Amy McCready is developing a reputation as a parent whisperer.
The Raleigh entrepreneur is gaining national exposure for her small company, which provides in-person and online training onparenting.
Positive Parenting Solutions, founded by McCready in 2004, offers courses on how to correct children without nagging, reminding or yelling. Last year, she started an online version and began to attract media attention, including being quoted in a New York Times article about parents who yell and scream too much.
"That really touched a nerve with people and boosted my visibility," she said. "All jobs come with a ton of training, but for the most important job we do, there's none. Parents are looking for tools and resources."
This morning she is scheduled to appear on NBC's "Today" show to discuss "Is Time Out a Waste of Time?" She flew to New York on Tuesday to meet with the show's producers. She has also been featured on MSNBC's "Dr. Nancy" and other TV news shows.
McCready started offering parenting classes at the Montessori School of Raleigh and expanded to other schools and preschools across the Triangle through word of mouth. She also has offered classes for employees at local corporations including SAS, Glaxo SmithKline and Cisco Systems. McCready and her husband-business partner now employ three instructors, all parents and former students.
SAS first brought in McCready two years ago, and she is returning to teach her courses this spring, said Dana Aderhold, a parent-resource consultant at the Cary software company.
"Parents love Amy's classes," Aderhold said. "Her techniques are clear and easy to use at home. They help them become better parents."
McCready's family moved to Raleigh six years ago from Boise, Idaho, for her husband's job. That's when McCready started the business to combine her background in employee training and her experience struggling as a new parent.
The mother of two boys, now 12 and 14, said she became a student of positive discipline, taking a lot of classes and mentoring with a parent educator.
"I learned it through studying it and using it."
McCready said she makes it clear that the classes she offers are simply about parenting. "If they need something more, we'll refer them to a psychologist. We're clear we're not giving therapy," she said.
McCready estimates that thousands of parents have taken the course. She declined to comment about financial details of her company.
The increasing media coverage is helping "spread the word about the class and get it out to as many parents as possible," she said. "The way our society is changing, parenting is a different animal now, with different challenges."
She expects to reach an international audience, and eventually she is planning to add more specialized programs, such as one for teenagers.
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