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From a High-Pressure Childhood to Gentle Parenting

Pediatric OT Suzie Driscoll on raising her daughter differently than how she grew up in Korea

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Published on: May 30, 2024

Seattle parents pose with their young daughter on a Pacific Northwest beach
Photo:
Occupational Therapist and Shoreline mom Suzie Driscoll with her husband and their three-year-old daughter on a Seattle beach. As a mom and healthcare provider, Driscoll prioritizes social-emotional development with children. Credit: Ling Ling Zheng

Welcome to our series on parenting styles. Meet more Puget Sound families: “Beyond Tiger Moms and Attachment Dads: 7 Seattle-area parents share how their stories shape their parenting style

Pressured Daughter, Gentle Parent: Suzie Driscoll, Shoreline mom to a 3-year-old

Suzie Driscoll is a pediatric occupational therapist and owner of Tiny and Mighty Therapy in Seattle. She grew up in Korea and moved to the U.S. in the fourth grade. She approaches parenting with a gentle, responsive mindset.

As a high-achieving youth in Korea, Suzie remembers academic pressures running high—physical punishment was the norm for incorrect responses on math questions—and that excellence was expected in her daily piano lesson.

As a Pacific Northwest mom today, she’s seeing a worrying trend. “Since I moved to the States in the mid-1990s, I have noticed the rise of academic pressures and competition, similar to what I noticed growing up in Korea.”

Suzie says she wants a more holistic, social-emotional focused childhood both for her daughter and her patients where developmental needs are balanced with the demands of daily life. “As a pediatric OT,” she says, “I look at the whole child and recognize their unique needs that may fluctuate by day, hour and sometimes minutes.” With her daughter, that might look like building in breaks between errands to unbuckle her 3-year-old and let her out of her car seat to run and play.

Through her parenting approach, Suzie aims to foster both assertiveness and empathy in her child, prioritizing her emotional development alongside academic achievement. At the same time, Suzie acknowledges the importance of flexibility in parenting, recognizing that each family dynamic is unique and requires a personalized strategy tailored to the needs of both parents and children.

“I hope every parent feels empowered to blend their own experiences and values to develop their own parenting style that fits their child and family best and help their children become the best versions of themselves because that is what ultimately we parents want,” she says.

Meet more Puget Sound families: 

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