Parent Coaching

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Try to picture a world where parents and their kids establish and practice respect towards each other. Can you think about never yelling at your children. Consider having tasks done every day with little or no bedlam. A Parent Coach can develop a release from the traditional way in which we parent our children.

Do you recognize this dialogue?

Mother: “Sam, go and make your bed.” (Telling)
Sam: “I don't feel like it.” (Quarrelsome)
Mother: “I said to make your bed right now!” (Ordering)
Sam: “You can't force me to!” (Extremely disrespectful)
Mother: “Sam, I’ve told you umpteen times to do what you are told. Now go make your bed!”
Sam: “Stop ragging on me!” (Non-acceptance of parent as authority figure)
Mother: “Fine! You will not have television rights tonight!” (Result of defeat, abandonment of the issue and discipline. The bed remains unmade).

Very young children including toddlers are becoming known with extreme behavioral issues. Teenagers lack respect and turn down opportunities to take part in family activities. Parents are shouting at the kids and the kids are hostile towards their parents. We have confusion and trouble in our homes. Parents are looking for ways to solve the problem. Parents are asking for help in order to be able to create a harmonious and safe environment in their homes.

In the late 1980’s I made a trip with my family cross-country from San Francisco, CA all the way to New London, CT. On our trip, we stayed over in Kalona, IA with friends we hadn’t seen in a decade. Their family had eight children under 11 years old while I only had a three-year-old son. Our friend was also a full-time mom and meant to home school her children until they were old enough to go to high school.

As we were met at the door by nine pairs of eyes looking at us from all around, I believed that I wouldn’t have any time to catch up with my friend after ten years. I was stunned and pleased that we were able to ‘catch up’ and I was fortunate enough to be able to see some of the best parenting I have ever witnessed.

Through the years when I found I was worrying over my own parenting skills, thoughts of my friend in Iowa would often enter my mind. It seemed almost unimaginable to be able to apply the way her and her husband were rearing their children. Was it out of the question for me to get my children to truly listen to me with respect, help out and not shout?

About 14 years later, I was taking part in a life coaching course. Coaches from all over the country enforced a way of talking to each other in an organized and focused manner. We were instructed on how to listen to each other with different intensity. We coached ourselves to be able to see when we became inattentive. We got rid of the blame and predisposition to criticism that was bred into us. We made inquiries of each other and recognized each other's strong points.

I started to think about what it would be like if parents communicated with their children in this way. Was is really possible to get rid of the old expression, “Do as you’re told”? Could this be the answer to the unrest of parenting? Could parenting coaching methods bring about a change in my family?

I though back to fourteen years ago and recalled what I had found at my friend's home in Iowa. She and her husband had visual communication with their children. They ceased what they were doing in order to listen and talk with their each child. They made distinct requests and followed up to make sure that the tasks had been carried out. They expressed approval of children for a job well done.

I then began to consider different conversations between parents and children. The more I toyed with this idea, the more I was sure that we, the parents, play a meaningful role in our relationship with our kids. When we talk to our kids with specific directions, we get results. When we show that we appreciate our children, we receive respect in return.

I thought about different conversations like this one might work between a parent and their child?

Mother: “Sam, I have a request.” (Respectfully)
Sam: “Yes, mom?” (Inquisitive response)
Mother: “I would like to ask that you make your bed”. (Specified request)
Sam: “Uh huh. OK…” (Partial committal)
Mother: “When will you make your bed?” (Specify commitment)
Sam: “When this show is over.” (Commitment)
Mother: “Sam? How will I know that you’ve made your bed?” (Responsibility)
Sam: “Well…I know. I'll call you up to my room and show my bed when it’s done!” (Responsible commitment to be accountable)
Mother: “Great, Sam! I can't wait to see your bed! I know that you will get right on it when the show is over and I can already imagine what a wonderful job you will do!” (Championing and affirming)
Sam: “Thanks mom!”

This coaching technique urges parents to inquire, be good listeners and in the end, teach respect. It is possible for the bed to get made without frustration, yelling and discipline. Parents can feel good about parenting. Kids can feel proud about pleasing their parents and finishing tasks that may appear consuming.

Can any of us envision this working out? I can and I gave it a try with my two teenage kids. I found out that the children were so dumbfounded that I was asking them when they might complete a task rather than ordering them to do it right away that they reacted to me reasonably well. Later on, they were on to me… (I like to test my parenting ideas out on them before I share them with my clients.) They told me that they liked this new way of dealing with each other.

What I do know is that I'm enjoying delegating the chores instead of dreading it and there is a lot less annoyance around completing chores than before. I'm going to go with it- because I think I'm on to something! The abilities of a Parenting Coach have made the difference of how I parent my kids. I no longer bellow and I can sincerely claim that I am a calm parent.

To know more please visit Parent coach and parenting coach (and coaches)

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