Our vision

Hello! This is Dr. Alison Miller, writing to tell you about the top-notch seminars we’ve developed for parents. It all began in 1981, when I was working as a psychologist at a treatment center for children and their families. At that time my own oldest child was nine, and my youngest had just been born. I worked with family after family who were coming to see a psychologist because of problems with their children. The first thing I learned is that seeing a psychologist doesn’t help a child if his parents (often with the best of intentions) are still handling his behavior in ways that make it worse. It’s more effective to work with the parents, to help them help their children.

So we child psychologists sat in our offices and tried to help parents, one family at a time, learn more effective strategies to deal with their children’s problems or their own relationships. And as we said the same things over and over again to each parent, we kept all the power of our special knowledge to ourselves. I began to think : Why not make this knowledge accessible to all parents, so that many of the problems can be prevented before they start? And even when the problems are already there, wouldn’t it make more sense for parents to take courses to learn parenting skills, without having to spend a lot of time and money on a mental health professional? So I began to teach parenting courses, and eventually LIFE seminars were born.

LIFE stands for "Living in Families Effectively." The LIFE seminars were developed as a therapeutic and preventive program to address the many family needs I encountered while working with children, parents and families. I began by putting together components from other existing parent education programs, along with knowledge I’d obtained about child development, emotions and learning. The people who were coming to me were often stuck in their ineffective patterns, and they wanted real answers. So did I, as I struggled with raising my own three young children. When I took a look at the existing "packaged" parent education programs, I found some good information, but they didn’t go far enough. Parenting is very complicated, and one six-week course can’t teach it all. That’s why there ended up being so many LIFE seminars – each one is actually different from each other one, because there’s a lot to learn in parenting.

Dr. Allison Rees joined the seminars I taught as a participant, then as a group facilitator, then as an organizer and the producer of the LIFE videos, and finally as the primary presenter of LIFE courses here in Victoria, B.C., Canada. She travels to convey our ideas in other communities, and she has a weekly radio show. She and I together have rewritten all the LIFE materials and created the new workbooks. We are working together on new LIFE products such as Aboriginal LIFE Seminars, tailored for parents from aboriginal communities.

Raising human beings is the most important, the most complex, and probably the most difficult job in the world! Freud said that the first six years of life determined what the adult would be like. Yet we leave these years to chance. We don’t have courses in high school on how to be an effective parent. People are expected to know it automatically. Think how many years they put in teaching us the simple, basic skills of reading – doesn’t parenting deserve at least that much attention?

What happens is we end up doing what our parents did. And if our parents were very skilled and loving, we are fortunate; if they were not, we have a lot of difficulty with our own parenting, through no fault of our own.

What do parents need in an effective parent education program? First, they need INFORMATION :

1.. They need information about CHILD DEVELOPMENT, so that they can know what to expect from kids at different ages. Otherwise they end up trying to get a child to do things (like clean up his room, or share her toys) that the child isn’t mature enough to do yet, and they become frustrated and upset with quite normal childish behaviors like temper tantrums or night fears. They also need information about personality and temperament, how children differ from one another, so that they can help each child develop as the unique person that he or she is.

2.. They need information about HOW FAMILIES WORK, how each family member affects each other family member, and how we repeat the patterns of the family we grow up in when we create our own present family. "Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" is true for families as well as nations.

Parents also need a VALUE BASE for their parenting strategies :

1.. They need a general philosophy of DISCIPLINE, which will help them distinguish between abusive punishment and encouraging training.

2.. They need an approach to MENTAL HEALTH : What makes a healthy family and a healthy individual? What are emotions for? What kind of family life makes children grow up emotionally healthy?

3.. They need a FAMILY VALUE SYSTEM, so that they can bring up children who make a positive contribution to society.

Parents also need SKILLS :

1.. They need a variety of practical techniques for managing children’s BEHAVIOR, at all ages and in all situations.

2.. They need effective ways to deal with their OWN EMOTIONS.

3.. They need effective ways to deal with their CHILDREN’S EMOTIONS.

4.. They need effective ways to COMMUNICATE with their children, make requests, listen to feelings and negotiate family agreements.

5.. They need ways of helping their children develop responsibility and maturity.

We give credit to the other "packaged" parent education programs for some excellent information, some of which we use in our own seminars. STEP has some good ideas about discipline. "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" is full of useful principles and tips about communicating with kids. Barbara Coloroso stresses getting kids to take responsibility. What we’ve tried to do is put together a complete program which has ALL the essential ingredients for parenting success. It’s called LIFE – Living in Families Effectively. Try it! It works!

Why Choose LIFE

Our goal is to empower parents and professionals through our educational courses, workshops, books, and articles. These courses are for all aged kids but more so for all families.

Proven Results

Many people describe LIFE Seminars as life changing and as having a tremendous positive impact on future generations.

Get answers directly from a professional

There is nothing quite like having a seasoned professional present and answer your questions, compared to prepackaged programs.


Backed by years of research the LIFE’s materials and philosophies are renowned for teaching people to go deeper and beyond quick fixes.


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Dr. Allison Rees

Author, educator, coach, counsellor and mother of two young adults.

As a seasoned professional, she takes the subject of parenting to a deeper level than mainstream programs.

Allison Rees has been teaching LIFE Seminars courses since 1993. Countless parents and Web Head Shot Warm (2)professionals attend these popular courses in Victoria through word of mouth alone. LIFE Seminars has become one of the largest and longest running parenting programs in the world running for over 30 years with an average of 100 parents attending each eight week course.

Allison’s presentations are down to earth, honest and to the point. Lectures are packed with insights, humour and rich interactions with the audience. While her subjects are pre-planned, her lectures are not which is why people don’t tire of the material when they repeat the courses. She has supported thousands of families in this community and is rapidly expanding her knowledge to other professionals worldwide.

What Our Clients Say

Our Online Courses

You can have the LIFE materials guide you through your parenting for years to come. Sign up and you will become a supported member of Allison’s online community with weekly check-ins, new materials, articles and more.

Sidestepping the Power Struggle

  • Consists of seven classes on video and the entire Sidestepping workbook
  • Individual chapters can be purchased
  • Explore your child’s temperament (and yours)
  • Understand who you are parenting
  • Learn effective strategies to solve family problems
  • Avoid unhealthy patterns

Sibling Rivalry

  • Individual chapter
  • A deeper look at sibling rivalry and effective approaches.
  • How do we contribute to sibling rivalry as parents?
  • How do we help our kids move toward healthier relationships?
  • Practical ideas
  • Avoid unhealthy patterns

We offer many more parenting courses

From our Blog

To Discipline or Disciple?
Cut it Out!

What is discipline? One definition is to obtain obedience by using punishment and reward? If you think that word still fits, you might want to, Cut it Out! It might be time for a new word or at least a new twist to that word...

Temper Tantrums

Many normal, wonderful preschoolers have intense and frightening temper tantrums as a way of dealing with frustration, anger and telling the adults in their lives that they aren’t the boss of them!

What were you thinking?

I often joke with parents in my classes about the expression my face has grown accustomed to wearing around my teens. It’s a neutral look, free of judgment and negative emotion. With amazing self-control, it manages to stay there...

We offer many more parenting articles