Becoming a parent is a pivotal moment in a life. Many unexpected and exciting times are experienced from birth until well after the child leaves the nest. For many, the day-to-day tasks of parenting can be rewarding as well as challenging and even overwhelming. How many times have you felt guilty about your frustrations and wished for easy answers? Or felt unprepared, unable to care for and/or give support to your child through the years ahead? At the Option Institute we will help you to feel at ease. We have helped countless individuals and couples to feel fully capable of being the best parent possible and to enjoy each moment of the incredible adventure of parenthood.

What are the Challenges Parents Face?

“Before I got married, I had 6 theories about bringing up children. Now I have 6 children and no theories.”

— John Wilmot, English Poet

Have you ever wished that your children came with an instruction manual? If so, you’re not alone. According to the U.S Census Bureau (2010), there are 77 million family households in the U.S., and 37 million of these households have children under the age of 18.

Although being a parent is a dream anticipated with excitement by many, oftentimes, the dream is not matched by practical application. What looked natural and easy from a distance now seems complex and difficult in reality. We could say that this challenge is the result of the inherent difficulty of parenting, or we can search for a completely different understanding of parenting. We choose the second option.

How the Option Institute Can Help with Parenting

We believe that parenting can be made not only reasonable, but a wondrous adventure and a most fulfilling life experience. We have found that when parents are grounded by clear principles, they have a sense of purpose and focus which acts like a rudder in a storm. Without a strong grounding in guiding parenting principles, we have to invent a whole new rationale and solution for every challenge we face. We certainly aren’t the first ones to advocate for parenting by principle, but our principles are very different from any you may have heard before. Moreover, they are easy to remember and, once learned, easy to apply.

We begin with some fundamental guiding directives: Love, Guide, Let Go. You’ll notice that the last 2 words are bolded. These 2 words represent what is, for many, the most difficult aspect of parenting. Why? One of the key reasons is the belief often strongly held by mothers and fathers that what their children do (or don’t do) is a reflection of them.   READ MORE

This belief makes letting go impossible, and leads to countless instances of parental anguish and stress. In fact, everything you do as a parent is dictated by your beliefs as a parent. Knowing that, we can help you to uncover and discard any beliefs which are making your parenting more difficult and less effective. These include other time-honored beliefs such as: It’s your job to make your children happy. In actuality, by replacing this belief with the idea that you can’t save you children from their unhappiness (and that’s a good thing for them), you help your children to be architects of their lives, rather than victims who wait around for someone else to take away their distress. Ultimately, we can provide parenting help to enable you to find your steady center as a parent, and this is a benefit that will serve you and your child whether your child is a toddler having a temper tantrum, a rebellious teenager or a grown adult.

Option Institute Programs for Parents


Does being a parent seem complex and difficult for you, while it appears so natural and easy for others? Have your kids’ challenges and unhappiness left you feeling inept, inadequate and unhappy yourself? Whether your child is a preschooler throwing temper tantrums, a seven year old bouncing off the walls, a teenager pushing the envelope, or a grown adult with children of his own, Parenting Solution can help you put the joy back in parenting! You’ll acquire the keys to parenting with clarity and ease.



Are you and your partner on the same page when it comes to parenting? Or, are you at times struggling with different beliefs and expectations? Perhaps you have a great relationship, but still want more. No matter where your relationship is, Couples Course can help you make it richer, more loving and more rewarding. Taught primarily by the Option Institute founders, Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, the course is built on a simple yet profound concept: your partner doesn’t make you happy or unhappy. You have the power to decide how you feel, regardless of what your partner does!


Personal Stories — Parenting With Ease and Effectiveness

They say that the inseparable bond between a mother and her child begins at conception, but I know from my own past experiences that this bond forms long before. I have had 6 miscarriages. In recent years, each moment leading up to Mother’s Day would agonizingly tear at my heart. I so desperately wanted to be a mother, to have a family, to receive a Mother’s Day card; the ache in my heart was unbearable. I hid the searing pain of my sadness behind a protective wall of staid composure and a hopeless acceptance of the will of God. Not even my husband knew the depth of my longing. In our mutual grief, there was an inexpressible loneliness and silence that made any attempt at a shared journey nearly impossible. I had read books by Barry Neil Kaufman and been on The Option Institute’s mailing list for years. I finally found myself at The Option Institute participating in a program called Optimal Self-Trust. To my shock and eventual gratitude, the program exposed my wounded heart and paved a path to true healing!   READ MORE

I had originally come to learn how to trust myself in my work as a grief counselor and find new ways to help others find a way to heal their hearts. Instead, I learned that I had not really healed my sorrows at all, but merely suppressed a longing to be a mother, rationalizing why mine was an acceptable situation.

I suddenly understood that being or not being a mother did not make me more or less of a person. Only my beliefs have this power. My new beliefs have released me to live my life as an expansive soul, galvanized by my mission to make my dream of motherhood a reality.

I now know that every time anyone makes a judgment, he or she experiences a debilitating contraction of the soul – I had absolutely been living with a contracted soul, fearful of reaching for what I really wanted. My own judgments (‘I’m too old.’ ‘I don’t have the right.’ ‘If I fail again, ‘I will die.’) had sealed my fate, making a seventh attempt at having a child a daunting, fearful and next-to-impossible prospect.

This Mother’s Day, I did receive a card-from my husband – who, of his own volition, has likewise made a shift in consciousness. To my amazement, he asked if I would like to try having another baby – this from a man who, a year ago, refused to discuss such a notion. My life has changed! To The Option Institute and to Bears, I say a profound thank you!
Olivia Kalih I.

Grief Counselor, California

I believe that this week has changed my life and put me on the path to a more honest, open, loving relationship with my teenage daughter. I am looking forward to going home and putting all that I have learned to use.

Tammy C.

Insurance Company Research Tech, Illinois

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