guidance

Three Questions to Consider When Working with a Parenting Coach

Stephanie Owen, LMFT

There were a few reasons that led me on the path to where I am now. I grew up with a single mom and 12 year younger sister. While I was a couple hours away from home completing my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, I received many phone calls from my mom (single at the time) concerned and extremely frustrated with how to help my sister. I was her support, the only support she had.

It was then that I knew how important parents need someone to vent to, help guide, and just be there when it feels like there's no else to turn to. Even more, I witnessed first-hand how much more crucial that support is needed for single parents.

While I was on my journey as a therapist working with countless families, I experienced time and again parents feeling like they were "too late" to make changes with their kids. It was then that my vision became clearer with how to support families. My mission unfolded to support parents in feeling confident, congruent and conscious. My intention is to provide a non-judgmental space to problem-solve and improve family relationships, in particular.

Curious to learn more about parenting coaching and if it’s for you? Below are three questions and answers to consider.

1. Why would I need a Parenting Coach?

The answer may sound a bit cliché, yet the truth is... children don’t come with a manual.  A lot of parents have shared their challenges with understanding their children. As a parenting coach, I help when  behaviors get worse, the meltdowns and tantrums are blown out of proportion and no amount of timeouts, bribes and gentle conversations will work. When your children are driving you crazy, that’s when I come in.

Dealing with behaviors swiftly becomes an immediate order that often gets off track with negative behaviors. For all children, being difficult is their way of communicating their needs. Parents, in turn, are often unaware that those actions reflect unmet needs and mistaken goals.

If the strategies you are using, time-outs, restrictions, bribes and spanking, among others, no longer work, it means that reaching out to get help may be needed to get your family back on track. Families are not always picture perfect. It can get messy with all the emotional ups and downs. Each child is unique and expresses their needs differently. Some parents tend to give in to stop and pacify children’s emotions without realizing it creates more long-term challenges. While other parents try to use punishments to regain some control and order at home, also without awareness of contributing to the problem versus solving it.

If you find yourself falling into either category, it’s worth your time and effort to take the shorter path and work with a parenting coach.

2. How do I choose a parenting coach?

Seeking support for your family is a big step! It's an investment in yourself and the vision you have for your family.  Anyone can promote themselves as a coach, so it's important to understand their experience with families and educational background. There are coaching certification programs that many go through which are highly regarded. Alternatively, choosing a parenting coach who is also a licensed therapist, like myself, allows you to benefit from these unique qualities in the coaching relationship:

  • Skillful listening - Empathic and in-tune listening is the basis of an effective therapeutic relationship

  • Ability to reframe - Putting challenges into a new "frame" is how therapists help explore opportunities

  • Detached judgment - Therapists are skilled at creating a safe place to share your deepest thoughts/feelings freely

  • Confidentiality and ethics - Therapists have strong professional and ethical guidelines to uphold their license

  • Solution focused - Trained therapists are experienced solution seekers

3. Why should I consult with Stephanie Owen for parenting coaching?

As your parenting coach, I would help you identify specific goals, plans, action steps and thought processes to help you move towards success. I would help you focus on specific and identifiable family changes, such as enforcing chores or yelling less, and make an internal parenting shift to doing so through guidance each step of the way.

One parent shared after our work together that my “approach is very much about slow, thoughtful behavior change and not just a quick fix. [Stephanie] help[ed] to clarify my goal - not just the surface feeling, but [the] real issue under what I was struggling with.”

I blend tools from Positive Discipline and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Positive Discipline is a solution-oriented approach focused on connection, mutual respect and identifying your kids underlying emotional and developmental needs. Many have misconceptions that Positive Discipline is all "positive," rather, it's about bringing kindness and firmness together and inviting your kids to discover what they're capable of. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is focused on your model of the world and how it shapes your family relationships and experiences. I incorporate it to support in shifting core beliefs that aren't serving your goals to align you with the parent you want to be.

I combine practical strategies, clinical expertise and personal experience to guide you to feeling confident that your everyday choices with your kids to ultimately parent on purpose.

If you’re ready to make a family change, sign up for a FREE 20-minute Strategy Phone Session HERE.

Share any comments below, we’d love to learn any other tips you have when looking for a parenting coach! Share with others and tag a friend who could use this, too!