My dad used to say, “The tough thing about parenting is that you have to do all of your training on the job.” It’s true—you have to learn as you go! So why not tap into a parenting coach who can offer a little wisdom?
Why You Need a Coach:
- They’ve done it all before. A parent whose children are older than yours has already survived whichever phase of parenting you’re in now. From potty training toddlers to figuring out which school choice makes sense—their notes and lessons learned can help a lot.
- They can see the bigger picture. Parents of older kids can remember the decisions they stressed about when their children were younger and tell you which issues really mattered, and which ones didn’t in the end.
- They’re a good shoulder to cry on. Parenting requires so much of you emotionally, physically, and mentally. Some days you just need to cry or vent. Your parenting coach likely remembers feeling the exact same way and can be a great listener and encourager.
What to Look for in a Parenting Coach:
- Someone who’s at least several years ahead of you. If your own kids are preschoolers, a parent whose kids are 6-8 years older might make a great coach. They’re far enough ahead to know something, yet current enough to remember the challenges you’re facing. Try looking for someone who exhibits some of these 7 Characteristics of Successful Parents.
- Someone who shares your core values. Your parenting philosophy should be rooted in your core beliefs about God, family, and personal character. Make sure your coach shares these fundamental beliefs with you so that your goals and their advice will align.
- Someone whose company you enjoy. Look for someone who shares common interests and makes you feel comfortable. For some couples, this might be their parents or in-laws. For others, it may be easier to take advice without feeling defensive from a couple outside the family.
- Someone whose kids seem on-track. If you see a family whose older children exhibit most of the traits you’d like to one day see in your own, the parents could tell you a great deal about how they got there. No kid is perfect, but when a family is getting it right far more than they’re getting it wrong, you could learn a lot.
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.