By Amanda C. (Contributor)
Edited by Ali Reza
Would you like to become a better parent? If so, get in the back of the line: Anyone who is a parent is keenly aware of his or her limitations, and of the daily need to strive harder and to do better. Parenting is both incredibly important and incredibly humbling; the stakes are high, and as such even a relatively small error can leave the ego bruised and battered.
Most parents are willing to do almost anything to boost their child-raising game—but what about hiring a parenting coach? Yes, parenting coaches exist, and yes, you can hire one to work with you on becoming a more deliberate, effective, and confident parent.
But the real question is: Is it worth it? Do parenting coaches actually get results—and is hiring a parenting coach the only way these results can be obtained?
Whether a parenting coach is right for you is ultimately something individual parents will have to decide on their own; with that said, it is important to be upfront about some of the benefits that parenting coaches can offer. Even if you’re a skeptic, read on and consider some of the ways in which parenting coaches can prove—in some cases—quite helpful.
- For one thing, hiring a parenting coach can provide you with some insight into what kind of parent you actually are. Where are you strong? Where are you weak? What’s your parenting style—and is it complemented or contradicted by that of your spouse? Knowing these answers can help you to be a more reflective and deliberate parent, but it’s hard to earnestly assess your parenting without an outsider’s perspective.
- Once you have a parenting coach to help you identify your baseline, you can—in theory—be more proactive in improving: Working to do better in the areas you’ve identified as weaknesses, and to build on the areas in which you are strong.
- A parenting coach can work with you to become a better listener, which is frankly something that many parents do not do well with. Working on your listening skills can help you be more empathetic and understanding of your kids; to build better lines of communication; and ultimately to be more effective in motivating them.
- Working with a parenting coach can also make you more aware of the power of your words. You may not be saying anything “wrong,” yet word choice comes with subtle implications, and you may not be aware of how your language affects your children. A more precise vocabulary can help you motivate, encourage, and discipline your children more effectively.
- A parenting coach can, of course, spend time speaking with you about any specific issues that you’re struggling with. These could be anything, just depending on the ages and dispositions of your children—discipline issues, sibling rivalries, lack of respect for authorities, laziness, or something else.
- You can also speak with your parenting coach about issues that are entirely practical—things like how to help your kids with their homework or encourage them to do better in school.
- Parenting coaches often have ample experience working with kids who have unique issues or hindrances, like learning disabilities or emotional problems—and as such, they can be invaluable resources for parents who have only recently discovered that their kids are so afflicted.
- A parenting coach can be a great sounding board for you as you think through the development of different household rules and policies—curfews, limits on screen time, or whatever else is on your mind.
The above list is not meant to be an unqualified recommendation for parenting coaches. Some parents like them, and benefit from them immensely; others do not, and that’s fine. This kind of coaching is not for everyone, but it’s foolish to write it off without thinking through the potential advantages.