What’s parent coaching, and how does it work?

Parent coaching is a holistic, team-based process in which trained coaches help parents understand and manage their parenting challenges and enhance their skills to support their child’s development more effectively. Coaches work closely with parents to implement practical strategies tailored to the family’s specific needs. 

What do parent coaches help with?

Parent coaches offer guidance on a wide range of issues, from behavior management to enhancing communication between parent and child. 

At EEC, Coaches are trained as Executive Function Coaches first and foremost. They understand the complex neurodiverse needs of their clients and how to build effective skills in the home. From academic skills to independent skills, a parent coach empowers both parents and child to be the best version of themselves, building tools, strategies and skills to manage the expectations and priorities of life. 

Stop the HW Battles! Dr. Murphy’s Parent Coaching Offers Tools and Strategies to Develop Executive Function Skills in the Home.

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🚩 Transition Issues

Navigating family changes like marriage or adoption often requires adjustments in family dynamics. For example, a parent coach might help a family develop a plan to ensure a smooth transition when a new sibling is introduced, focusing on inclusive activities to foster bonding.

🚩 Behavioral Challenges

Addressing conditions such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) involves strategies like setting firm but fair boundaries and using consistent discipline techniques. Parent coaches often work with families to implement behavior modification plans that encourage positive behavior changes.

🚩 Learning and Developmental Disorders

Support for conditions like ADHD and dyslexia might include helping parents create structured homework routines or modify learning environments to better suit their child’s needs. For instance, a parent coach might suggest using graphic organizers for a child with dyslexia to aid in reading comprehension.

🚩 Emotional and Psychological Challenges

Families facing issues like adolescent substance abuse or eating disorders receive guidance on accessing professional help and providing home support. Coaches might facilitate family sessions or teach parents how to communicate effectively about sensitive topics. 

🚩 Executive Functioning Deficits

For children struggling with organization and planning, parent coaches might introduce tools like daily planners or digital apps to help with HW routines, track tasks and responsibilities, enhancing the child’s ability to manage their time and workload.

🚩 Twice Exceptional (2E) Needs

Catering to gifted children with learning disabilities, strategies might include differentiated learning techniques that challenge their intellect while accommodating their learning challenges. An example could be using advanced problem-solving games that also improve reading skills.

🚩 Communication and Parenting Strategies

Parent coaches teach techniques for handling difficult conversations, such as discussing life changes or academic challenges. Role-playing scenarios may be used to practice responses and strategies.

ADHD Parenting Strategy. Dr Murphy Shares how to Teach Skills to Fail Forward

🚩 New Parent Guidance

First-time parents might receive tips on everything from infant care to managing sleep schedules, often through workshops or personal coaching sessions.

🚩 Digital Wellness

Managing screen time is crucial in today’s digital age. Coaches may recommend family digital use plans that specify times for educational and recreational screen use, ensuring a healthy balance. 

Parent Coaching Techniques & Models

An infographic with tips for parent coaching, emphasizing routines and structure for ADHD management. It highlights consistent schedules, structured environments, visual schedules, and skill development.

Hanen Centre Model

Focus: Enhances children’s language development using everyday interactions.

Application: Parents are taught to turn routines like mealtime or playtime into opportunities for language enrichment.

Example: Teaching a child new words by describing actions vividly during play.

Learn More: Hanen Centre

Gestalt Parent Coaching (GPC) Model

Focus: Aim to improve understanding between parents and children by seeing situations from the child’s perspective.

Application: Parents learn to reflect on their child’s words and behaviors to better respond to their emotional and communicative needs.

Example: A parent mirroring a child’s feelings about school to address underlying anxieties.

Learn More: Gestalt Parent Coaching

Parent Coaching Institute (PCI) Model

Focus: Addresses family dynamics comprehensively, emphasizing the well-being of the entire family unit.

Application: Integrates strategies across various areas like behavior management, parenting philosophy, and stress reduction.

Example: Developing a family action plan that incorporates time for individual needs and family bonding.

Learn More: Parent Coaching Institute

Strength-Based Parent Coaching Model for ADHD

Focus: The model concentrates on building a child’s executive functioning, communication, and self-regulation skills within the context of their ADHD.

Application: It involves integrating daily routines that enhance these skills, using the child’s natural interests as springboards for learning and development. Techniques include structured visual schedules to improve task completion and behavior modeling to enhance communication skills.

Example: An EEC-certified coach might guide parents in adopting the “connect and redirect” technique to improve communication during challenging interactions. This method involves empathetically connecting with the child to understand their emotions, followed by gently guiding the discussion toward constructive solutions. Additionally, coaches work with families to establish independent morning routines tailored to the child’s strengths and needs. For instance, they might help a child develop a checklist that outlines each step of their morning, enhancing their ability to manage time and prepare for the day independently, thus boosting their confidence and self-efficacy.

