The Innovative Parent (Paperback)

Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art

By Erica Curtis, Ping Ho

Swallow Press, 9780804012157, 200pp.

Publication Date: April 15, 2019

List Price: 21.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Even the best talk-based practices in parenting can be limiting. How can art help parents temper storms of emotion, defuse sibling conflicts, get teeth brushed, and raise happy, successful kids? In The Innovative Parent, Erica Curtis and Ping Ho integrate cutting-edge research, years of clinical expertise, and their own parenting experience into a revolutionary yet practical guide to creative parenting. Plentiful illustrations and anecdotes bring concepts to life and show art in action with kids and parents.

Together, Curtis and Ho let parents in on art therapy trade secrets to help children make sense of emotions, build connections with others, develop problem-solving skills, resolve day-to-day conflicts, process and retain information, confront fears and anxiety, and much more. These are complex tasks for something as seemingly simple as making art, yet therein lies the beauty of The Innovative Parent: its down-to-earth approach is simple, doable, and fun.

About the Author

Erica Curtis is a board-certified art therapist, licensed marriage and family therapist, and internationally cited expert on parenting, relationships, and mental health, specializing in creative and cutting-edge approaches to psychotherapy and teaching. She lives in southern California with her husband and three children.

Ping Ho is founder and director of UCLArts and Healing, which offers training and community education in the use of creative expression for self-discovery, connection, and empowerment. She has master’s degrees in counseling psychology and public health, and an extensive background in the performing arts. She and her husband have raised two children and now have two young grandchildren.

Praise For The Innovative Parent: Raising Connected, Happy, Successful Kids through Art

“With this wonderful guide you will find a fun and effective way to make your connections with your kids more fulfilling, while cultivating resilience and joy in their lives. Erica Curtis and Ping Ho provide artistic activities involving music, visual images, and dance for deep enrichment and enhancing our relationships with our children as they grow—with innovation, collaboration, and resilience front and center. Bravo, and thank you!”—Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, University of California, Los Angeles (New York Times bestselling author of The Whole-Brain Child, Parenting from the Inside Out, and Brainstorm)

“I salute your effort to bring art therapy principles to new parents. Thank you for your important work!”—Dr. Harvey Karp, MD, Happiest Baby, Inc.

This book is a “must read” for all parents! Another name for it can be “creative parenting!” It is based in both the authors’ experience and the science of creative child development…. Art allows expression through a child’s imagination and can be an ideal path to communication between parents and children as well as just for the children themselves. This marvelous book talks about the process of children’s use of art with many wonderful examples. It is further enriched by examples of other creative expressions such as music and dance. I strongly recommend it.—Lonnie Zeltzer, MD, Director, Pediatric Pain and Palliative Care Program, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

The Innovative Parent manages to avoid the pitfalls of countless parenting books and tools. It offers sensitive, creative, and mindful parenting techniques that are specific yet flexible. While no child comes with an instruction manual, this book is the closest I’ve found to one in anchoring me—both as a parent and as a creative person—in what I know.”—Einat Metzl, Department of Marital and Family Therapy, Loyola Marymount University

“In crafting The Innovative Parent, Erica Curtis and Ping Ho have condensed decades of experience, both academically and on the front lines of their own lives, into a lively must-read for anyone invested in the self-awareness, success and health of future generations. It provides compelling and easily digestible instruction for any parent, but also for educators, clinicians, researchers, program administrators and community health practitioners, who will join parents in benefiting from this book’s combination of witty observations and practical guidance. Designed for use by both novice and expert, the book’s deep insights into the child-learner’s mind and heart provides a beckoning path forward for anyone intrigued by the ability of the arts to engage, activate, inspire and teach.”—Dr. Jeremy Nobel, Harvard University (Founder, The Foundation for Art and Healing)