Read our origin story, as told by CEO Jill Li
When I was pregnant with my first son, I decided to approach parenting just like I approached my professional life, managing tech teams in China: research, plan, and launch a project that exceeds all key metrics.
I read 19 books on parenting from authors from around the world. I became an expert in the physical development of the mother and child during pregnancy.
I prepared myself to be a great parent, and I was ready for the challenge of motherhood. Or so I thought.
My pregnancy was easy, and my son was very healthy. Then when he was six, our family immigrated to the United States from China. During this time, I became pregnant with my second son.
After my second son was born, I learned about Attachment Theory and other philosophies on the social and emotional development of children that weren’t commonly known or taught to parents in China. Meanwhile, my oldest son started to exhibit a growing number of behavior issues that seemed to worsen each week.
That’s when I came to this realization:
With my first son, I had focused so much on raising a physically healthy child, that I hadn’t considered everything else that goes into raising a whole child. My lack of knowledge coupled with our big move had contributed to the social and emotional issues my first son was now experiencing.
Needless to say, I was filled with a deep sense of shame and guilt. I could see how my youngest son was benefitting from the new things I’d learned about Attachment Theory and other parenting philosophies, but I also had to admit that he was emotionally healthier than my oldest son.
After a lot of research, introspection, and many parenting classes, I found tools to help both of my kids. These tools worked, and our family’s overall health and happiness improved. But it took a lot of time, money, and patience as we experimented with different methods.
I also realized that, as adults, we justify a lot of our actions. “That’s just how I was raised,” we tell ourselves. We don’t realize how deeply our parents’ influence during our childhood contributes to our overall happiness.
I started to think that if we, as parents, could know better to do better, we could raise happier children who become happier adults.
During this time, I met Bo Shao, an entrepreneur who was wealthy and successful, but also deeply unhappy. After a lot of research and practice in mindfulness and meditation, he also came to the realization that much of his unhappiness was rooted in his own childhood, and that was negatively impacting his relationship with his own kids.
So we came from different places, but we arrived at the same conclusion:
If every parent, regardless of their background, could be equipped with the knowledge they need to raise happier children, then those children would turn into happier adults, and they could continue this positive cycle with their own children.
The question was, how? What could we do to positively impact parents like us? Because of our own parenting journeys, we knew we wanted to create something that was:
Simple. So that even the busiest parents could find time to learn and apply new ideas and concepts to their daily lives.
Preventative. We want to help parents to build a strong parenting foundation so they feel prepared to understand and manage common issues, minimizing overall stress.
Adaptable. We provide tools to build a strong parenting foundation, but parents themselves are responsible for finding the approach that works for their own, unique families.
Trusted. We’ve read hundreds of parenting books, articles, and case studies, and we work closely with top neuroscience and child development experts to condense many hours of research into concise, practical, and actionable content.
Welcome to HelloJoey: ParentLab’s first app, created for parents, by parents. I am happy to admit that I am our app’s first guinea pig, and so far, it’s significantly impacted my family and my parenting journey. In the near future, I will share some stories of how I’ve been using HelloJoey to change my relationship with my boys.
Parenting is not an exact science. There’s no “one size fits all.” But we can use science and research to help understand both ourselves and our children better. And as we learn, we grow, for our children and with our children, with the hope that, in the end, we have raised the happiest kids possible.