Learn more: The EEC Coaching Model

Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) Model

Focus: The CPS model, developed by Dr. Ross Greene, is dedicated to understanding and helping children through empathy and collaborative problem-solving, rather than through punitive measures.

Application: This model trains parents to identify the specific problems leading to a child’s challenging behavior and then work together with the child to develop proactive solutions.

Example: A parent might work with a coach to learn the CPS approach, which involves sitting with their child to discuss and understand triggers for tantrums. Together, they might devise strategies like using a calm-down corner or verbal cues that the child agrees will help manage their reactions before they escalate.

Learn more: Lives in the Balance

“Focusing on what he can do, rather than what he can’t, has boosted his self-esteem immensely.” – Kim, Parenting a child with ADHD

Parent coaching versus therapy

Parent coaching and therapy both aim to support positive parenting outcomes but differ in approach and focus. Therapists are trained to address mental health conditions through deep, reflective processes that often delve into past experiences to influence present behaviors and may include long-term treatment plans, including CBT or medication. Conversely, parent coaching is action-oriented, focusing on building practical skills like resilience and stress management, and developing strategies to enhance family dynamics. While therapy tends to be introspective, coaching is pragmatic, aiming to equip parents with tools and strategies for immediate application in daily family life.

For example, a therapist might help a parent unpack and work through deep-seated fears about parenting stemming from their own childhood, whereas a coach would help that same parent develop and implement a day-to-day strategy to improve communication with their child.

Both services complement each other; parents might find it beneficial to engage both a therapist and a coach to address different aspects of their needs and those of their family. This combination can be particularly effective for families dealing with specific challenges such as autism, eating disorders, or behavioral issues.

“Words can’t even describe how helpful EEC was when our family was struggling through the day-to-day of our son’s anxiety. When we first tried to speak with our son’s school counselor and didn’t get anywhere, we didn’t know where to turn. Our EEC Parent Coach mapped it all out for us giving us numerous tools and confidence to deal with his anxiety and situations. We are so thankful. We have seen tremendous growth in our son because of the strategies we implemented after going through the parent coaching process. We will be forever grateful!”

 ~ Heather and Chris, Parents of a child with inattentive ADHD and Anxiety.

Parent Coaching Examples

ADHD and Parenting Challenges 

Parenting a child with ADHD involves unique challenges, as parents must effectively manage symptoms like inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can disrupt daily routines and social interactions. Effective strategies often include setting clear expectations, maintaining consistent routines, and using positive reinforcement. EEC Parent Coaches also offer specialized ADHD coaching for students and young adults, providing tailored support to enhance children’s executive function skills and overall development, making parenting less overwhelming and more effective. 

Neurodivergent Disorders

Parent coaching provides crucial support for families dealing with disorders like autism or ADHD, offering tailored strategies that enhance daily functioning. 

Eating Disorders

Coaches assist parents in fostering a supportive home environment that promotes healthy living and emotional well-being. Parent coaching can be highly beneficial in supporting families dealing with eating disorders by providing education, strategies for creating a supportive environment, and techniques for promoting healthy behaviors. However, it may not be sufficient on its own due to several key medical and psychological reasons:

⌛️ Medical and Psychological Complexities: Eating disorders are complex conditions that often involve both psychological issues and physical health risks. They can stem from a variety of sources including biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors. This complexity often requires intervention from multidisciplinary professionals including psychologists, psychiatrists, dietitians, and medical doctors who can address the full spectrum of the disorder.

⌛️ Need for Specialized Treatment: Treatment for eating disorders typically includes medical monitoring, nutritional counseling, and therapy. These treatments are beyond the scope of what parent coaching can provide. For instance, refeeding strategies and monitoring of physical health require medical oversight that a coach is not qualified to offer.

⌛️ Deep-Seated Psychological Issues: Eating disorders are frequently associated with underlying psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, or trauma. Effective treatment often requires psychotherapy to address these underlying issues. Therapists trained in eating disorders can provide cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family-based therapy (FBT), and other specialized therapeutic approaches.

⌛️ Family Dynamics: While parent coaching can help improve family dynamics and communication, eating disorders can sometimes be symptomatic of deeper family issues that require professional family therapy to resolve. These might include dynamics that inadvertently contribute to the maintenance of the eating disorder.

How Parent Coaching Works

Through collaborative sessions, parents learn strategies and techniques to effectively support their children, tailored to each family’s unique situation. 

EEC Parent Coaching employs a dynamic approach, utilizing resources like the “Whole Brain Child” and specialized training in executive function coaching. This enables parents to learn tailored strategies to effectively support and nurture their child’s specific needs. Coaches work directly with families, fostering a culture of growth and embracing change, and they focus on nurturing meaningful goals for both parents and children. Unlike generic resources, EEC coaches provide one-on-one, personalized guidance that respects family dynamics, ensuring parental empowerment and the privacy needed to address family challenges effectively.

