parent, babies, toddler, behavior, energy, birth order, emotional, nurse, mom, dad, unrealistic, Oakland, Kaiser
Helen F. Neville, B.S., R.N.
Like many other parents, I found that being the full
time mom of two small children was more challenging
than I’d ever imagined. That was back in the old days
when all the parenting books were written by male
doctors and psychologists. I decided to collect and
write down the wisdom of women caring for their
children. (No Fault Parenting, 1984, with Mona
With youngsters ages 2 and 4, I returned to work
as a Registered Nurse at Kaiser Permanente Hospital
in Oakland, CA. For the next 20 years, as a Pediatric
Advice Nurse, I talked with thousands of parents about
health and behavior concerns. Simultaneously, I
taught classes in parent education and stress
management. Stress management spoke to my
interest in the mind-body connection.
In 1992, I attended a lecture on “inborn
temperament.” Here was another essential piece of
parenting! I was also excited by this further
connection between biology and behavior. I began to
study temperament with Dr. James Cameron of "The
Preventive Ounce," and for 10 years coordinated the
Inborn Temperament Project at Kaiser Permanente in
Oakland. Our goal was to help parents adapt their
parenting strategies to their child’s individual
Since 1993, I've regularly taught a 6-week series for
parents of "Spirited Children," co-sponsored by Kaiser
Permanente and Bananas, Inc.
|Exploring with granddaughter
|Temperament work led to two publications. First, Temperament Based Parenting Classes (with
Kaiser co-workers, Jan Kristal, MA and Rona Renner, RN, through the Kaiser Permanente Regional
Health Education Department). Second, Temperament Tools: Working with Your Child’s Inborn Traits
(with Diane Clark Johnson, Parenting Press, Seattle, WA)--new edition 2015.
Parenting Press told me their readers repeatedly said that they hadn't yet found a book on child
development they really liked. Given my experience, could I write a genuinely parent-friendly book on
this complex topic--answering the hundreds of questions I'd heard over the years as an advice nurse,
parent educator, and temperament specialist? The result is the award winning Is This a Phase?
Child Development and Parent Strategies, Birth to 6 Years, published in 2007.
I was born in British Columbia, Canada, lived on three continents before completing high school,
attended the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated with a BS, RN from the University of
California in San Francisco. I currently work in the Department of Pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente in
Richmond. I live with my family in Oakland, CA.