The Write Way to Parent

Lynn Dean

UNC doctoral student Lynn Dean takes a break in her office from her studies and teaching. Related video: Dean shares her Top 10 tips for parents. Photo and video by Katie Owston

During the past 25 years, Lynn Dean, a second-year doctoral student at the University of Northern Colorado, has written more than 500 parenting articles for 100 publications in 40 states around the U.S.

Her stories have been published in books like Chicken Soup for the Father and Daughter Soul and Chicken School for the New Mom’s Soul, and she’s written articles for magazines like ParentLife, Single Parent Family, Rocky Mountain Parent Magazine and others.

Dean is currently working on her doctorate degree in Educational Psychology. She also teaches Human Growth and Development, and Educational Psychology classes for UNC undergrads preparing to become elementary school teachers.

Dean didn’t plan on becoming a prolific writer of articles about parenting. She moved to Colorado after getting married and worked as a budget analyst. After having her first child, though, she decided she wanted to be an at-home mom.

“I got a lot of flack for being an at-home mom from my colleagues, who thought I was a traitor to the cause,” Dean said. “But it wasn’t something I had planned.”

When Dean was pregnant with her second child, she started reading a weekly column titled “Moppet Memos” in a Fort Collins newspapaer. One day the column was replaced with an advertisement looking for someone new to write the column.

Dean and another person were chosen as the new authors of “Moppet Memos;” she co-wrote the column from 1987 to 1996.

“It was nice to have another identity besides being a mom, and I enjoyed writing,” Dean said. “When the column ended, I thought of myself as a writer.”

She began marketing her previously written columns to regional publications around the country, eventually writing for a number of different columns in cities across the U.S. In 1996, Dean wrote to the publisher of Rocky Mountain Parent Magazine and she’s been writing for it ever since.

“As my kids have grown, I’ve become more confident as a parent,” Dean said. “The more I studied my kids, the more I enjoyed writing about being a parent—and I still love to write for parents.”

- Katie Owston

Lynn Dean’s Top 10 Parenting Tips (for kids of all ages)
• Don’t take it personally.
• Trust your instincts.
• Love each kid individually; give each child what they need … life isn’t always fair.
• Don’t be afraid to say no — define the boundaries.
• Let your kids explore, and make mistakes, in a safe environment.
• You are going to embarrass your kids — it’s inevitable!
• There is a reason why certain phrases stand the test of time; it’s OK to say the thing you swore you’d never say.
• As children grow older, your role in their lives will change … and that’s OK.
• You are more than a parent; you are a person, too. Develop your own interests and hobbies early.
• Kiss ‘em while you got ‘em.

Of Note
Although Dean won’t be able to attend UNC Research Day next week - she’s going to Washington, D.C., to present and discuss her research on career exploration and self regulation in high school students - there’ll be plenty of other undergraduate and graduate research presented at the April 7 event that’s become the mainstay of UNC’s Academic Excellence Week.

Both oral and poster presentations will take place in the University Center. Oral presentations are 9 a.m.–4 p.m. and include topics such as "Hybrid Cluture and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands," "Democracy through Globalization and Mobile Reform" and "Transparent Technology: Using Smartphones to Interview Sensitive Subjects."

Poster presentations last run 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Topics will include "The Social, Economic, and Emotional Burdens of Hoarding," "Rockies Fans’ Perceptions of Game Valuation" and "The Great Recession: Economic Downturn and the Consumer Behavior of Professional Sports Fans."

For the complete list of Research Day’s oral and poster presentations on April 7, visit the Research Day website.

To see a list of other events for Academic Excellence Week, visit
the event’s website.