Encouraging improved behaviors Parent Coaching
Parent coaching is a short-term intervention that provides foster, adoptive and kinship parents and other caregivers with hands-on, here-and-now tools for bringing about rapid and dramatic improvement in their child’s behavior.
Using a strategy customized to each individual family, coaches work with caregivers, in the absence of the child, to teach methods and tools that promote attachment and self-esteem while feeding the development of even more positive behaviors. Caregivers are able to strengthen bonds while teaching children new and effective ways of interacting with their world.
Present Moment Parenting
Parent coaching is a customized-to-your-family opportunity to understand your intense child’s behavior and learn what to do to help it improve dramatically. You’ll learn Present Moment Parenting with the support of a coach who will not pass judgment on you but will stand by you as you gain new skills. There’s no diagnosis from your coach, just solid, usable tools for bringing out the best in your intense child. How do we define “intense”? If you have a child with whom typical parenting methods don’t help, and even make the situation worse, you’ve come to the right spot.
What type of needs do the kids have?
Our parent coaching clients have children of all ages who have ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, giftedness, adoption or foster care issues, and even those with no diagnosis at all.
For children whose lives involve the child welfare system, particular attention is paid to helping parents navigate their sometimes overwhelming grief and loss.
The aim of “trauma-informed parent coaching” at Anu is to educate parents on specific relationships between unwanted behavior and deep, enormous unexpressed feelings. Once those relationships are understood, parents will learn how to approach the child in a way that heals them, rather than re-traumatizes them. It’s remarkably easy to re-traumatize a child who has suffered physical or sexual abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. The more parents understand that typical parenting techniques fuel the fire of unexpressed grief and rage, the more they can bring out the best in these children.
Biological, adoptive, foster, and kinship parents are in the perfect position to undo some of the damage inflicted on the children in their homes. They care the most about the children, they are with them the most, and they have the most invested in their well-being. Equipped with insight into the effects of trauma on the child’s body and the equally positive effects of nurturing communication on the same child’s body, parents and caregivers can start to see results immediately.
When children’s behavior is not only under control, but indicative of a child’s sense of self in healing mode, they can stay put. They avoid the defaulting judge, blame, and punish cycle that creates havoc in their lives and causes them to overreact to what parents think is normal parenting. The result is a peaceful, permanent home.
What about the parents’ past issues?
Will parents who are raising children who have been traumatized sometimes start to get in touch with the traumas they experienced as children?
It does happen. Parent coaching is not therapy, and our coaches will refer parents to appropriate services, such as psychotherapy and EMDR, even biofeedback, to learn ways to heal their own trauma. In the meantime, our coaches support the parents in interacting with their kids in the present moment, where all healing takes place. This two-pronged approach of parents receiving the help they need for their past upsets while being supported in their parenting is a powerful combination, and both processes can occur simultaneously.
Children who have been traumatized don’t have months to wait for their parents to heal their childhoods. That’s why parent coaches are available by phone, email, and Skype to provide weekly or bi-weekly encouragement on changing their interactions with the kids. We even have between-appointment trouble calls, where parents are free to call their coaches for on-the-spot support. When a mom or dad is about to lose it with their child, they can get help on the phone instead of yelling. This is the intensive support that’s needed for creating positive behavior and strong family relationships with the outcome of permanence for children.
Listen to what county social workers are saying about parent coaching:
- “Parent coaching is the most effective service we have to offer our kids.”
- “I LOVE THIS SERVICE.”
- “All your providers are fantastic!”
- “I continue to send referrals to you guys as often as possible.”
- “I refer all my clients to Parent Coaching!”
- “Mom remains completely calm now and has told the worker that coaching “is the reason I can handle this”
- “The coach not only works well with the client, but she educated the team also, allowing the team to understand what she was doing and to help support and encourage the client.”
- “She connects well with the family and is very creative in her approach as well as suggestions for the family to try. An asset to the team.”
- “I love working with her! The only suggestion is to have a parent coach work with service facilitators [case managers] too!”
- “The coach was awesome and the family is communicating very well now with her help. A huge improvement from before she was involved.”
- “[Coaching] has been a valuable resource for our foster families and he has a special ability to connect with families and children in a non-threatening strength-based approach.”
- “The Parent Coach is compassionate, he boosts up the family, he gives them practical and realistic ideas. The parents are moving closer to adopting the child.”
- “The families feel very welcome, and don’t feel judged. [The Coach] is very strengths-based.”
- “[Parent Coaching] allowed the foster mother to gain more confidence and this was reflected in her parenting approach.”
- “The family had nothing but great things to say about [the Coach]. They were at a place where they were considering giving up placement of their grandchildren, and after working with him, they say that they will never consider that.”