Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

4 Reasons you Might Need a Parenting Coach

When we think of coaches and parents, we usually conjure the image of parents who take on the role of sports coaches in their children's soccer or baseball leagues. But parenting coaches, on the other hand, are not for children, but for parents. They aren't psychologists, and they aren't nannies or babysitters. They're a parenting aide when nothing else seems to work, and they're only a phone call away.

Parenting coaches, according to a 2005 New York Times article, are relatively recent phenomenon, and likely did not exist a decade ago. The parenting coach, charging on average between $30 and $100 an hour, is there to help you work through your most immediate parenting concerns when they happen, as they happen.

Could you use a parenting coach? Here are some things to consider:

1. Do you and your partner frequently feel completely unable to control your children's behavior?

This is perhaps the number one indication that you could benefit from a parenting coach. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we simply cannot control the whining, the fighting, and the disobedience. Many parents turn to shouting, even spanking, in order to try to control their children's behavior, but this often backfires and creates more of the same problem. Other parents beg their children and in effect are at the mercy of their every child's whim. If you have reached that point of complete loss of control, a parenting coach may be able to help you.

2. Have you tried other methods, like self-help books, counseling, etc., with no luck?

Self-help books can often be a real eye-opener, but with so many on the market, each purveying a different approach to parenting, how do you know which one to read that speaks specifically to your parenting problems? What's more, self-help books aren't interactive. Formal counseling with a licensed psychologist can also be a wonderful way to deal with parenting problems, but it's also extremely costly and time-consuming. Counselors often assume very particular parenting philosophies, while parenting coaches typically don't, and counselors often cannot help you with problems as they arise. Most importantly, counselors are often not allowed to talk about their personal experiences parenting, while parenting coaches draw from their experiences freely.

3. Are you always pressed for time considering your many other obligations beyond parenting?

Parent coaching works on a case-by-case basis. Often conducted over the phone, you can usually call a parenting coach to talk for a lengthy period of time, or you can call in the event of a parenting crisis when you need advice immediately. When you are always pressed for time, a parenting coach turns into a savior for those moments when you don't know what to do.

4. Do you feel that you have no one close to you to turn to, and would you prefer objective parenting advice?

Traditionally, parents experiencing problems with their children will turn to their own parents, close friends, or siblings. While this can certainly be helpful, sometimes you don't want to talk about sensitive personal issues with your nearest and dearest. Sometimes you just want an objective voice in your head to lead you through your parenting problems without making value judgments. A parenting coach does just that. If you've decided you could benefit from a parenting coach, make sure to research potential coaches thoroughly, and also figure out what kind of advice you want exactly. The Parent Coaching Institute is a great place to start.

This guest post was submitted by Jemima Lopez, a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and online degrees. She welcomes your comments at her email: lopezjemima562(at)

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