Ten years ago, I took on the role of parent coach. When I arrived at one of my first appointments, I learned that the parents and their son were deaf. They were having a tough time communicating, and in frustration, their son had locked himself in his room.
After getting permission to go in, I saw the boy was in his bed with his blanket over his head.
It was evident that he didn’t want to talk, and we had a challenge on our hands.
Instead of trying to force him into a conversation, I wrote a single question on a piece of paper and slid it under his blanket.
“Do you want things to be different?”
After he read it, I saw the covers shake. He said yes.
I then asked if I could come back next week. He said yes.
10 years later, he’s happy. He’s successful. He’s in college.
Coaching is how he got there. And it was truly a pleasure to help with this journey. He dug deep within himself, pulled out his strengths and moved forward in a positive way.
That, in essence, is the definition of the coaching stage of parenting.
This approach best applies to children between the ages of 14 and 21, and focuses on listening, showcasing trust, creating accountability and facilitating conversations that are concise and dynamic. Leading up to this point are two parenting stages that align with our children’s cognitive development: teaching and facilitating. From birth to 7 years old, we are their source of information and explain the world around them. As our children reach 8-13 years old, we as facilitators can take that explanation of the world and expand on it; we help them analyze and process what’s around them.
Coaching, the third stage, helps parents to motivate, encourage and direct their children to bring positive outcomes to their world. Constructive discussions at this stage include talking points such as the source of the problem, their part in the equation, and how their strengths will move them forward. These conversations allow them to see themselves at their best and are brought to a place that allows them to think outside the box when they feel stuck.
To learn more about the coaching approach to parenting, we invite you to visit the Parenting Approach section of our website.
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