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 Allison Livingston

Conflict resolution specialist, mediator and parenting coach for those struggling with a strong-willed child.

I have observed over the past 17 years a lot of human nature while being a parent, a mediator, an office co-worker, and youth soccer & running coach. All these brought about education and survival tools that allow me to prioritize self care, develop emotional intelligence, stop taking things personally, deeply listen and set clear firm limits.


I used these survival tools and set of practices to develop my 5 Steps To Connect curriculum. These practices are based on Brené Brown, the latest neuroscience, and NonViolent Communication which allow me to re-center during or after a tantrum or defiant rage and to keep me connected in a deep, real way to myself and my strong willed child. It's like magic.


Now I don’t just 'do' my life on autopilot, but live into and experience it fully. I am less reactive to my child's roller coaster of emotions and triggering behaviors so I can be the safe space needed to re-center. 

Allison Livingston | 5 Steps to Connect | Santa Cruz, CA


When my daughter was born she came out spirited, passionate, strong-willed and with her own way of doing everything. She never wanted to be told what to do; she was determined and we were immediately on a collision course with my traditional parenting ideas.


How could I do my job as a good parent if teaching her the right way to do something would push her buttons and send her into a tantrum and fits of obstinance? I couldn’t see that learning was messy by definition and trying to control it and her was ridiculous.


We would get into battles that were awful, intense, and traumatizing. These interactions disrupted the whole family. I needed support and found resources like Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Brené Brown, the Enneagram and Pema Chodron.


I learned that my emotions were messengers and crucial to experience to be an integrated, high functioning, wholehearted person. Intentionally feeling discomfort was counter-intuitive to me, because in my race to get straight A's and excel in my career, I had unconsciously decided feelings were messy, inconvenient, often overwhelming, and scary; especially embarrassment, uncertainty, shame, fear and anger.


Learning the purpose of emotions was amazing and necessary because every time I turned around, my daughter expressed feelings...loudly. She was angry when I said ‘no’ to cookies before dinner. She was inconsolable when we had to leave the park. She would rage when her sister took a toy. She was resistant and cranky when it was time for bed.


I had secretly hoped that NVC was going to help me deal with her emotional outbursts and get me back in control. I had no idea how to be ‘successful’ here. I would either shut down frustrated and give in or get angry yell and punish  her.

I wanted to learn more about resolving conflict so I trained to become a Mediator and practiced Conflict Resolution for 10 years. I saw first hand how being human is tough, but can also be beautiful, vulnerable and full of understanding.

The happy ending part is what developed out of my frustration, training and coaching; the 5 Steps to Connect with Your Strong Willed Child Framework. These are straight forward, important steps you can practice to move from surviving to thriving.


Remember: it is never too late to connect with those we love. the connection you yearn for is possible.


You aren't alone and it doesn't have to be this hard.



What lights me up

01/   I live next to a forest in Aptos, CA ​and I love it here because I get to be in nature every day.

02/  I usually wear active clothes so I can walk, run, cycle or do yoga everyday.

03/  I am a tea-aholic.  I can't start my day, drive or write a blog post without it.  

04/  I love to read romance novels and move to music to experience & let out emotions (not easy for me!)

05/  One day I aspire to write a book, (spoiler alert!, in fact, I'm working on an eBook right now!)

Allison Livingston | 5 Steps to Connect | Santa Cruz, CA
Allison Livingston | 5 Steps to Connect | Santa Cruz, CA


Dare to Lead, Atlas of the Heart, Rising Strong & The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brené Brown

Centering Prayer, by Cynthia Bourgeault

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,

by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

Paradise, by Judith McNaught

The 15 Commitments, by Diana Chapman & Jim Dentmer

The Wisdom of the Enneagram, by Riso and Hudson

Brain-Body Parenting, Mona Delahooke

Taking the Leap, Pema Chodron

Allison Livingston | 5 Steps to Connect | Santa Cruz, CA

What's holding you back?

Are you ready to take the next step?

I'd be honored to support you on your journey.  

Check out the options for working together!

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