Eppley, 45, was asked to help set up one of the reality television stars with a lifelike infant doll so she could have practice taking care of a child. She said the experience was exciting and fun and the reality star, Kenya Moore, was very down to earth and friendly.
While being on a reality television show is new to Eppley, being a parenting coach is something she has been doing for a long time. She started her business, Parent Coach Atlanta, in 2009 but her experience as a parent coach began before that when her daughters, 10 and 12, were born.
Eppley made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom, and soon dove into parenting support.
“During that time I got with other moms and created a parenting support group,” she said. From there, she was certified as a parenting coach.
While there are many different parenting styles, Eppley is a proponent of authoritative parenting.
“[The approach] is very loving, really involved, but also sets boundaries and limits,” she said. “The child is not equal to the parent.”
Most of Eppley’s clients are parents whose children have not been properly disciplined from the beginning and have become unmanageable.
“The most common issue is they don’t know how to handle their children’s misbehavior,” she said. “They come to me in crisis. From 18 months to 10 years old, that’s when you’re really having to teach impulse control, self-control and manners.”
The skills Eppley teaches parents are generally learned during up to six sessions with her and after that, it is on the parents to uphold the rules.
“Parents have to stick to their guns and stay the course, or else we end up with a 5-year-old having tantrums in public,” she said. “These children who don’t get the message that you’re going to listen to mom and dad are the ones who give teachers the most trouble.”
She said even children who are diagnosed with behavioral disorders can sometimes be remedied through proper discipline.
Granted, Eppley recognizes that many children do have legitimate behavioral disorders and she works with parents whose children have ADHD, autism and other disabilities that create a tense home environment.
She works only with the parents and not the child, but if a child has been diagnosed with a disability, Eppley said she makes sure the child’s therapist and other medical professionals are on board with the parents using a coach.
Eppley offers her services when it is most convenient for the parents, whether it is at night, on the weekends, via video chatting or on the telephone.
Clients come to her from around the country and she has worked with parents in California, New Jersey, New York and Illinois, although most of her clients hail from Atlanta.
Eppley said her coaching is just as effective long distance or over the phone as it would be face to face. She said studies show that telecoaching works.
“Phone therapists often say it’s more effective because [people] are a little more honest on the phone than face to face,” she said.
In addition to her one-on-one coaching, Eppley has many speaking engagements and works with the U.S. Navy Seals. She coaches parents on how to raise children to be resilient in light of constantly having to move and having parents deployed.
Eppley is a longtime resident of metro Atlanta and lives in Decatur.
To learn more about her business, visit www.parentcoachatlanta.com. She can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The episode of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” on which she appeared was episode 20 and aired last month.