Most parents are selfless and do whatever it takes to ensure their families are happy. Occasionally a parent can become so engrossed in their families challenges they forget to look after themselves. Self-care is so important especially if you have challenging children to care for.
I am going to call this client Belinda. She came to me frantic with worry about her 11 year old daughter. She just would not do any of the things that Belinda asked her to do. She was highly active and challenging. A variety of techniques had been used to try and get her daughter to do the things she needed to do but nothing seemed to work for very long.
During the initial conversation Belinda shared with me her feeling of loneliness and unhappiness with her current situation. Without going into more detail it was clear to me that she too had challenges she was not facing and was seeking my help. After our initial conversation I was able to offer Belinda a short coaching package just for her as well as a coaching package tailored specifically for her daughter.
Parent /adult coaching is different to coaching a child. Coaching adults involves me asking open questions that help adults to think through and formulate their own answers. In coaching there are no wrong answers. By asking sometimes challenging questions, Belinda was able to identify what her real challenges were, what she wanted to do about them and came up with a plan of action. She ended up going away for a couple of days to really think through what she wanted to do and was able to put into place things that resulted in a happier home life. Sometimes people just need to know they have support to talk through what they are thinking and have someone who will hold them accountable for taking action. As a result of this Belinda is much happier with a clear plan of action of the other things she wants to put in place.
Coaching children, especially 7 – 13 year olds requires a different approach. I use the WISDOM System® of stories that illustrate different skills. These are so powerful in helping children to understand, how their brains work, the impact behaviour can have on themselves and others, the value of taking responsibility, integrity, respect and self-respect and how these values will help them be leaders of their own lives. Supporting the stories are fun activities that help the child embed the skills and discuss how they can apply it in their lives.
As for Belindas’ daughter the 7 session coaching package helped her design her own techniques for getting things done. She better appreciates the impact her actions have on the rest of the family and is taking action.
Coaching for this family has helped improve communication and relationships for everyone. The power of coaching enables not just individuals to become happy and achieve goals. It enables all those impacted by the challenge to feel listened to, understood and collaborate in coming up with solutions to transform their situation.
6 Top Tips
- You are not alone. There are others going through something similar, reach out to friends and or social media groups to find other like-minded parents. I have a Facebook support group – APD Parents Support group
- Talk to your child about how you feel. Explain the impact of what you are feeling. Show them what happy means to you. Show them what sad means to you. We often hide our feelings from our children, however it is important to share with them our expectations. Some children may not understand emotions and will value you helping them to understand what this means and what they look like.
- Find an activity that helps you to relax. Mindfulness, yoga, exercise, reading, singing etc.. are useful in helping one to relax.
- Establishing and maintaining a daily routine (morning and bedtime in particular) is important for young children.
- Schedule self-care for yourself into your day. In the current climate with children home from school this becomes more important.
- Collaborate with your child in coming up with ideas for making improvements to behaviours, consequences & rewards. Young children find Reward charts useful and fun.
Qualified Life Coach