Why I Needed a Parenting Coach

I’ve always known that parenting was going to be hard. Seasoned parents are often quick to point out this reality with new parents. But I figured that if I read enough parenting books, applied the tips of others and tried hard enough, the rest would fall into place.

It turns out that these parenting skills didn’t come as naturally as I anticipated. Figuring out my parenting style has been a journey for me. It’s required A LOT  of hard work, a boost in confidence and a little bit of outside help.

Why I Needed a Parenting Coach | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo credit: Jakob Owens}

My Parenting Journey

From day one, I was a little unsure of how to best care for my son. I struggled to soothe him, breastfeeding was a challenge, and it seemed like every parenting task had a steep learning curve. But by six weeks postpartum, I began to feel confident in my mothering ability.

Fast forward two and half years, and I was faced with the dreaded parenting challenge: tantrums. My son’s tantrums weren’t anything out of the ordinary, but they had the ability to rock my parenting foundation. Mornings, in particular, were a challenge, and my days often started with toddler screams and power struggles. Our mornings were filled with tears – both his and mine – and I began to dread spending time alone with my son. It was then that I realized I needed helped.

Getting Help

The first person I turned to for help was my husband. We spent hours brainstorming tantrum-defusing tactics, but my husband’s suggestions didn’t work for my personality. I needed to develop my own mamma mojo, and it turns out that a third party was the one to help me find it.

At first, I was hesitant to reach out for outside help because my challenges weren’t outside the norm of life with a toddler. But our daily clashes were having a ripple effect on all areas of my life. Something had to change.

Thankfully, I am blessed to work for a company that offers counseling and coaching as part of its benefits package. Employees can use this free support to help them tackle challenges related to work, family and life. I made an appointment to meet a parenting coach, and I crossed my fingers.

Turning it All Around

From the very first call with my coach, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I began to feel empowered as a mother and confident in my ability to parent my son. (I also learned some great tantrum defusing tactics.)

My coach’s job wasn’t to tell me how to parent my son. Her role was to guide me as I searched for and implemented solutions that worked for me and my son. The insight and guidance I received helped me to gradually improve my relationship with my son. Here are the highlights of my coaching sessions:

Why I Needed a Parenting Coach | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Start with Feelings
Going into my first coaching session, I felt like a failure as a parent. I had to first work through these feelings before I could move forward. While I only saw the downfalls of my efforts, my coach saw merit in my parenting. This emotional boost helped me find confidence to take the next steps.

Seek an Objective Perspective
While I received great advice from family and friends, there was power in talking with someone more objective. My coach’s non-biased perspective freed me to be more honest about my struggles. Sharing my thoughts and feelings with someone outside of my world helped me see new opportunities for change.

Tackle One Issue at a Time
A vital element of my coaching sessions was picking one goal to work toward. While mornings, bedtime, meals and transitions were all plagued with tantrums, I couldn’t try to fix everything at once. In the end, I decided to work toward having tantrum-free mornings three out of five days a week.

Define Commitments
The biggest benefit of my coaching sessions was the accountability. Each coaching conversation centered around committing to trying one to two new parenting tactics. This accountability motivated me to persevere even when the tactics pushed me out of my comfort zone or didn’t work right away.

Things First Get Worse
After my first session, I began to change my parenting approach. The result? More tantrums. I returned to my next session feeling defeated. My coach helped me see that my son was pushing back to see if I would revert back to my old ways. With her encouragement, I persevered through this initial setback and began to see positive results.

Embrace Your Child’s Personality
My coach helped me realize that many of my son’s outbursts were expressions of frustration, not defiance. My parenting techniques were working against my son’s strong personality. By observing him, I learned that he needed me to provide firm direction, limit his choices, allow for physical play and respect his feelings.  

Finding My Confidence

My relationship with my son is drastically different today than it was eight months ago. We understand each other better and have mutual respect. There’s even laughter in my house in the mornings, which was unheard of at the beginning of this year.

Let me be clear, things aren’t perfect. My son still regularly has tantrums, talks back and defies me just because he can. But these moments no longer define my relationship with him. With the help of my parenting coach, I found my confidence as a mother. This confidence still wavers sometimes, but I now have the tools and foundation to quickly find it again.

Getting Parenting Help

If you are going through a trying time with your kid, I urge you to seek help. Turn to a significant other, family member or friend who will listen without judgment, but who will also challenge you make some changes.

If you’re still feeling stuck, consider working with a parenting coach. To find someone who might be a good fit for you, I encourage you to explore these resources:

  1. Your employer – Check your benefits information to see if coaching is offered to you for free or at a discounted price.
  2. Early Childhood Family Education – Through ECFE, you and your child attend classes together. The parents-only time of these classes allows you to connect with childhood experts and other parents who can help you brainstorm solutions to your challenges.
  3. Coaching organizations – Visit the International Coaching Federation and the Institute for Life Coaching Training websites to access directories of accredited coaches in the area. 
  4. Your child’s pediatrician – You and your child’s overall well-being is important. Check with your doctor to see what parenting resources they may have to offer.

What about you? What has been your greatest parenting challenge and how did you tackle it? Who do you turn to when you need parenting support? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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