Parent Coaching: Who Needs It?By Kassandra Brown
“My son hates first grade. He’s being bullied.”
“We’ve had so many tantrums this week. I have to watch the boys all the time so they
don’t hurt each other.”
“My husband is always telling my daughter what to do. Can’t he see he’s stifling her
creativity and their relationship?”
“I’m completely stressed out. I know I should spend more time with my kids, but I have
no energy for it.”
Do any of these quotes sound like you? These are some of the everyday family
struggles that bring people to parent coaching. So when you ask the question “Who needs parent coaching?” the answer just might be “Everyone!” In a parent coaching session, we use parenting as the lens to do your inner work.
All the work is highly practical and some of it might surprise you. Noticing your own reactions to your child’s struggles might not be intuitively
obvious as part of the healing. But it is.
Tools of this Parent Coach
Different coaches offer different life perspectives, training, and background. Here are
some of the tools I might use with you. They come from my training in Inner Empathy,
The Work of Byron Katie, and The Diamond Cutter as well as years of teaching yoga and
- Radical Honesty. Telling the truth is freeing.
- Reflective Listening. I will reflect what I hear back to you and then teach you to do this with yourself and your family members. Knowing you are heard is deeply healing.
- Compassionate Presence. We will awaken the empathetic awareness within you that can listen and welcome everything including anger, sadness, exuberance, or fear. Strengthening access to this presence in you allows you to respond in ways that help others feel understood and loved without rewarding or punishing their behavior. Compassion is transformative.
- Listening Deeply to Your Inner Cast of Characters. We will listen to the different voices within you and find out their different jobs. Some hold sadness and some hold frustration, impatience, or anger. All are offering their life energy in service of you. Listening to them with compassion frees up huge amounts energy.
- Inquiry into Your Story. What if your story wasn’t the only truth? What if you get creative about the stories of your life and what you must do to be safe? Gentle inquiry frees your creativity.
- Tracking Your Progress. Without critique or guilt, we will track your progress on the things that are important to you. Noticing behavior allows it to change with ease and flow.
How Does It Work?
A parent coach usually works one-on-one either in person, over the phone, or over the internet. Working in person allows easier access to facial expressions, body language, and ‘vibe’ of both coach and client. Working over the phone or internet allows people in rural or geographically separate areas to connect with each other. There is no way I could work with my clients in Vancouver, Switzerland, and Colorado if I was limited to face-to-face work. Remote work also allows each of us to be in the comfort of our own homes,with no time wasted in commuting, and able to fit in a session while the baby naps. Many people who work over the phone find they still feel quite connected to one another and the increased privacy can sometimes allow them to feel safe being vulnerable, even more than if they were in the same room as their coach.
Most parent coaches offer a free consultation so you can get a feel for the method, approach, and personality of the coach. It’s good to have personalities you can work with. Being challenged by your coach can be a good thing. Being uncomfortable, not feeling safe, or not feeling understood, on the other hand, could all hinder your growth and
Why start Parent Coaching?
What brings someone to parent coaching? Sometimes it’s a crisis like illness, divorce, or loss of a job that creates big changes in the family. Sometimes it’s nothing out of the ordinary – nothing seems ‘wrong’. In either instance the parents involved are following an inner sense that there has to be a better way. Something within the parents is willing to reach out beyond their known resources and comfort zone and take a chance that their family dynamics really can change.
Even just the hint of awareness that the status quo doesn’t have to continue can be enough to get a parent to reach out and say “hey, I’m curious. Let’s talk.” That hint of curiosity is a wonderful moment. What are you curious about? What changes would you like to make?
Kassandra Brown lives and works with her family at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. Between now and the end of the year she is offering a limited number of free sessions. Contact her for more information.