When you become a parenting coach, you will often hear the lament that children don’t come with a handbook. Well, there are lots of parenting books available now, but they don’t offer the personal support that parents want and need to deal with the challenges they face in the demanding bundles of energy that are their children.
What’s the biggest secret to share when you become a parenting coach?
1) When you become a parenting coach, clients will come to you because they want help with their “problem” child or children. In most cases, however, the “problem” is more likely to be the parents. Help them see that the behavior changes they are looking for in their children need to start with their own behavior and focus because, in fact, the biggest secret about successful parenting is that it’s all about the parents.
Other Secrets in the game of parenting
2) Parents need to know that loving their child beyond all reason is not enough. As a coach you provide the insight that the parental mindset about love has to include respectful and consistent discipline. It isn’t about giving in to all the wishes and desires of their children (whether parents can afford it or not), it’s about helping them understand how to behave in the world in acceptable ways.
3) Become a parenting coach who instills confidence. No one does everything “right” all the time. Parents will be better at their job if they stop second guessing themselves. With few exceptions, they are doing their best and they need to know they don’t have to be perfect.
4) Parents should have reasonable expectations. A two year old is not likely to be a tidy eater no matter how much her mother scolds; a thirteen year old is going to want to keep her diary private; siblings aren’t going to “play nicely” all the time. When you become a parenting coach, helping parents to understand what is reasonable will go a long way toward improving parenting skills.
5) Not knowing how to handle anger towards their children might be the reason you have parenting clients. If a very young child is causing the anger, coach the client to understand that his anger is more about his own unreasonable expectations than any fault in the child, and visualize the potential consequences of inappropriate anger. If the child is older, offer alternative ways to handle intense anger. These include using “I” statements like “I see” or “I feel” followed by a description of what the child needs to do, instead of calling the child stupid or selfish or other damaging labels. Another option is to tell the child that they will discuss it when they have both calmed down, and then to walk away. A third option is to coach your client to get into a quiet, thoughtful or quizzical state instead of a loud and angry looking one. This takes practice, but will dramatically change the outcome in an angry situation.
When you become a parenting coach, you become an architect of the future. The ripples of change that you begin will affect many generations to come.
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Dorine G Kramer
JTS Certified Strategy and Accountability Coach