FAQ Parent Coaching: How to Thrive and Lead with Client-Centred Coaching

Can I just do it myself, without a parenting coach?

Absolutely, of course! The information is available, not hiding.

 

Many parents have the good fortune and random accidents in life that surround them with encouraging, supportive, helpful, wise, kind, respectful and loving friends and family who can (and absolutely do) take the same kind of role of a parenting coach.

Many parents have a long history of life immersed in the research and understanding what kids need long before they have their own.

 

If these are you, I’d love to chat anyhow, but coaching is more likely to be your job than your need.

I am not sure I can pay for coaching, can I get any information or support for free?

Yes, absolutely.

 

Raising Parents offers a large well of resources, blogs, podcasts, videos, and articles, and the ThriveParenting: AP and respecting kids facebook group, which is open to anyone seeking to improve their relationship with their child, at any stage or age.

Can I get your parenting skills or knowledge training online, without coaching?

Absolutely! Raising Parents offers online courses at a range of price points from $10 to $1200.

 

You can also join our facebook group, ThriveParenting: AP life and respecting children, where you can ask any questions about living with and connecting to kids.

What kinds of online courses or self-study programs do you offer?

We have courses about connecting more effectively (ReConnect), communication skills (Understand and Be Understood), how to approach parenting with a more efficient mindset (Lazy Parenting) and how parents can get better at handling criticism (Why Parents Hate Criticism), as well as workshops, webinars and live seminars and lectures and speeches and more about educating kids outside the system, being frugal, helping kids start and run businesses, helping kids understand money, how children understand life, what humans can’t do (age by age), connecting, self-care for parents, why ‘fixing’ things for our children makes a mess, and more. Check out our online school, as well as our Events page, or follow us on twitter, LinkedIn, facebook and Instagram from the links at the bottom of every page, or sign up for our announcement emails for all the latest offerings.

 

We also offer Linda’s books (ebooks and paperbacks) about parents leading the Taoist way (The Way and the Power of Mothering, meditations on balance, mothering, and the Taoist Way), efficiency in parenting (Lazy Parenting, parenting a simpler way), and long-requested The Manual Your Child Came With, a book about parenting your child (currently only available as an ebook.)

Where can I watch / listen to Linda speak?

Raising Parents creates Instagram Reels, short podcasts, long blog posts and Youtube videos, many of which you can access through the Recordings page.

 

Follow Raising Parents and Linda Clement on facebook, instagram, twitter and youtube using the links at the bottom of the page.

 

I also provide in-person, live online, or recorded I webinars, interviews, seminars, workshops, and courses (check our Events page here.)

So why do it with a parenting coach?

Many people have time to wade through the dross of ‘just make them’ and ‘this tactic controls them’ to find what meets the trifecta of criteria: respectful, kind, effective. Many people are willing, even eager, to do the trial and error that has already been done by decades of research, with the ‘error’ side, and getting to live with the real impacts of those.

 

Parenting effectively is hard, and the more resources you have to help evade the common pitfalls, and avoid the routine damage done to kids’ self-esteem with coercive and controlling tactics (that simply don’t work well enough to be worth it…) A simpler way is getting support from people who already tried and evaluated the recommendations and can quickly point out the flaws in old and new ‘great ideas.’

 

For us, who have the ordinary collection of random people in our lives who don’t really respect kids as people, who are defensive (or aggressive) about the methods they used or advocate, with no research or reading of the subject beyond the headlines, who have low tolerance for change, or who think it’s all too woo-woo to talk about…

We have a need for the expertise and wisdom from further along the path of respectful and kind parenting, to help us navigate when we find ourselves in the dark and stumbling.

 

That is where Thriveparent coaching can fill a gap.

Where do you work?

Primarily online, since 2002. I hope to meet parents where they are, and as they are. I offer support for parents who are just starting out, who have teenagers, toddlers, in whatever family situation they live. I am delighted and proud to have a very long history of diversity and inclusion, having worked with families of all types, from all over.

 

As I have clients around the world, from Vancouver, Canada, to Mali, and Minnesota, USA to Mexico, Israel, Argentina, Australia, Ireland, and more, I offer online and phone meetings for parents comfortable discussing issues in English, as well as blogs, articles, and individual email coaching for parents less comfortable in conversational English. I am in the process of creating transcripts for my recordings, to make these accessible to the widest range of parents possible.

Where are you located?

On the west coast of Canada, near Vancouver.

How does ThriveParent coaching work?

ThriveParent coaching is a client-centred conversation: what parents want to accomplish, what they struggle with, what they know about their child, and human development.

 

By listening to parents talk about what is happening, what they have tried so far, what they think the problem is, what their goals and values are, and what they know about their kids’ temperaments and preferences, I describe suggestions from other families’ successes, stories to illustrate why many kinds of usual advice don’t work, how kids see the subject, and skill-building exercises to improve communication, cooperation, and connection.

 

I offer support to parents in the form of one-to-one (or coach-to-parents, more about that below) client-centred coaching sessions, in-person, by phone, online (zoom / facebook video calls / skype / teams) as well as coaching through email, see here for pricing.

