Your child has a baseball coach; do you have a parenting coach?
Parenting is one of the biggest challenges most of us face. Yet we believe we should go it alone—that we should instinctually know how to parent because we love our children and because we were parented ourselves once. But just as with any challenging thing in life, it may be worth thinking about getting some support.
A parenting coach or psychologist who specializes in parenting issues can help you stay on track, find the space to figure out what is in your control and what isn’t, and look at ways to manage that work for you. In particular, If you have a child with a learning exceptionality such as ADHD, you may find yourself tired of hearing other people’s opinions, anxious about what to do next, and finding it hard to cope.
Here are four reasons to consider a parenting coach:
1. They won’t tell you what to do. How often do you feel everyone and their sister is doling out uninformed parenting advice, stuff that doesn’t work for your household, and quite frankly, leaves you feeling even more frustrated, even worse, judged? Parent coaches don’t tell you what you “should” be doing. Instead, they will follow your lead.
2. They trust your expertise. You know your child best, you know your household best, and most importantly, you know yourself best. Parenting coaches work with you to create a customized approach so you feel more confident and empowered to do what is right for your family.
3. They let you vent in a neutral space. Sometimes parenting is downright tiring. Despite your best efforts, you can feel frazzled, worried and even worse, doubt yourself. It can be really helpful to release all that, in a safe space, get it off your chest, so you can start building your game plan.
4. They help you apply evidenced-based strategies. Parenting coaches who understand the science of the developing brain can guide to you to approaches that sometimes seem counterintuitive and help you understand why they work and how to use them in your unique situation.
Interested in finding a parenting coach? There are local options in almost every Canadian community: search for a local psychotherapist or life coach who has an interest in working with parents. Many psychologists specialize in parent coaching, too and will describe their areas of expertise on their websites. If you have benefits for psychological services, book a consultation to see if there’s a good fit. There are a number of options in the Toronto area, such as Connected Parenting.
We often wait until we are feeling overwhelmed before seeking help. Finding a trusted coach early on can prevent unnecessary stress and help you see the forest through the trees and set a road map for your child’s future.
Laura MacNiven is the Director of Health Education at Springboard Clinic and an ADHD coach who specializes in working with parents and couples. Springboard Clinic runs regular parent groups at its downtown location. The next Springboard Clinic Parent Group starts on April 9, 2015.
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