Parental control

Kristan Leatherman

Photo By Sarah Kelly

You wouldn’t expect a woman who co-authored a book on how to raise children to have none of her own, but that’s the story of 54-year-old Kristan Leatherman. Millionaire Babies or Bankrupt Brats was released in June and can be found online at or by e-mailing <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> </script> to avoid shipping costs for locals. The book “should be used as a reference” on how to raise your children to be independent, especially financially, Leatherman said. She spent many years in Baltimore, where she met her husband while they were both working at a TV station, before moving west for the scenery. After her husband had a horseback-riding accident in Wyoming, he decided he wanted to be a doctor in a small town, and they decided Chico was the perfect fit.

What is the best advice someone has given you?

Jim Fay, my co-author has a wonderful phrase that he uses: “We need to be careful to not addict our children to a lifestyle they won’t be able to afford as adults.” That is a profound statement that I use in my practice.

What inspired you to go into parental counseling, considering you have no children of your own?

When I was teaching, I worked so hard with one of my students to build up his self confidence during the day when I had him in the classroom. But then I realized that it could all be undone at night when he went home to his parents. I guess you could say I had an epiphany and that’s when I made the switch to helping parents raise their children.

Do you feel pressure from the people around you to act a certain way?

I try to be myself as often as possible. I think sometimes if I see a mom I’ve counseled at the grocery store with her children, she will feel pressure to act a certain way. But that pressure is not coming from me. That’s coming from her.

Describe an experience that has led you to where you are today in your career.

I was a young child and my mom took me to the library to see Robert McCloskey, who wrote Make Way for Little Ducklings. After he read the book, I stood in line for him to sign my book. I was so wide-eyed, and in that moment I decided I wanted to write a book. I didn’t know what I would write about or when, but it was a defining moment in my childhood.

What parenting advice would you give Britney Spears?

It’s kind of a day late and a dollar short. But if she still had her children, I would help her love herself so that she could love her children.