Robin Gustine, Parent Coach

My practice is about helping strengthen families through parent coaching. I empower & equip clients to have better relationships with kids of all ages.

A peaceful household is possible! This page is about creating a place where moms and dads can come for resources, discussions, encouragement and support on this amazing journey known as parenting. I believe that human relationships are the most complicated, challenging and meaningful parts of life. Learning to successfully relate to others makes a huge difference to our quality of life and nowhere is this more important than the parent-child relationship.

Operating as usual


Anyone who has ever received coaching from me knows that the enforceable statement is one of the first skills we work on mastering. That’s because it’s a COMPLETE game changer in a home where kids don’t listen (so, by that I mean every home!). Here are some good examples…

Enforceable Statements:
Effective People Never Set Limits Over Things They Cannot Control


Love and Logic has been the cornerstone of my coaching approach since I got certified 15 years ago, because it works!

3 Rules for Arguing with Teenagers Without Pushing Them Away 09/14/2021

3 Rules for Arguing with Teenagers Without Pushing Them Away

These are heartfelt pledges that are often easier to make than to implement. If this parent's letter stirs up a desire in you but you don't know how to execute the promises, please reach out. I can help; you and your child don't have to stay stuck in the anger cycle.

3 Rules for Arguing with Teenagers Without Pushing Them Away How to fight for—not against—your teenager.



Shower. Not a bath, a shower. Use water as hot or cold as you like. You don’t even need to wash. Just get in under the water and let it run over you for a while. Sit on the floor if you gotta.

Moisturize everything. Use whatever lotion you like. Unscented? Dollar store lotion? Fancy 48 hour lotion that makes you smell like a field of wildflowers? Use whatever you want, and use it all over your entire dermis.

Put on clean, comfortable clothes.

Put on your favorite underwear. Cute black lacy panties? Those ridiculous boxers you bought last christmas with candy cane hearts on the butt? Put them on.

Drink cold water. Use ice. If you want, add some mint or lemon for an extra boost.

Clean something. Doesn’t have to be anything big. Organize one drawer of a desk. Wash five dirty dishes. Do a load of laundry. Scrub the bathroom sink.

Blast music. Listen to something upbeat and dancey and loud, something that’s got lots of energy. Sing to it, dance to it, even if you suck at both.

Make food. Don’t just grab a granola bar to munch. Take the time and make food. Even if it’s ramen. Add something special to it, like a soft boiled egg or some veggies. Prepare food, it tastes way better, and you’ll feel like you accomplished something.

Make something. Write a short story or a poem, draw a picture, color a picture, color some rocks with markers or paint, fold origami, crochet or knit, sculpt something out of clay, anything artistic. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Create.

Go outside. Take a walk. Sit in the grass. Look at the clouds. Smell flowers. Put your hands in the dirt and feel the soil against your skin.

Call someone. Call a loved one, a friend, a family member, call a chat service if you have no one else to call. Talk to a stranger on the street. Have a conversation and listen to someone’s voice. If you can’t bring yourself to call, text or email or whatever, just have some social interaction with another person. Even if you don’t say much, listen to them. It helps.

Cuddle your pets if you have them/can cuddle them. Take pictures of them. Talk to them. Tell them how you feel, about your favorite movie, a new game coming out, anything.

May seem small or silly to some, but this list keeps people alive.

*** At your absolute best you won’t be good enough for the wrong people. But at your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right ones. Remember that. Keep holding on.

***People don’t fake depression...they fake being ok.

National Su***de Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish. 800-273-8255


I cannot say strongly enough how important it is for parents to embrace this truth. I know you’re tired, I understand your frustration, I feel your anxiety. Yet still I’m asking you to read this and let it resonate. It’s all going to be okay as long as we don’t sacrifice our relationships with our kids over their academic performance in this crazy, unprecedented scenario.

I’ve lost a year with my kids battling over school and I’m done.

My seven year old and I were in the midst of our usual asynchronous day battle. I had his writing homework in my hand from school. He’d written several full, well-thought-out sentences.

But he won’t do the same for me, at least not without a fight.

I told him he didn’t have to write about his best day like his teacher asked, he could write about his worst. He could write about whatever he wanted as long as he wrote a few sentences.

He said he’d get in trouble. He said he was doing a bad job in first grade. He was on the brink of tears but didn’t know why.

And it hit me.

Instead of getting frustrated and pushing the assignment, I sat down with him at his desk in his superhero bedroom.

I said “you won’t get in trouble and you can’t fail first grade. In fact, you’re kind of a superhero yourself.”

He sat up in his chair just a little and looked at me with disbelief.

