People come for Parent Coaching because they want help managing specific difficulties with their children. Some of these include: decreasing tantrums, increasing compliance, improving relationships with pre-teens to prepare for the teen years, resolving homework struggles, and working with children to manage their time with electronic entertainments such as video games and social media.
What is Parent Coaching?
As a Parent Coach I work with parents to clarify a goal for the work.
Together we consider the problems along with the child’s developmental stage. Some problems exist because parents are using strategies that were effective, but which no longer work at a later age. For instance, when dealing with teenagers, parents need to negotiate and acknowledge that their children make choices on their own, outside of the parents’ control.
Often I introduce specific skills that we practice in role play in session. Then they go home to practice. With guidance parents change their own behavior to clarify their expectations, to improve their relationship with the child and to set consequences. Then they can be more effective in influencing the child’s behavior.
Parents check back in to report on progress and to refine their approach. They experiment to find what approach best fits their family.
The work is problem-focused, time-limited and collaborative.
How is Coaching Different from Therapy?
In coaching the focus is on solving a problem. There is no clinical evaluation or assignment of a mental health diagnosis for the child or the parent.
The emphasis is on identifying and using strengths in the family. The goal is to empower parents to solve their problems.
In therapy one might have regular meetings for months at a time. But in coaching the visits can be more widely spaced to give parents the time to try out strategies. Only a few meetings might be needed to address a problem. Some work might take place by e-mail or on the telephone.
Because there is no diagnosis, insurance does not reimburse for Parent Coaching.
If a child or parent does have a mental health diagnosis, I refer to another provider for psychotherapy.