Parents’ Role in Creating Change at Home

Many parents who are referred to me for coaching ask me to work directly with their child, and are somewhat puzzled when I decline to do so. After all, it appears obvious to these parents that the child is the source of the difficulties that the family is experiencing; why not work directly with them “problem?”   

Yet when the difficulties being experienced are the parenting challenges associated a child with Attention Deficits,  school-related academic or attendance challenges, non-compliant behavior or even when I work with adult children still living at home,  I believe wholeheartedly that parents have both the most important relationship and the greatest potential to influence changes in their child’s behavior.  

The unique aspect of my approach is that I encourage the parents to become aware of the role they play in maintaining the current unacceptable behavior(s) and then move to work with the parent to influence the child. This approach to working with a family contrasts significantly from other traditional approaches such as most psychotherapies which identify the child as both the primary source of the problem and as the individual that needs to change in order to bring about a solution.

Just as airlines ask passengers traveling with small children to first put on their own oxygen mask before doing so for their child, parents are encouraged to take responsibility for their own behavior as it influences both shaping and resolving those problematic behaviors or issues that the parents desire to see changed

As a coach, I do not focus on the past but instead focus on goals for the future. That does not mean we don’t discuss what has been tried previously to influence the child to change; why reinvent the wheel?  But coaches are oriented to be practical problem-solvers, and I am convinced that the parents hold the key to supporting and implementing changes which will be of long-standing merit and value in the future.

Many parents have shared with me that they feel “guilty” about how their children behave. Some feel frustrated, others feel anger or resentment. Some feel apprehensive about their and their child’s future…”When will my 26 year old move out of the house? Will s/he still be living there when s/he is 40?”

Feeling guilty or resentful are such unpleasant, unproductive emotions. They may be accurate in reflecting how the parent(s) feel, but they do not assist in resolving the situation.

Jean Paul Sartre, the famous philosopher once wrote:

“We do not do what we want yet we are responsible for what we are”

This phrase captures what is best about coaching.  Parents indeed may not be to blame for who their children have become but they are responsible!  If not them, then who else will fulfill or take on that role?  If you as a parent wish to bring about the changes you see as desirable for your child to acquire, then it is you as a parent who must invest your time and efforts to do so.  

By becoming aware of what your role is in either having shaped or maintained those behaviors you wish to see changed, you will acquire the strategies and skills necessary to change both yourself (how you parent) and your child (how he/she behaves).

Aucocisco Coaching can assist you in achieving these goals.  

Give us a call for your free first initial consultation and find out why so many parents have become involved in Parent Coaching as a way to address their desire to become better, more effective parents!