This coaching is ideal for parents of neurodiverse children facing challenges like behavioral issues, or if you’re simply aiming to strengthen your family dynamics. EEC coaches utilize a step-by-step approach tailored to your family’s needs, helping you understand and support your child’s unique traits, strengths, and abilities. This personalized coaching empowers both you and your child, facilitating significant growth and positive changes in your family life. 

How mindful parenting benefits both parents and kids

Mindful parenting encourages emotional awareness and empathy, strengthening the parent-child bond.

Benefits can include:

💭 Increases Emotional Intelligence: Helps children recognize and express their emotions healthily.

💭 Enhances Communication: Fosters an open environment where children feel safe to share their thoughts and feelings.

💭 Reduces Stress: Practices within mindful parenting, such as deep breathing and being present, can reduce anxiety and stress in both children and parents.

💭 Strengthens Relationships: By responding thoughtfully to children’s needs, mindful parenting strengthens the trust and bond between parent and child.

💭 Promotes Positive Behavior: Children mirror the calm and attentive behavior modeled by parents practicing mindfulness.

How to get past sibling comparisons and own your uniqueness

Coaching helps parents celebrate the individuality of each child, reducing comparisons and fostering a positive family dynamic. 

To help parents get past sibling comparisons and appreciate the uniqueness of each child, a parent coach can help implement these three strategies:

1️⃣ Celebrate Individual Achievements: Regularly set aside time to celebrate each child’s unique skills and accomplishments, whether in academics, arts, sports, or personal hobbies. This emphasizes their individual strengths without comparison. Through ADHD Coaching, young adults learn to celebrate their unique learning style, as well as their unique strengths and interests. 

2️⃣ Customize Parenting Approaches: Tailor your parenting approach to suit each child’s unique personality and needs. This acknowledges that what works for one child in terms of discipline, motivation, or support may not work for another.

3️⃣ Encourage Diverse Interests: Support and encourage each child to explore different activities or hobbies. This helps them to develop their own identity and interests separate from their siblings, reducing the urge to compare.

No two brains are the same. Learn about the types of neurodiversity

Parent coaching includes educating parents on the different types of neurodiversity, and enhancing understanding and acceptance.

ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a common type of neurodiversity. Kids with ADHD might have trouble paying attention, sitting still, or controlling impulses. They often feel restless and may act without thinking. ADHD is not a reflection of intelligence or capability. With the right support and strategies, children with ADHD can thrive in school and life.

Anxiety

Anxiety is another form of neurodiversity. Children with anxiety may feel excessively worried or fearful about different situations. This can affect their daily activities and make them feel overwhelmed. Anxiety is not a choice, but with understanding and proper support, kids can learn to manage their feelings and cope better with stress.

Understanding Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity means recognizing that everyone’s brain works differently. It includes conditions like ADHD, anxiety, autism, dyslexia, and more. Embracing neurodiversity means valuing these differences and supporting each child’s unique way of thinking and learning. It’s about creating an inclusive environment where all children can succeed and feel accepted.

What is Collaborative Problem Solving®?

This method, also known as the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) model involves parents working with their children to solve problems together, enhancing mutual respect and cooperation. Dr. Ross Greene developed the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) model in 1998, as described in his book “The Explosive Child”. With free resources for parents to access and use today, this model helps parents address behavioral challenges in children through empathy and collaboration rather than punishment. 

The approach involves three steps: 

  1. Identifying the specific expectations the child is having difficulty meeting, 
  2. Identifying the reasons behind the difficulty
  3. Brainstorming solutions together. 

This method not only addresses the immediate issues but also builds important skills such as flexibility, frustration tolerance, and problem solving. CPS is especially beneficial in situations where traditional discipline methods are not effective.

Dr. Murphy Shares How to Ask Better Questions To Engage your Child in the CPS process.

What are the 12 Parenting Skills?

Parent coaching testimonial from Kim.

The choice of 12 parenting skills isn’t necessarily a standardized list but rather a comprehensive framework designed to cover the broad range of challenges and interactions that parents typically face. Each skill is aimed at enhancing the parent-child relationship and improving overall family dynamics, making parenting more effective and rewarding. These skills include a mix of emotional, communicative, and practical strategies to equip parents with a well-rounded set of tools that can address various aspects of parenting—from managing behavior and emotions to fostering independence and academic support.

📌 Effective Communication →  This skill involves expressing thoughts, feelings, and expectations clearly and listening actively. For instance, when a child discusses a problem at school, the parent listens attentively without interrupting and then responds thoughtfully, providing both empathy and guidance.

