Becoming a parent is one of life’s biggest and most important challenges. It can be joyful and fulfilling, but it can also be overwhelming and exhausting. Because of this, other people are sometimes needed to join the journey.
The transition to being a parent and looking after a child is a time filled with changing roles and identities. As a person, you have to rethink your priorities. Your needs are pushed aside and your responsibilities change. Parent coaching aims to help parents create a healthy, happy and balanced family life for themselves and their children.
As a new parent, you are bound to have questions, from caring for a newborn baby to looking after and supporting teenagers. While many parents will learn ‘on the job’ through personal experience and through friends and family, others may appreciate a helping hand.
What is parent coaching?
A parent coach can work with you to identify the strengths in your family. They will help you develop a plan to address any challenges you are facing, at whatever time. You don’t need to be a new parent to need parent coaching. Everyone, regardless of age, gender or background is entitled to a helping hand and getting the right information.
Coaching is about providing the tools to raise and educate children to the best of your ability. It rests on the basis that the ability and potential to be a great parent is already inside you - you simply need a way to recognise this and develop your skills.
The first step is to understand that you are allowed to ask for help. Being a parent is a very big, important role that we are rarely prepared for. When you are ready, you will need to find a coach that you connect with. Parent coaching works on the idea that you have the answers. The job of the coach is to simply help you realise your potential and be confident in yourself.
How can parent coaching help?
Being a parent is about making choices and many of us can doubt the decisions we make - what if they are wrong? How do you cope with the fear that you haven’t done something the right way? Your parent coach will work with you to identify what you want to achieve from your sessions. They will listen to you and support you, offering guidance to help you reach your goals and overcome any obstacles that may be in your way.
Parent coaching can help you deal with all aspects of being a parent, including:
Confidence - A coach will help you improve self-confidence and boost your self-belief. You have the ability to be a parent, you just need to believe in yourself and keep going.
Parenting style - You may have a different parenting style to your partner, your friends or your own parents. All parents are different and what may work for some people, may not work for you. Your coach will be able to help you decide what style of parenting feels right.
Life events - Sometimes life is unexpected and we aren’t always prepared to deal with a tragic situation. A coach will help you look after yourself while understanding how to help your child. This may include divorce or separation, the loss of a loved one or experiencing a traumatic event.
Work/life balance - Becoming a parent can often come as a shock. Your roles change and suddenly you are responsible for another life, as well as working and maintaining your health and relationships. Your coach will help you find a balance between your career, social life, relationship and family time.
Stress management - A life coach can teach you techniques to manage stress and know how to cope when times get tough. Being a parent is a challenge and it is important to know your stress triggers and what you can do to relax.
Other aspects of parent coaching may include:
- making decisions
- single parents
- health and well-being.
What to expect from a parenting session?
Coaching sessions can take place over the phone, over video call (e.g. Skype) via email or in person. Your parent coach will listen to you. You will talk, explaining why you are seeking coaching and what you hope to gain from your sessions. They will ask you a series of questions to gain an understanding of the current challenges you face and learn how you are feeling.
Your family is unique, so your coaching sessions and methods learnt will be tailored to you. During your initial consultation, you may be asked to keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. Your coach may suggest making a note of the moments you seek advice and bringing it with you to sessions.
Every coach will have their own way of working and the methods used will depend on you and your personal circumstance. Typically, a coaching programme will consist of four to six, one-hour sessions, though this is entirely up to you and your family. Each session will begin by discussing your goals, talking about how you are feeling and what is on your mind. Together, you will explore your challenges and devise actions to practise in between sessions.
When your coaching programme is coming to an end, your parent coach will review your progress. You will decide together if you are ready to end the sessions, or if you would prefer to extend the course a little longer. You will be encouraged to sit and reflect on your progress, listing the skills you have learnt and how things have changed.
How can I find a parent coach?
If you are ready to contact a coach, you can use our advanced search tool to explore profiles and find a professional near you. If you are not ready yet, that’s OK too. You can learn more about coaching in our coaching areas page, or you can visit our recent news and expert articles sections.
Wherever you are on your journey, remember you are not alone. There is support available and when you are ready, we are here to guide you towards happiness.