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Sunshine Parenting

Jan 22, 2021

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The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen's Wellness & Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World.

website |
instagram | @parentcompass
facebook | TheParentCompass
linkedIn | Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis
podcast | Parent Compass on SmartSocial

About this episode

In this episode, I talk with co-authors Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, MA and Jenn Curtis, MSW, about their book, The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen's Wellness & Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World.

Bragging rights and bumper stickers are some of the social forces fueling today’s parenting behavior—and, as a result, even well-intentioned parents are behaving badly. Many parents don’t know how best to support their teens, especially when everyone around them seems to be frantically tutoring, managing, and helicoptering. The Parent Compass provides guidance on what parents’ roles should be in supporting their teens’ mental health as they traverse the maze of the adolescent years.

For anyone daunted by the unique challenge of parenting well in this pressure-laden and uncertain era, The Parent Compass offers:
• Advice on fostering grit and resilience in your teen
• Strategies to help your teen approach life with purpose
• Guidance on how to preserve your relationship with your teen while navigating a competitive academic environment
• Clear explanations of your appropriate role in the college admission process
• Effective ways to approach technology use in your home, and much more!

Using The Parent Compass to navigate the adolescent years will help you parent with confidence and intention, allowing you to forge a trusting, positive relationship with your teen.

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About Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, M.A.

Cindy, a graduate of Stanford University, is an expert in the college admission process: she got her start in admission offices before opening a private study skills and college counseling business in Southern California, which she ran for over fifteen years. As an Assistant Director of Admission for the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago, she screened and reviewed over three thousand applications, interviewed prospective students, and served on the admission committee to evaluate borderline applicants and appeals cases. Then, as a private counselor, she helped hundreds of high school students navigate their academic journeys, including course selection, study skills, time management, and college applications.

Since closing her private educational practice in 2011, Cindy has focused on public speaking to student, parent, school and business groups on a variety of education-related topics.
Over the course of her career, Cindy has written numerous books: The Parent Compass is her tenth. Her other titles include The Best College Admission Essays (co-author, ARCO/Peterson’s, 1997), The Everything Guide to Study Skills: Strategies, Tips, and Tools You Need to Succeed in School (F&W Media, 2011), Straight-A Study Skills (co-author, Adam’s Media, 2012), The Everything College Checklist Book (F&W Media, 2013), Writing Successful College Applications: It’s More than Just the Essay (Peterson’s Publishing, 2014), and four other books (Simon & Schuster and Random House). In her her research for these books, she interviewed the Deans of Admission of Amherst, Bates, Bucknell, University of Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Grinnell, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Notre Dame, Occidental, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, Stanford, Vanderbilt, University of Virginia, Wesleyan, Williams and Yale.

Cindy holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Art History from Stanford University and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Nova Southeastern University. Some of the other twists and turns in her multifaceted career include her stints as a campus tour guide and volunteer student coordinator for Stanford’s Office of Undergraduate Admission, and a tenth grade history teacher at The University School, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Cindy raised her family in Newport Beach, CA, and moved to Menlo Park, CA, in 2018, where she resides with her husband and four children. For further information, or to inquire about a potential speaking engagement, feel free to visit her website at

About Jenn Curtis, M.S.W.

Jenn Curtis owns FutureWise Consulting, an educational consulting company in Orange County, California. She has guided hundreds of high school students from throughout the United States through all aspects of the college admission process. Her passion lies in empowering students to navigate their high school years with confidence, emphasizing self-advocacy, grit, and intention. Jenn’s interest in mental health and research began while an undergraduate at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), where she worked in a lab studying athletic performance anxiety.

After college, at the University of California-Irvine’s Child Development Center, Jenn researched treatments for learning disabilities, co-authored a published study on a novel diagnostic tool for ADHD, and supervised and trained undergraduate researchers. After earning her master’s degree, Jenn worked in psychiatric rehabilitation, assisting clients with severe and persistent mental illness. She also served as the Director of Grant Writing for an international university, was an editorial assistant for a forensic psychology academic journal, has edited several books, and coached graduate and doctoral students in developing effective writing skills. Jenn also developed a college and career readiness program for first-generation students.

Jenn earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA’s Honors College and master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California, where she was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and selected as Dean's Scholar. Jenn earned her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA. She resides in San Clemente, California with her husband and two daughters.