Do you think your parenting was perfect?

Far from it (with kids who will gleefully agree), I know that there is simply no such thing as ‘perfect’ parenting, and the quest for it is a mug’s game.

 

That is: the idea of Perfect Parenting is a con, tantalizing parents with the ideal of ‘what they could reach if only they did this simple system perfectly enough,’ without being at all human, or heavens forfend, having actual human children, not robots.

 

The problem with a lot of the language around parenting is the idea that parents are either perfect or failing, and there is nothing in between: they’re either the Super Daddies seen in romantic comedies, or they’re ScaryMommy and some version of screeching banshee.

 

Children change. Adults learn things. Perspectives shift. Awareness (hopefully) grows. As mis-steps are taken seriously, and new steps are taken in new directions, with diligence and support and love and care and respect, parents can move toward understanding and really connecting with their kids… and from that, a partnership in the child’s success can develop.

 

Is that perfect? Or is it maybe just a great idea for what to aspire to, however many ‘oops, probably shouldn’t have done that’ mistakes are made with every child involved. Love is forgiving, especially a child’s love.

 

I like to help parents not push the envelope of that forgiveness too much.

What age ranges do you specialize in?

Genuinely, all ages –newborns, babies, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary schoolers, tweens, teens, young adults, even older adult children when it is about human development, connecting, communicating, and understanding the perspectives of our children.

 

I have worked with parents who are expecting to start a family soon, and who want to be prepared to do more than wish for different skills than their parents had.

 

I have worked with parents who are in their 80s and have moved back in with their children and have discovered that ‘all the things’ that seemed to have been fixed by the teens moving out of the house are still right where they left them at the time.

 

I have worked with everyone between, from parents in their 50s with one young teen, to a single mother of 8 children under 10 years old including 2 sets of twins, polyamory families with a collective of parents, straight, gay, bi, adoptive, birth parents, surrogates, divorced couples and their subsequent partners, coparenting separated or divorced families, adopting and fostering parents, and more.

 

If you can think of a family structure, I have probably had at least one client in that situation.

How can you help people who are planning to become parents?

Many parents with experience in self-help or therapy, or problematic childhoods, are aware of the tendency to pass down generational trauma –and even just generational ‘not super great parenting.’ This provokes them to seek ways to plan ahead, to break the chain. As often as not, parents seek out ThriveParent coaching because of a vow they made when they were 6 or 8 or 12 to ‘never do that to any child of mine’ –but with no real idea of what to do instead, or how to go about making such a huge shift in life. I help with that.

I can help parents start on a footing that begins with a deep trust in the goodness of their child, and a deep respect for the child’s basic humanity. I offer skills and approaches that are more effective at helping kids behave as well as possible in the real world (of people, other than their parents who naturally think they’re perfect.)

I help parents learn how to handle their inner critics to avoid passing that on to their kids.

 

I help parents develop high-level communication and negotiation skills, so they can influence when it is possible, connect always, and make it possible for all of their family to get their needs met even when their needs are in direct conflict with others’.

What does client-centred coaching mean?

Many life coaches, business coaches, spiritual coaches, et cetera, will recognize in their third or fifth or 12th year of practice that many clients have the same struggles, the same questions, the same negative thought patterns, or goals… so they can readily put together a program that addresses what they see all the time.

 

Parent coaching is different: parents might have some of the same issues (sleep, misbehaviour, back talk / sass, toddler or teen power struggles, or the hormone storms of the tweens or the adolescent age, for example), but their personal goals, situations, age ranges, or histories are so unique to their own families, that trying (I tried, I promise) to cram those into a simple ‘program’ has proven to be something between difficult and impossible.

 

This is why I approach ThriveParent coaching from a deeply personal place: each parent’s values and goals (even within the same family, because everyone sees with their own eyes and thinks with their own minds) and their personal struggles right now. It would be fun and simple to be able to say ‘that will be $xxxxx for xx-weeks of xx-minutes per week, and all will be resolved’ but it is faster and less expensive to deal with the specific issues of each family rather than trying to get them to do all the workbooks and exercises on the faint hope that it will include the three or 50 things they need now.

 

Very often, coaching goals are accomplished in a single session, sometimes with scheduled follow-up… sometimes without.

What philosophy of parenting do you promote?

Do you help parents with their adult children? Or adult children with their parents?

Most definitely.

 

When it comes to the unique relationship between parents and children, there isn’t really an age when the weight of a parent’s disappointment feels light, or the struggle to gain approval feels trivial. Improving the quality and connection in a relationship feels life-altering at any age. I prefer to set kids and parents on the easy path (hard work, easy life; easy work, hard life) early for the success of the whole family, but there is no age when I say ‘ah, too late, it’s mucked up forever now’ and walk away.

 

If you want to work on your relationship with your kids or parents, I can help.

Do you mainly work with women and mothers?

