Whether it’s tough love, a sense of humor, homespun wisdom or just an ear to listen, every parent brings something to the proverbial table — and what you bring to it makes a big impact on your children’s lives.

Get some clarity on what you’re bringing — and whether you should start bringing more — at 92Y’s Parenting Conference on April 17. The lineup includes top parenting experts with a range of expertise: Michael Thompson, Kyle Pruett and Hank Azaria on Fatherhood, Anne Fishel on the importance of storytelling and conversation (especially at the dinner table) — and JoAnn Deak on the difference between how girls and boys think, and the science behind it.

View past Parenting Center Conferences here.


11 am – 2:30 pm
Light brunch will be served.

Becoming a Dad: What I Wish Someone Had Told Me – Hank Azaria
Storytelling & Conversation in the Family – Anne Fishel, PhD
Perspectives on Fatherhood – Kyle Pruett, MD
Girl Brain/Boy Brain: What’s the Difference? – JoAnn Deak, PhD
What Kids Need from Their Parents – Michael Thompson, PhD & panel
Parenting: You’re Good Enough – Michael Thompson, PhD


Supported by:

A lucky attendee of the Parenting Conference will win a Bugaboo Cameleon³ Classic+ special edition stroller.


(Click the names below to expand info.)

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria is perhaps best known as the voices of Moe Szyslak, Apu, Chief Wiggins and many others on the record-breaking animated series “The Simpsons” (four Emmy Awards). He is currently appearing at the Public Theater in Dry Powder and will next star in the independent film Oppenheimer Strategies opposite Richard Gere and HBO’s “The Wizard of Lies” opposite Robert DeNiro. His other television credits include: “Ray Donovan”; “Friends” (Emmy Award nomination); “Huff” (Emmy Award nomination); and “Tuesdays with Morrie” (Emmy Award). His film credits include Lovelace; The Smurfs; Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian; Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; Along Came Polly; America’s Sweethearts; Godzilla; The Birdcage (SAG Award); Pretty Woman. On Broadway, he starred in The Farnsworth Invention, and was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Spamalot.

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JoAnn Deak

JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. is a widely recognized educator and psychologist who works with parents and teachers in their roles as guides or 'neurosculptors' of children. Dr. Deak’s perspective is best described on her website "Every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become."

In the 1980's, Dr. Deak worked with the Laurel School as a consulting psychologist, where she participated in a six-year study with Harvard and a team of researchers led by Carol Gilligan. She currently consults with organizations, schools, associations and parenting groups across the United States and internationally.

Dr. Deak has written several books, including Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, How Girls Thrive and Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters. Her first children's book was published in 2010. Her new book will be available in November: The Owner's Manual for Driving Your Adolescent Brain.

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Michael G. Thompson

Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. is a consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked in more than seven hundred schools across the United States, as well as in international schools in Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

He and his co-author, Dan Kindlon, wrote The New York Times bestselling book, Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys (Ballantine Books, 1999). He is the author of Speaking of Boys: Answers to the Most-Asked Questions about Raising Sons (Ballantine, 2000), and co-author (with Catherine O’Neill Grace and Larry Cohen, Ph.D.) of Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children (Ballantine, 2001) and Mom, They’re Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems (Ballantine, 2002.) About Best Friends, Worst Enemies the Publishers Weekly review declared, “Not since Dr. Spock and Penelope Leach has there been such a sensitive and practical guide to raising healthy children.” The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Achieve Success in School and in Life (with Teresa Barker, Ballantine, 2004) was written to help parents understand the complex journey of children through school, from Kindergarten through senior year. His third book on the psychology of boys, entitled, It’s a Boy!: Understanding Your Son’s Development from Birth to Eighteen, was published in 2008. It focuses on the importance of undirected, free play in the lives of boys. Dr. Thompson’s newest book, Homesick and Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help a Child Grow, was published by Ballantine Books in May of 2012.

A dedicated speaker and traveler, Michael Thompson has appeared on "The Today Show," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," ABC "20/20," CBS "60 Minutes," "The Early Show" and "Good Morning America." He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Time and U.S. News and World Report and has been a guest on NPR’s “Morning Edition” with Susan Stamberg, “Talk of the Nation” with Ray Suarez and the "Diane Rhem Show." He wrote, narrated and hosted a two-hour PBS documentary entitled “Raising Cain” that was broadcast nationally in 2006.

Dr. Thompson is a past member of the American Camping Association and is on the Advisory Board of Parent Magazine. Dr. Thompson lives in Arlington, Massachusetts. He is married to Dr. Theresa McNally, a psychotherapist, and is the father of two grown children and the grandfather of two granddaughters: Aubrey and Brynlee.

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Anne Fishel

Anne Fishel, Ph.D. is a family therapist, clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at the Harvard Medical School. She is the author of a new book, Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids, with a foreword by Michael Thompson, Ph.D. (Amacom, Jan. 2015).

She is Director of the Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she trains child and adult psychiatry residents in family therapy and has won more than a dozen teaching prizes.

She has written numerous scholarly articles and chapters about family issues, and wrote an earlier book, Treating the Adolescent in Family Therapy: A Developmental and Narrative Approach. She also blogs about the impact of technology on families for Psychology Today, and about family dinners for thefamilydinnerproject.org. She has written about family issues for NPR, PBS, The Washington Post and other media outlets. She is an editor for the Harvard Review of Psychiatry and Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice.

She is a founding member of The Family Dinner Project, a non-profit group that helps families on-line and in communities to have better and more frequent family dinners.

She lectures widely at academic conferences, medical Grand Rounds, and to parent and teacher groups. The mother of two young adult sons, she lives outside of Boston with her husband.

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Kyle Pruett

Kyle Pruett, MD has been a distinguished educator at the graduate, undergraduate and distance-learning level for three decades and has served the Child Study Center as Director of Medical and Undergraduate Studies. He is an international expert and forensic consultant on child, parental and family development, paternal involvement, children’s mental health, creativity and the effects of trauma, media and divorce on young and very young children. Founder of the Yale Conference on Fatherhood, and the Harris Professional Development Network for Training in Early Intervention and Research, he served as co-chair of the Child Custody Conflict Placement Committee of the Child Study Center and the Yale Law School. He is past President of Zero to Three: National Center of Infants, Toddlers and Families, and served on the Board of Trustees of Sesame Workshop, Yale Program for Humanities in Medicine and The Alliance for Childhood. He is a regular consultant and contributor to ABC and CBS News, Newsweek Magazine, NPR, The New York Times and sits on the editorial boards of Medical Problems of the Performing Artist, Parents, and Child. Dr. Pruett served as principal investigator of the pioneering Longitudinal Study of Children of Primary Nurturing Fathers in Intact Families 1982-1998. He was co-principal investigator with Marsha Kline Pruett of Divorce in Legal Context: Outcomes for, and Perceptions by, Young Children of the Process of Divorce, 1998-2000. He conducted the first investigation of the effects of a collaborative divorce model on child outcomes, again teaming up with his wife, 2000-2002. His current research focuses on the Supporting Fatherhood Initiative, State of California Department of Social Service, Office of Child Abuse Prevention. It is a major, 900+ family multi-site randomized clinical trial of a co-parenting-focused intervention designed to reduce abuse and neglect in a Latino and African American population of poor families by engaging fathers positively and early in the lives of their children. Findings have prompted California to change the training of their childwelfare workers, and an international replication is underway in Alberta, CA and London, UK.

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