All parents! You, me and your neighbor with the greener grass!
Parenting is the hardest but also the most rewarding job that you’ll ever have. What makes it so challenging most days is that you may be doing everything right, yet the results don’t seem to be there. Your kids are not getting to bed on time, they’re not eating breakfast in the morning, or they’re spending too much time in front of the TV.
As a result, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious. You may even begin to doubt the decisions that you’re making. That’s especially true if you’re raising young toddlers or preschool-age kids, where the gap between effort and result can often be daunting.
As a PCI Certified Parent Coach, I’ve seen a lot of different situations, but many of the reasons why parents reach out to me for help are the result of the five following issues:
- Children’s eating habits and mealtimes
- Morning routines and getting out the door on time
- Sleep times
- TV and screen time
- Work/life balance
Yes, that’s right. It may seem like there are many more things that cause stress in your daily life as a parent, but almost all of them can be reduced to these five basic problems. And don’t worry – every parent faces these problems, sooner or later. (Trust me, even the “perfect mom” who seems to have everything under control faces these issues).
The good news is that there are a variety of strategies and approaches for dealing with each of these issues. Take the example of children’s eating habits and mealtimes. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the end result – my kids need to eat more vegetables! – and not enough on the process. As a result, the process of getting your kids to eat vegetables becomes even harder to fix because certain rules (such as “no standing while eating”) steadily get eroded, all in an effort to get to that final result.
My role as a parent coach is to understand what’s going on in a non-judgmental way, and then explain possible steps that might help alleviate the situation. Most importantly, I can be a sounding board for your concerns, and help you cut through the clutter of the latest child-rearing ideas and concepts.
Remember – parenting tends to follow fads and cycles. The fads and cycles might not be as obvious as they are in, say, the fashion industry, but they are definitely there. Grandparents and parents often have very different ideas of how to raise a child, and that also leads to its own share of tensions. You may have your own very defined ideas of how to raise your child, but if those ideas don’t seem to be working out in practice, it’s hard to deflect criticism or judgments from other members of your family!
That’s exactly where a parent coach can matter the most – not in telling you what you’re doing wrong, but in validating what you’re doing correctly. Over the next five blog posts, I’ll be taking a look at those five issues that seem to trip up every family, and provide some practical advice that you can use. This is advice that I’ve learned the “hard way” – as a school social worker, teacher and parent. And it’s advice that I’m hoping to pass on to you in the hopes of helping you rediscover the unique joy and meaning of parenting.