What is Parent-Centric Coaching?

What is Parent-Centric Coaching?
Conscious Parenting, Gentle Parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Peaceful Parenting, Positive Parenting, the list goes on. Names for the different ways in which you can parent your children is extensive. It is probably fair to say that many of them overlap, sharing a range of common traits.

Parent-Centric Parenting starts with you.

It builds on the belief that parenting should start from within. Getting a better understanding of who we are as humans helps us grasp why we feel triggered by our kids, why we have certain beliefs around the way children should be raised, why we run away from confrontation or why we insist on controlling others, including our children. Looking at where we came from and what belief systems we were raised with enables us to understand how and why we parent our own children the way we do.

It’s about forming a cohesive narrative of our own childhood and what happened to us as little humans. Because our story in part creates the story for our children. When we can make sense of our own story; how our parents showed up for us; even how they were raised; we can begin to look at our own parenting through a whole new lens. We can begin to peel away the onion layers and finally get to the heart of what we really want and need; to connect with our kids. To form a relationship based on trust, worthiness and unconditional love.

Before I began my Parent Coaching journey, I only knew what I knew. I parented the best way I knew how. And that is all I could do; that’s all I can ever do. Sometimes we can get stuck in ‘the right way’ to parent by standing firm in the way we were brought up. Alternatively, we may look for ‘the right way’ to parent based on our child’s behaviours. We read books on how to get our babies to sleep, how to get our toddlers to listen, how to stop our teenagers from acting out. We may find ourselves searching the internet in the middle of the night for answers, whilst feeding our infant for the umpteenth time. We think we find them and so we try them out. More often than not the solutions don’t work. And so the cycle starts all over again.

And the reason why things don’t often work is simple. We are looking for answers outside of ourselves when we should be looking inwards. Our main focus when we parent should be on connection. Connection with ourselves and connection with our kids.

Connection with ourselves comes from a sense of understanding who we are, what makes us tick, where we have come from, and how we have complete power to change things about ourselves and our beliefs that no longer serve us.

Connection with our kids comes from looking beneath our children’s behaviour. Finding out what needs they are trying to meet and figuring out how to best meet those needs in the moment.

I remember the first 6 months of being a first time mother. My son wouldn’t sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. I read books, I got obsessive over buying sleeping bags that would ‘do the trick’. I read about what was ‘acceptable’ sleep behaviour and what wasn’t. I read other people’s opinions and looked to them for answers. I went from one frustrating solution to the next; one big problem to another. And it stressed me out and made me quite hard to live with.

Had I stepped away from it all, however, and focused on my son and myself in the moment, I may have found some more peace within myself. I could have just given him the connection he needed to help him through those tough moments instead of trying to make it go away by fixing it with sleeping bags and routines. I could have tuned in with myself on a deeper level. I may have enjoyed those first 6 months a little more than I did.

The journey to finding true connection is not a simple one. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes truly seeing ourselves and our children. If we come from a childhood where we were not seen or heard by our own parents, however, this can be a challenging task. Compassion for ourselves is needed before we can truly find compassion for our kids. Understanding our emotions and learning how to self regulate is also key in helping our children do the same. I am a parent coach and I’m still learning. The learning for me never stops.

So where do you begin?

Start by setting some time aside every day to self-reflect. Think back on your day and focus on the moments where you struggled in your parenting and where you flourished. Do some regular journaling. What feelings were brought up for you during the challenging moments? What is that telling you about what you needed at that time? And what did your child need from you in that time that caused the behaviour in the first place? Begin by jotting down thoughts, feelings, and really just reflect on your parenting and your connection with your child in those moments. It is important here to do this without judgement. Just notice, then write down what comes up for you. The more you do this, the more familiar you will become with yourself and how you work. Over time, you may start to notice patterns around your own behaviour and that of your child. It may give you some insight on how you can do things differently. How you can connect better with yourself and those around you.

Set your Intentions. 
Before you get out of bed every morning. Set your intentions as a parent. How do you want to show up for your family? For yourself? Setting an intention allows you to live more consciously. It enables you to parent on purpose, so that you can start to respond rather than react to situations. And it sets you up for the day.

Knowledge is empowerment. I would highly recommend Parenting from the Inside Out by Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell. It is a truly remarkable book for anyone who would like more of an insight into how understanding ourselves can really support us in our parenting journey.

Seek Support.
If you find yourself triggered by your kids and if you feel overwhelmed by the challenges of parenting, seek help. You are not alone. Find someone who will listen without judgement. Having a support buddy is a super effective way to feel heard. And if you feel you need more than this, you may be willing to invest in yourself by paying for the support. In those circumstances, a Parenting Coach can be a great option for you, as they will tune into your unique situation, yourself and your kids and will guide you on your journey of self-discovery as a human being and parent.

How do you think your past has had an impact on how you show up for your own children? Comment below. I’d love to hear what you think.