📌 Positive Reinforcement →  Encouraging good behavior through rewards and praise is key. A parent might commend a child for diligently completing their homework, reinforcing the behavior and motivating the child to continue performing well.

📌 Setting Boundaries → Establishing and maintaining clear rules and expectations is crucial. For example, a parent might enforce a consistent bedtime on school nights to ensure their child gets enough rest, helping the child understand the importance of a good night’s sleep.

📌 Emotional Regulation →  Teaching children how to handle their emotions effectively can prevent behavioral issues. Demonstrating and practicing deep breathing techniques when a child is upset or frustrated helps them learn to manage their emotions.

Dr. Murphy Shares How to Develop a Growth Mindset

📌 Conflict Resolution →  This involves helping children resolve disputes calmly and fairly. If two siblings argue over a toy, the parent can help them discuss their feelings and guide them to a compromise, such as taking turns with the toy.

📌 Consistency →  Being consistent with rules and consequences teaches children what to expect and helps establish order and reliability in their environment. Limiting screen time during meals is a rule that should consistently apply, regardless of circumstances.

📌 Empathy → Showing understanding and sharing in your child’s feelings can deepen the parent-child connection. If a child is sad about missing a friend’s party, a parent might express understanding and discuss the child’s feelings, showing empathy and support.

📌 Problem Solving →  Encouraging children to think critically and solve their own problems fosters independence and confidence. A parent could guide a child through brainstorming solutions for a challenging homework assignment, encouraging them to try different approaches.

📌 Adaptability →  Adapting parenting strategies to suit changing needs as children grow is important. As a teenager shows more responsibility, parents might adjust rules like curfew times to reflect their growing maturity.

📌 Role Modeling → Parents influence their children through their own actions. Demonstrating patience in stressful situations can teach children effective stress management techniques, influencing how they respond to their own stress.

📌 Encouraging Independence → Allowing children to perform tasks on their own supports their growth into self-reliant individuals. A simple act like letting a child pick out their outfit for the day can enhance their decision-making skills.

📌 Supporting Education → An active role in a child’s educational process can significantly impact their academic success. This could involve attending parent-teacher meetings and helping with homework, which shows the child that their educational achievements are valued.

Effective Communication Techniques with ADHD Children

🗣️ Clear, Concise Instructions: Break down tasks into simple, actionable steps to ensure comprehension. 

👀 Maintain Eye Contact: Encourage your child to look at you while you speak, enhancing focus and connection.

📊 Use Visual Aids: Support verbal instructions with visuals, like pictures or written lists, to reinforce messages. 

Example: When asking your child to clean their room, you might say, “Please put your toys in the bin and your clothes in the closet. Let’s check the list on your wall to see what we need to do next!”

Impact of ADHD on Family Dynamics

🌿 Managing Parental Stress

1️⃣ Self-Care Routines: Encourage parents to set aside time for relaxation and activities they enjoy. 

2️⃣ Stress Management Techniques: Teach techniques such as deep breathing or mindfulness to manage stress in the moment. 

3️⃣ Support Networks: Utilize parent support groups to share experiences and strategies. 

Example: Schedule a weekly ‘me time’ for relaxation activities like yoga or reading, which can recharge your energy for parenting.

🤝 Sibling Relationships and ADHD

1️⃣ Fair Attention : Make conscious efforts to spend individual time with each child to prevent feelings of neglect or jealousy.

2️⃣ Education on ADHD: Educate siblings about ADHD to foster understanding and empathy. 

3️⃣ Conflict Resolution Skills: Teach and model how to resolve disagreements in a constructive manner. 

Example: Organize family activities that cater to each child’s interests, ensuring that each child feels included and valued, and discuss with siblings what ADHD means and how it affects their brother or sister.

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Conclusion

Parent coaching offers an invaluable pathway for families seeking to navigate the complexities of raising children with unique challenges such as ADHD. By focusing on tailored strategies and providing continuous support, parent coaching empowers parents with the skills and confidence necessary to foster a nurturing and effective family environment. Whether addressing behavioral issues, enhancing communication, or managing family dynamics, the guidance provided by parent coaching can have instrumental and long-lasting change in your family and the next generation.

Kim’s experience underscores the transformative impact of parent coaching. She remarks, “Parent coaching transformed our lives. By understanding and leveraging my son’s unique strengths, and learning how to manage his challenges, we’ve seen remarkable growth and harmony within our family.”

For parents eager to enhance their parenting skills and strengthen family connections, we encourage you to explore the possibilities that parent coaching offers. Visit our website to learn more about our services and how we can support your family’s journey towards a more empowered and fulfilling family life. Connect with us today to start your journey with an EEC-certified parent coach and make a lasting difference in your family dynamics. Contact us or schedule a free screening call with Dr. Murphy to discuss how we can help tailor a coaching plan that suits your family’s needs.