Most people think of coaching from the aspect of sports. Coaching can come in many forms, and one of the little-known coaching opportunities can come in what seems like an unlikely place. Parent coaching is exactly what it sounds like—it is a great way for parents to learn develop strategies for success, meet their kids where they’re at, end generational trauma, and provide a stable foundation for stronger parenting.
How Does Parent Coaching Work?
Similar to a therapist or doctor, a parent coach will come to a parent-child situation with a neutral mindset and work with parents to ask what they want to work on, what they think the issues are, and what their family is dealing with that lead to the need for a coach. Parents will be expected to be honest and help the parent coach get an accurate understanding of the daily routines, significant issues that have arisen in the household, and what strategies parents have tried to solve those issues. Honesty is key with a parent coach, as no progress can be made if the parents are dishonest. Parent coaches are meant to be non-judgemental and educational in their approach to helping parents be better parents. They may even give “homework” to practice from time to time.
Parent Coaching Develops Strategies for Success
Parent coaches will continually suggest strategies to help resolve issues around the household and change damaging behaviors. The parent coach will also keep careful notes and help the parents track their progress with successes and hold-ups and how their family is adjusting to the new suggestions. Parent coaches continually help parents see how their previous strategies may not have been working and give a fresh view to parents who have been stuck in a continual loop of stress or disappointment. As those positive strategies start to pay off, parents and children can feel secure, confident, and happy at home again with their new strategies.
Parent Coaching Helps Parents Meet Their Kids Where They’re At
Many people need parent coaches to help them help their children. This is sometimes called the oxygen mask effect. The idea is, like on an airplane, the parent must put the oxygen mask on before they place it on a child, or else they can’t help the child. This works in two ways with parent coaches. A parent coach will suggest the parent do things to help their mental health and give suggestions on their parenting techniques and relational strategies with their child. Only when these needs are met can the parent effectively help the child with their struggles.
Parent Coaching Can Help End Generational Trauma
Parents learn how to become parents using models learned from their parents when they were children. This is very common, and often a good thing for families. Sometimes, however, what this modeling does is create perpetual generational trauma. When parents don’t know how to help or react to certain situations, the emotional or abusive aftermath is traumatic for their children, who may then grow to be parents who only have the tools to parent from what they experienced.
Many times parents need a parent coach to help break these generational habits and show parents what isn’t working and is causing harm to their child. In situations with trauma and attachment issues, children may have disturbing behaviors and only know how to react in the same way they’ve seen displayed by their parents. Parents then get frustrated, and the cycle continues.
Parent Coaching Will Help Provide a Stable Foundation for Stronger Parents
A parent coach is an ally, a sounding board, and a great neutral party than can help dispel issues within the family. Though they are not a therapist, they may recommend family therapy as a step to help the family reconnect, open lines of communication, and establish boundaries.
It’s important to take a parent coach’s advice not as criticism, but as a learning experience. No parent is perfect, and there are always ways to handle situations better. It’s also important to process and heal any guilt or trauma parents have over how they handled something with their kids. They must hold themselves accountable for the changes they need to make as a parent to help rebuild those bridges and trust with their kids. A parent’s job is to provide that strong, stable environment. A parent coach can help people create that stable space, and shape them into stronger parents.
How Do You Get a Parent Coach?
Talk to your local social services about parent coaching. There are also private non-profits that can be recommended through local services, or, if you have the means, you can hire a parent coach directly.
There are times as a parent when you may feel you have completely run out of ideas about how to help your child. Parent coaching is a great way to try to meet your child halfway, and even that might not always be enough. Generational trauma, a lack of accountability, mental health issues, attachment issues, and more can make home an unhappy place. When therapy, parent coaching, and other avenues for help aren’t working for your child, it may be time for inpatient treatment. At Havenwood Academy, a long-term residential facility for teen girls with trauma or mental health struggles, our professional and experienced staff can help your child work through her trauma on our beautiful Utah estate. We will customize a treatment program specific to your child, and meet your family where they are at with family therapy and parent coaching suggestions. Call us at (435) 586-2500 to learn how we can help.
Think Havenwood Might Be For You?
We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.