I said, “Do you know that no kids in the history of kids have ever had to do what you’re doing right now? No kids in the history of kids have ever had to do school at home, sitting in their bedroom, watching their teacher on a computer. You and your friends are making history.”

A visible weight lifted from his seven year old shoulders, “What does that mean?”

I told him it means I haven’t given him nearly enough credit for rolling with the punches. I told him how proud I am of him and his friends. That kids this year are doing the impossible and they’re doing a really great job.

I apologized for not saying it sooner and more often. A little tear fell down his cheek.

We’ve thanked everyone from healthcare workers to grocery store employees but we haven’t thanked the kids enough for bearing the burden of what we’ve put on their shoulders this year.

We’ve said kids are resilient, and they are. But they are the real superheroes in this whole scenario for having ZERO say in their lives but doing their best to adjust every day.

We closed his school-issued laptop and spent the rest of the day playing. This was supposed to be temporary and here we are a year later still trying to hold our head above water.

This is our home and I won’t turn it into a battle ground anymore over something we can’t control. Something that no longer makes sense.

Hug your little superheroes today and don’t forget to cut them the slack we’ve given everyone else.

Join me in the trenches at Christine Derengowski, Writer !!


Sound familiar? This is happening in the home of every one of my clients, with kids from 8-18. It’s hard, but there are solutions!

Yes I am smiling here but I want you to interpret this picture as the face of a crazy person. Here is a sampling of the wild swings I've taken this final week of the first semester:

"I am absolutely done worrying about your grades. Either YOU worry about them or you fail. I already finished 9th grade in 1989."

"Okay honey bunny! Let's make a list of everything missing and rank them in order of priority. We'll log them in your calendar so you know what to do every day! Stay on task! You can do it! We'll do it together! We got this!"

"That's it. I don't care. Pass or fail. This is up to you. I'm out. I'm not even looking at the student portal anymore."

"I see on the student portal that you haven't even started that alternative project. It replaces your lowest grade! Oh, I'll just do it myself. Move. I can't do 9th grade again."

"Fine. Repeat 9th grade. This is YOUR project to do or don't do. I am a 46 year old grown lady who already graduated from college. I am not responsible for 9th grade geography. I don't need to know where all the countries in the world are."

"WE CAN DO THIS! Let's print out the spreadsheets and make a checklist! Let's set up a work station at the dining room table so I can help you as you go! We are going to knock this out!"

"Just go back upstairs and pretend to work up there so I don't have to watch. Sure hope your teachers will accept TikTok hours in lieu of completed assignments. I am not investing anymore. I am not going to say one more word about school."


And that is the story of why I locked myself in my bedroom last night with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a weighted blanket.

Fix it, Jesus.


It's so important to be intentional abut how we use our time. If you are struggling with this, reach out - coaching can help!


Join me Tuesday morning at 8:00 as I partner with Live Loudoun for a Coffee with the Coach where we will talk about how to manage distance learning with confidence.



Contact me by DM, visiting or call (703) 477-1122 to learn more about parent coaching and how you may benefit.


☕️ Join us on Thursdays from 10:00-11:15 am for Thrive Parenting "Coffee with the Coach"

⌚️ I will give a 15 minute talk on a different parenting challenge each month, from potty training to driver’s training, followed by an hour of Q & A, discussion, and group support. If you’ve been struggling with a particular aspect of parenting, grab a friend and come check out this quick, fun, solution focused event.

➡️Sign up at or contact me for more information (703) 477-1122.


🧐Sibling Rivalry Has a Purpose:

➡️The sibling relationship is our first opportunity in life to compete, and the first place where we figure out for ourselves if there is enough of everything to go around. Do you have a Plenty Mentality, or a Scarcity Mentality (there either is enough time, food, money, love, etc. for me to get what I need, or there isn’t)?

➡️Chances are, you can trace this back to your early childhood experiences and how you had to compete for what you wanted. As parents, the constant bickering and tattling and scuffling is a huge annoyance, but when we get overly drawn in, anything we say will be interpreted as unfair by one child or the other anyway. Unless physical harm or property damage is imminent, mostly what we need to do is teach the life skills of cooperation, teamwork and sharing, validate the strong emotions involved, and let them work it out.

Get more parent tool tips at
or call me to discuss how parent coaching can improve your family at home, (703) 477-1122.


Is parent coaching for you?

DM me or visit to set up a personal one-on-one coaching session, sign up to Ask Robin a specific question, attend one of our zoom group sessions to indicate your need for a Parent Coach.


