ever felt helpless as your toddler threw a tantrum in the cookie aisle? Do you want to know how to get your 4-year-old to sleep in her own bed? Ever wish there was some way to communicate better (or at all) with your 13-year-old son?

The Golds make quality time together a priority

Parent coach Tammy Gold and daughter Presley.

At home with daughters Braydin and Presley, Tammy Gold takes her own advice—“Give them your all when you're with them.”

Enter Tammy Gold, 34, licensed psychotherapist, life coach, parent coach, and Short Hills’ own Supernanny. During stints working with children and their families at hospitals and mental health clinics, Gold discovered that some children had simply fallen victim to mistakes made by parents who—though well-meaning—didn’t have the proper education. “These parents just needed a different way to deal with their kids,” Gold explains. “[One of] my 30-minute sessions couldn’t undo years of negative parenting.”

Gold became a mom for the first time four years ago. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, has a master’s in social work from Columbia University, and admits that all the degrees in the world couldn’t have prepared her for first-time motherhood. Her daughter, Braydin, suffered from colic and reflux (and cried for six hours at a time). Meanwhile, Gold was working part-time at a school for emotionally disturbed children in Bloomfield, and her husband, Jason, was drained from his job as CEO of a hedge fund.

“I was struggling, and I wondered how people without my background were doing,” she says. “When you’re sitting with a screaming baby in your lap, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in Irvington or Short Hills, whether you have $5 million in the bank or just 5 cents to your name. We all feel that same sense of hopelessness when our newborn is crying and we’re the only person who can stop it.”

Gold found herself stretched too thin between work and the little girl clinging to her leg on her way out the door, so she decided to make Braydin her profession. She began logging her daughter’s eating and sleeping patterns, became an expert on Braydin’s medical conditions, and dusted off her grad-school books to study how children progress emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally. She left her job and spent a year becoming certified and accredited in coaching, and that’s when Gold Parent Coaching was born.

“When I buy a laptop, I get a manual, a phone number, and a website for help—but when I leave the hospital with a baby, I get nothing,” Gold says. “A mom with a PhD. and an investment-banker dad need the same support as the sixth-grade-educated inner-city mom. It’s the most difficult job on the planet, and yet there’s no schooling for it.”

Until now. Gold Parent Coaching works one-on-one with moms and dads to manage some of the most common parenting problems—from temper tantrums and unpredictable sleep patterns to shaky communication with turbulent teenagers.
“I combined the therapy aspect for parents to vent and process their feelings, and then the coaching to get tangible results,” she explains.

Gold and her team also assist parents with their screening process when hiring a nanny or babysitter, and she offers training and guidance to those caregivers to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

“A nanny is the most important ‘purchase’ you’ll ever make,” she says. “You want to mimic each other’s styles so your child can always feel connected to mom and dad, even when you’re not there.”

To give busy parents the support they need, Gold is determined to meet parents where they are—literally. She will hold meetings with parents in their living rooms, at her office, or even at a nearby Starbucks.

Gold recently became a mom again to baby girl Presley, and admits that juggling parenthood with running her own business—even one with such flexibility—isn’t always easy. She and her husband are constantly hiding each other’s BlackBerries—everyone needs a techno break sometimes—and like many working mothers, she has had to find that delicate balance between family and career. To make it work, the Golds “run [their] household like a business,” she says. That includes carving out special family time every morning just to be together, rotating work schedules around the girls’ appointments and special events, and making an effort to ignore the phone and computer when spending time with their daughters.

“It’s about the quality of time you spend together. Give them all of you when you’re with them,” she advises, “and you can take time for yourself.”

In addition to working one-on-one with families, Gold lectures and leads support groups at local clubs and groups for moms, like the New Jersey Holistic Moms Network and the Postpartum Place in Chatham; participates in luncheons for Baby Bites, a social and educational community; and volunteers at a domestic violence shelter. She writes parenting columns (;, has been quoted in a host of magazines as a parenting expert, and makes appearances on MSNBC and ABC News.

“A lot of parents see asking for help as a sign of weakness, but if I took a job as computer programmer, then I better get some help because I know nothing about computers. Well, how many parents know about the cognizant development of a child,” she says.

“There’s no training for this, and [there are] so many pitfalls for parents and, unfortunately, their children to bear. It just seems so unnecessary to me; there’s nothing more important than parenting.


The Golds make quality time  together a priority

The Golds make quality time together a priority.

Fulfill Yourself First: No parent can give 100 percent of themselves 100 percent of the time to their children or to their partner. Whether it’s working, volunteering, or simply finding the time to read a good book, parents need to remember what makes them who they are and what they need emotionally and physically—aside from their family—to live a complete life.

Seek Support: Parenting can be an isolating experience, so you should connect with others with whom you can be honest and share your feelings. These connections will help get you through the tough times, and always remind you that you’re not alone.

Create a Schedule: Both adults and children benefit greatly from a routine, so be sure to implement a schedule that the whole family can follow. Make sure items such as bed, bath, and homework are consistent each day, so children will feel more in control and prepared for what comes next.

No Comparison: You are the best parent to your children. It doesn’t matter which parents can work full-time and which can stay at home. Your children don’t care what other parents can manage—they only care about you. Listen to others, but always trust your gut, because only you know what’s best for your children.

One Day at a Time: What’s here today could be gone tomorrow, so save your energy for what matters. Choose your battles wisely, and aim to do the best you can one day at a time—you’ll ease the pressure on yourself, and learn to focus on the positives of each day.

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