I  have a strong preference for working with all the parents involved in a family –step-, foster, poly, grandparents-in-parenting-roles, exes-without-their-own-children, even babysitters and caregivers… because it’s easier on the child to have at least similar environments throughout the homes they will find themselves in, and it is helpful for all carers of a child to understand how this child’s current development or perspective is colouring the impact they have on that child.

 

I also have big goals for helping dads engage and lead in parenting, through better information and understanding of child development –aspects of human life that men don’t get involved in much as younger men, which builds major regrets for their later lives. I prefer to help people avoid predictable and optional suffering.

 

Statistically, though, I do work primarily with women. Perhaps it is more often women who seek change for their children, or possibly that women are most profoundly changed through the process of having (even adopting) children, so what they agreed on pre-pregnancy (or pre-adoption) no longer makes sense to her after the arrival of this real small person.

 

It might be cultural. I haven’t investigated the question much.

Do you work with single parents?

Certainly.

 

Raising Parents has a long history of supporting parents in all situations, from ‘always been single’ to families in the process of becoming two (or more) households.

 

Single parenting is a significant challenge in our fragmented society, and both isolation and burnout are constant concerns that single parents face, regardless of their reason for their solitude in this work. Whether a single parent has a Mama Mia history or is newly alone, a ThriveParent coach can help find ways of seeking real help and for setting up a household that works with only one adult.

Do you work with poly / LGBTQ2S+ families?

Of course.

 

Children need respectful and loving care from the adults in their world, whether there is only one (see above) or there are 3 or 9 or 20 or whatever.

 

I have experience helping multiple parents discover the common goals they share, and the reality of their children in the stages they are presently in, to support families of all kinds to thrive.

Do you work with foster parents?

Foster care is some of the hardest and most important parenting a child set adrift from her natural family will ever encounter. Whether handling the sadness of children leaving, to holding space open to connect with another child who is surely to go on their way at some point soon, foster parenting has distinct and specific needs quite different from parents who don’t expect to outlive their children and who expect to have them constantly close in their lives.

 

Helping foster parents understand both the developmental levels, adjusted ages, and arrested growth of children who lose their most-recent primary carers or natural family is important work, to enable these vulnerable children to see a future with a sense of internal security.

Do you work with adoptive parents?

Absolutely, and for many of the same reasons as I cherish my work with foster care families: the impact of the primary loss of a child’s natural family in a pre-verbal stage of infancy is impossible to overstate, and the gentle, respectful understanding of it is essential for deep, connected relationships to blossom.

 

When parents take the advice to minimize the loss with stories of ‘being chosen’ (however true that might be) or ‘exactly what we wanted’ or anything else, it minimizes something that happened first and has lasting effects when not addressed directly. It is helpful for parents to understand how naturally taboos form around ideas that parents and other adults simply never mention, for fear of causing pain… especially when they pain is already present and mentioning it just gives kids words to understand it and heal from it.

 

Helping parents handle these painful, sensitive, and sometimes shameful issues is work I treasure.

What types of payments do you accept?

We accept cash (do NOT mail cash!), cheques, PayPal-Stripe-Square payments (which take all major credit cards) and Interac e-transfer.

My partner resists talking about parenting, do we have to both be involved for ThriveParent coaching to work?

Life is like a dance… every step you take that is in a different style requires and provokes changes in every relationship in your life.

 

Stop smoking, you find different friends who never spend time in the smoking area… start hiking and you’ll find people on the trail who know more and less than you. Whatever you learn will alter your life, and the lives of the people around you. That is the way of the world.

 

Of course, it is always best if all the parents can get the same information at the same time, because our minds are tricky and inclined to edit out things we already knew or think everyone knows, and supply shading and contour that wasn’t in the original message, especially when there is a difference of opinion over something so important as the future of our children.

 

The tendency to retell what fits our historical arguments and erase what supports the arguments against our position is fundamental to human minds, and it’s easiest to avoid when everyone has the same coaching –and the same written report to refer to afterwards.

Can ThriveParent coaching help support daycare providers or teachers?

With pleasure.

 

Another area where the research of the past half-century has not trickled down to is education and early-childhood education. While BF Skinner was discredited within a decade of proving it’s possible to make a dog salivate to a bell (and a college student to pay more attention for chocolate, and the abusive ABA treatment of kids diagnosed with autism), the stickers and stars (and traffic light cards, and candy bribes, and always new permutations of more of the same) remain ‘great ideas’ that are supposed to work wonders in classrooms and care settings. That they don’t –or that they very often don’t even appear to—seems to have provoked very little criticism of the methods within the education, at least not to penetrate the practices of the recently-graduated or decades-long experienced.

 

Raising Parents is eager to share why the carrot-and-stick never worked well with any carer or educator who seeks more effective methods of connecting with, educating, and directing the children in their care.

 

Additionally, with sensitivity to the reality of loss. Not often mentioned in childcare / education circles, it’s important to hold space for the grief of kids ‘lost’ over the years, to be able to hold open any space at all to connect to the new ones coming.


Harrowing, hard work, but essential to remain available as what kids experience as connected and meaningful relationships with carers.

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