🧹Chores Are Really Important:

👨‍👩‍👧 Of course, part of our job as parents is to prepare our kids to go out into the world and be able to take care of themselves, and that involves knowing how to do laundry, keep a budget, and prepare an adequately nutritious meal. While teaching life skills is an important aspect of chores, there is more to it. Research shows that human beings are wired to want to be part of a tribe. When this need is met at home, there is far less need for a child to seek this sense of belonging elsewhere (cliques, gangs, unhealthy dating relationships, etc). Being depended upon to help at home, and being valued for that effort as part of the team, goes a long way toward fulfilling that desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves.

Visit my website to get my Top 10 Parenting Tools at:


Today is national paperback book day! Do you prefer turning pages vs. reading a screen? What's your favorite book?
Visit for my list of suggested reading for parents.
Better yet, let's discuss how parent coaching may benefit your family. I'd love to help. DM me for more info.


☕️ Join us on Thursdays from 10:00-11:15 am for Thrive Parenting "Coffee with the Coach"

⌚️ I will give a 15 minute talk on a different parenting challenge each month, from potty training to driver’s training, followed by an hour of Q & A, discussion, and group support. If you’ve been struggling with a particular aspect of parenting, grab a friend and come check out this quick, fun, solution focused event.

➡️Sign up at or contact me for more information (703) 477-1122.


Join group zoom sessions Thursdays from 10am-11:15am or visit for more information.


My practice is about helping to strengthen families through parent coaching. I believe that children are the key to a better world, and as such, by contributing to healthier parenting, it is my desire to help make the future more hopeful. On a more immediate level, I find it very fulfilling to spend a few hours with a family and know I am leaving them with simple strategies to reduce the stress in their household.
Contact me today to learn more at or call (703) 477-1122.


"This really works!"

Contact me by visiting or call (703) 477-1122 to learn more about parent coaching and how you may benefit.


☕️ Join us on Thursdays from 10:00-11:15 am for Thrive Parenting "Coffee with the Coach"

⌚️ I will give a 15 minute talk on a different parenting challenge each month, from potty training to driver’s training, followed by an hour of Q & A, discussion, and group support. If you’ve been struggling with a particular aspect of parenting, grab a friend and come check out this quick, fun, solution focused event.

➡️Sign up at or contact me for more information (703) 477-1122.


⚠️Rules Without Relationship = Rebellion:

👨‍👩‍👧Our children naturally want to please us.
When this gets off track and the child is pushing boundaries all the time, it’s often a result of his feeling micromanaged.

Young children usually receive between 1,500 and 2,000 commands a day! If we’re honest with ourselves, we would likely admit that while many of them are necessary, an awful lot of them are not. We need to increase the amount of control and choices we give our kids, and focus on bonding with them, rather than always insisting on The Rules. In the long run, when our kids are grown, will it matter more that they ate a “thank-you bite,” or that their memories of family dinner center around laughter and feeling heard and understood?

Do you feel you would benefit from parent coaching in a group zoom session or 1-1?
Contact me today to learn more


Almost anyone raising a child could benefit from a parenting
tune-up from time to time, but consider the following questions:

➡️Do you worry that you yell too much?

➡️Are you frustrated by recurring issues or problems with
your children?

➡️Do you frequently feel overwhelmed by parenting

➡️Do you find yourself asking for parenting advice from your
child’s teacher or pediatrician, or from your own friends and family?

➡️Are you ever frustrated or embarrassed by your child’s behavior in public?

➡️Are you concerned with the choices your child is making?

➡️Do you sense there is a power struggle going on between you and one (or more) of your children?

➡️Are you and your spouse (or ex-spouse) out of sync in parenting your kids or blended family?

➡️Do you often feel there just aren’t enough hours in the day to fit in the necessities of life and still have fun with your family? What about time to yourself?

➡️Do you wish that your children wouldn’t sass or backtalk you so much?

➡️Do you sometimes feel guilty about the way you discipline your children or is your discipline simply ineffective?

Do you regularly complain that your kids don’t listen?

➡️Is homework drama causing you to dread the after school hours?

🧐How many “yes” answers would it take for you to feel like you could benefit from the help of a trained and certified professional? There’s no right or wrong answer, but just know that however many times you said “That’s me,” there’s HOPE!

👉Sign up for my group zoom sessions on Thursdays or 1-1 sessions


I experienced this five years ago when my daughter left for college. Since schools closed so early this year and we've had five terrific months together, when she leaves for graduate school I know I'll have to struggle through it again. This time, due to the pandemic, many of the strategies I used to navigate that "shoes on the wrong feet" phase will not seem safe. I think I am just going to have to feel all the feels this fall. Who's with me?

This is exactly what it feels like.





South Riding, VA

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