Testimonials from PEP Kids

We asked kids whose parents took PEP classes to share with us how PEP had an impact on them.

Here is what they said.


From Suzanne Brady, Age 20

When I moved in with my new roommates in September, I sat us all down to set up some clear living-guidelines so we all had our expectations out on the table and to minimize future disputes. We discussed everything from quiet hours, to a chore chart, to bathroom-time. I typed everything up and sent it out to them after the meeting, to re-cap our agreements. It was a lot like a family meeting, and they were all surprised by the concept of sitting down and laying out ground rules. I think they liked it though, and it has allowed us to live in harmony ever since! (For the most part…) 

Also, I have noticed in college that I am surrounded with people struggling to stay happy, to keep up with their school work, and to deal with life in general. A large percentage of my friends and peers suffer from depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, and many turn to unhealthy outlets to relieve their unhappiness. Granted, I have had my own share of struggles as well, but I feel that being raised in a PEP house has equipped me with the tools necessary to address these. Using courage, honesty, love and empathy, I have found that I am strong enough to face anything college has to throw at me, and can support those who need help around me as well. Knowing simple tools such as encouragement, gratefulness and giving back to others have been invaluable in my college years. 

In addition, I can do my dishes, cook, make my bed, and clean my apartment! It may seem like common sense that a 20 year old is able to manage these tasks, but so many people in college have never learned how to do it all! Or, their parents often did all the work for them and they are not about to start doing it for themselves now. I have had to encourage so many friends to cook healthy food instead of ramen, and have taught them how to put a pillow in a pillow case. All of this comes from my mom encouraging me and trusting that I can do things for myself at a very young age (though she’ll never forget at a Can Do Kid’s Fair when I pointed at an ironing board and asked “What’s that?”). I am extremely self-motivated to clean the apartment well once a week, do my dishes right when I am done eating, and do my laundry every weekend: probably because I have been doing this most of my life! 

The staff at PEP, YOU ALL, are doing amazing work and changing the world. I use so many tactics that PEP preaches when I babysit, and I advertise the online classes to anyone who will listen! One mom watched a video and was impressed by the fact that a simple touch when speaking with her child can create a connection and draw their attention in a peaceful manner. She started using this with her rowdy and active 4 year old and he started to truly listen when she asked him to do something. 

Thank you, for all you do. I am so, so grateful that my family found you when I was born and that my mom fully immersed herself in the programs to learn how to parent me. If she hadn’t, who knows who I would have turned out! (Jk…)

Best of luck with everything you are doing, because it is worth it. 

From Abigail Adamson, age 21

College opened my eyes to new ideas and experiences, but the things I learned growing up in a PEP family were life-long, important lessons that could only have been taught at home. Being raised by PEP parents has made me who I am today. When I went to college, I had to teach my roommate how to do laundry, use a flat iron, and clean her side of the room. This is when I started to realize that my upbringing was different…growing up in a democratic family has impacted my life in so many positive ways.

Now, as a senior in college, my roommates and I use a lot of things that my parents learned at PEP.  When I was growing up, every night at dinner someone would have the “special plate.” We would go around the table saying one thing we appreciated about that person. I created my own version for my college roommates. I live with four other young women and we do “roomie dinners.” Every woman is assigned a night of the week (that works with their schedule) to cook dinner for the rest of the roommates.

Whenever we tell our friends (or invite them to our “roomie dinner,” if they are so lucky), they are shocked and ask us how it ever works. But it is quite simple. It is time efficient, cost efficient, and most importantly, it gives us all a break from our crazy schedules to sit down and eat together. We talk about each other’s days and it gives us the time to debrief and relax, even if it is only for 30 minutes. This tradition is important to my roommates and me and has brought us closer together as the years go on.

PEP has taught me to be self-sufficient, respectful, motivated, courageous, caring and empathetic. I believe I had a “head-start” compared to my peers on my college campus…thank you PEP!

From Luke Jessup, age 38

As a PEP kid, I grew up in a healthy environment, with reasonable limits, that made me feel like I was a valuable member of the household. I remember using my budding artistic talents to draw all over hall wall. Despite only being 4, it made sense to my juvenile brain that it was now my responsibility to scrub the wall until it was clean again. After experiencing how hard it was to clean, I decided I’d rather paint my masterpieces on paper in the future.

At the age of 8, I took on the role of making dinner one night a week for my family. This gave me a tremendous sense of self worth, and helped me develop skills as a cook. I imagine my older siblings (16 and 18) did not enjoy those peanut butter and jelly/grilled cheese sandwiches as much as I did, but my repertoire expanded quickly enough before there was all out mutiny.

I remember fondly of family council meetings, where we collectively made decisions once a week. These regular meetings created a structure to resolve conflicts, schedule opportunities to bond as a family, and express appreciation for each other. I was empowered, despite being the youngest, to have a voice. My vote counted as much as anyone else’s in the family. And it was in this format, that my siblings could express to me that it was time to make something different than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, again!

Now, I have grown up to be a competent adult. I started a business, now in its 9th year. My wife and I make a great team…one that can resolve conflict in healthy ways. And I feel like I have a clear roadmap for many of the challenging situations I face as a parent. PEP is an amazing resource for families and I am eternally grateful for all it has done for my childhood and my family.

