Harriet Heath received her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College in human development. She is a licensed developmental psychologist, parent educator, mother of three and grandparent of ten, six biological and four added on by various means. For nearly thirty years she was a counselor and workshop leader for the Friends Counseling Service. Harriet specializes in working with parents and their children. Her workshops include the parenting discussion series, Parenting Creatively in a Quakerly Manner and single sessions such as Integrating Quaker Values into Family Life.
As a counselor her approach is to meet and talk with parents. Together they frame the issues and work out a plan of action. Her work is guided by the belief that there is that of God in every person and that there is a Way even with the most obstreperous child. She relies on and encourages parents to use such Quaker practices as centering, mindfulness and discernment.
As a workshop facilitator, she leads parents to think about their beliefs and values and what they want for their children. The group, individually and together, look at their issues, brainstorm ways of dealing with those issues and use Quaker beliefs and testimonies as guides in discerning how they want to deal with their issues. In the process they rely on understandings gleaned from the developmental literature. As one attendee at a recent workshop wrote of her experience, “It has really changed the way I think about parenting, and I can see a difference in my children’s behavior as a result.”
Harriet works with parents in many settings in addition to Quaker ones. She has worked in public schools, other religious settings including Catholic, and mental health clinics. Geographical she’s provided workshops in the Alaskan bush to Chicago’s south side and the American School in Tel Aviv to ones in Chili . She founded The Parent Center at Bryn Mawr College and is its emeritus director and has taught at the School of New Learning at DePaul University in Chicago.
She is a member the National Parenting Education Network and the American Psychological Association.
Harriet s work in parenting led her to investigate how people learn to care. Her experiences teaching caring at several Quaker schools and other settings gave her the background for writing the curriculum, Learning How to Care which was partially funded by the Department of Education of the State of Alaska and was chosen curriculum by the Department of Education of the State of New York.
Dr. Heath’s research has focused on an analysis of the parenting process, i.e. how parents go about doing what they do and how being a parent affects their own development. Earning her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College, her dissertation on Erik Erikson’s generativity stage of development, investigated the role of information and support in determining parental behavior. She assisted her husband in his longitudinal study of men and women who graduated from college in the late fifties. Her part in this research has been to examine the effects of being a parent on the participants’ maturation and how those effects have changed over time. She is currently writing a book that describes the parental role and develops a theory of parenting. Her description of the parental role is an effort to portray the totality of what is expected of parents. Her theory is based on Erik Erikson’s generative stage and integrates research and theory developed since Erikson’s writing that documents his theory as well as expanding and deepening his concepts.
Harriet’s writings include:
- Plan How to Get Where You Want to Go In Nurturing Your Children (Seattle, WA: Parenting Press, 2010)
- Parenting Creatively in a Quakerly Manner, a manual for facilitators providing a discussion series based on the manual Searching to find (see below).
- For several years she wrote “The Parents’ Corner” in Friends Journal
- Searching to find the Way to Nurture Our Children to Become the People They Are Able to Be (1983 revised 2017).A manual for parents presenting discussion on a series of questions (queries) that parents can use as they discern how they want to guide and nurture their children. Winter Harbor, ME: Conrow Publishing.
- Answering that of God in Our Children, (Wallingford, PA: Pendle Hill pamphlet, # 315, 1994).
- Using Your Values to Raise a Child You Admire as an Adult guides parents through a process that will help them identify their values and implement those values into family life. (Seattle: WA: Parenting Press, 2000). Received the National Parenting Publications Award 2000.
- Learning How to Care, a curriculum which teaches elementary and middle school students how to care by their learning what is involved in being a parent. (Winter Habor, ME: Conrow Publishing, 1983.
- Learning How to Care for the Meeting’s Children: A Curriculum for First Day School Sixth to Twelfth Graders which teaches middle- and high-school students to take on the responsibility for caring for younger members of the meeting. (Philadelphia, PA: Quaker Press, 2004).
Assisted Douglas Heath
- Explorations of maturity. New York: Appleton-Century Crofts (1965).
- Fulfilling lives: Paths to maturity and success. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, Inc. (1991).
- Growing more mature: Insights from the lives of highly achieving men and women. Winter Harbor, ME: Conrow Publishing House, (2005)
- Lives of Hope: Women’s and Men’s Paths to Success and Fulfillment. Winter Harbor, ME: Conrow PublishingHouse. (1994).