From a 36-year-old son of a PEP parent

Growing up with PEP parents in the household has given me better insight into human behavior which I feel really helped me at a younger age to interpret peoples actions and words.  It helped me see beyond certain behaviors and get to the root of the problem. Once I got into relationships in later years it also helped because I had gained a better ability to talk with respect and patience.”

From a 24-year-old son of a PEP parent

Without even knowing it, PEP has played a huge role in my life. Growing up, I didn’t realize how important the values PEP taught me would end up being. Whether it was family dinners, doing my share of chores, or learning what I can overcome on my own, PEP has taught me invaluable lessons that impact me every day as an adult. In particular, when I was talking to my mom recently about how busy I’ve been at work, I was looking back at how much she taught me about courage and determination. In school growing up, when I had a tough homework assignment or was swamped with exams, I often started to stress, but my mom encouraged me that I would succeed. Sometimes, I would beg her to help me with an assignment, but by her not doing for me what I could do for myself, I learned a lesson that would help me in college and as a professional. I know that if I put my mind to it, I have what it takes to succeed. 

From a 36-year-old daughter of a PEP parent

Being a PEP kid meant having a parent that was able to understand my developmental needs and how to foster and encourage positive growth throughout my childhood. As a child, I didn’t realize how lucky I was. Now that I have children, I see how many different parenting approaches there are. I can see the impact of positive and encouraging parenting on my developing and growing children. Planting the “PEP” seeds early and continuing to water them with the PEP philosophies and teachings allow children to bloom in beautiful ways. Thank you! 

From a 33-year-old daughter of a PEP parent

I’m a PEP “kid” with PEP kids of my own now. My mom has been a part of PEP nearly my whole life so my childhood was infused with all the gems of PEP.  It was a gift then that I now have the chance to share with my kids. I take my role as a parent seriously. I realize the impact a parent has on their child.  I’m committed to parenting mindfully, with intention to build strong connection, love, cooperation, self-sufficiency and mutual respect.  PEP is my parenting roadmap. It’s an organization founded in principles I believe in. Thank you PEP for being an invaluable resource as I embark on my parenting journey! 

PEP helps create the foundation of love and connection in the home.  As a PEP “kid,” mom, and mental health professional, I see the incredible wisdom in PEP’s teachings.  I go back to PEP’s philosophy for the guiding principles. PEP lays the foundation for improved parent-child relationships and emotionally healthy kids. 

When I think of PEP I first think of the people who make up PEP.  All those who care and the passion that drives this organization. The educators do this work because it’s a calling. The next thing I think about is quality. I read books being written today as advertised as new hot concepts and think PEP has been saying this all along.

As a kid of a PEP parent, I felt loved, understood and valued. I appreciate my parents and feel close to them. The principles in action bring my family closer, building loving connection, encouraging cooperation and mutual respect.  

From Rachel L, age 28  

In my family, “PEP” wasn’t just a noun – it was a verb. “Stop PEP-ing me, mooooom,” we’d moan during a particularly obvious of example of specific encouragement or an appropriate consequence. To “PEP” meant to talk about skills we were learning and responsibilities we were taking. It meant that we didn’t get paid for doing chores, since they were expectations for contributing to our home community. It meant that we knew what the non-negotiables were as opposed to when we could argue for what we wanted. It meant that when we did something wrong, we had to participate in coming up with the action plan to remedy our error. Being the smart-aleck children we were, my sister and I rolled our eyes and were quick to let our mother know that we were on to her. We knew what kind of trick she was trying to pull with every calm and heart felt “Let’s hear each other out” conversation. 

Because like it or not, we were PEP’ed but good. As I grew and matured and went off to college and then the “Real World,” I came to appreciate the little things I had taken for granted – that a specific piece of encouragement was more valuable than general praise. That having to contribute to the home by making my own lunch or washing dishes or doing laundry really did prepare me to be a functioning adult. That one of the most valuable lessons to learn in dealing with other people was Q-TIP… Quit Taking It Personally. When I started studying education and child development in college, it really began to click. My mother will never let me hear the end of it – the day that I called her and said “Mom – all that PEP stuff – It’s real!”

As a teacher now, I think a lot about the lessons I learned at a young age, consciously and subconsciously. I think about the ways of interacting with students that come naturally to me, because it’s what my mother would have done – of explaining the “why” for a rule, letting all parties in a dispute feel heard, choosing consequences instead of punishment. Without meaning to, I’ve become something of a PEP teacher and, if my mom has her way, maybe I’ll be something of a PEP parent too. 

From Alex Hedge, age 20  

One of the coolest parts for me of having a PEP parent is picking up and applying some of PEP’s concepts in my everyday life. I am currently a junior at a business school, and one of my main extracurricular activities is a consulting club that completes strategy-related projects for local businesses. Last semester, I was the team manager, and without realizing it, I found myself applying PEP’s cornerstone Encouragement techniques with the newer members on the team. Specifically, upon seeing their completed work, my evaluation focused on the effort they put into their work as opposed to praise. Even when I observed the quality of work to be lacking, I found that my encouragement-based approach motivated my team and set them up to succeed. At the end of the project, our client was so impressed with the team’s work that he offered the entire team summer internships. What I found most remarkable, though, was the extent to which these PEP ideas translate to real world settings.


Parent Encouragement Program
10100 Connecticut Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895

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