For over ten years, I have been working with parents of children who have ADHD, executive function challenges, learning challenges, and behavioral challenges.
When parents initially contact me, they are often seeking support to help their children directly. Our skilled Coaches do provide direct support to teens and college students. But, parents sometimes become disappointed to find that their child is not ready or willing to fully engage in the coaching process, yet. While parents may feel it would be helpful, the child may be too young to participate fully. Or perhaps they are unwilling to do the work required for a productive, effective coaching partnership.
There are also times when a child or young adult is successfully engaging in coaching, however, the parent struggles to give the space for the coaching relationship to flourish. This space is needed for the coach to help the client move toward independence and self-growth.
So how can we help children become “coachable” and help parents feel safe stepping back so the coach can do their job? While the child’s coach may be able to support the parents in the context of their coaching arrangement, sometimes parents need their own, more intensive support. It may be beneficial to coach the parent directly in a separate coaching relationship. As an ADHD Parent Coach, I find that by working with the parent, the child becomes more willing to accept coaching. As a result, parents are able to manage their anxiety to allow the child’s coach to be effective.
Parenting a child with attentional, learning, and behavioral challenges add to the complexity that every parent faces when it comes to raising a healthy, confident, self-aware child. Well-meaning parents may lack the insight and education needed to recognize how their parenting style may affect their child. They may not be helping their child learn to manage their inherent ADHD struggles. Many parents are unaware of the full impact that ADHD and other challenges have on learning, motivation, and behavior. Unintentionally, this can create a situation where the parent is not able to be as effective as they wish, and they may exacerbate the challenges that their child faces.
Parents of children with ADHD need education, support, and strategies as they help their children manage the symptoms and challenges they face academically, socially and elsewhere. They are often overwhelmed when they learn about their child’s diagnosis and its implications. They may not have the time or patience to read all the materials that doctors and therapists provide them. As their child’s surrogate frontal lobe, parents play a tremendous role in helping their children learn to manage their executive functioning. Especially when it comes to emotional regulation. To effectively act as a child’s surrogate frontal lobe, parents must recognize their role in their child’s development. They must also understand what is involved in helping them develop internal regulation and motivation.
Most parenting is done using love, logic, and instinct as their guide. They are sometimes unaware of how their assumptions, expectations, and communication style may be serving to hinder rather than enhance their support. Parents must have the necessary support to learn the tools and strategies required to effectively support their children and manage their parental anxiety in the process! By having the parent as the client, a Parent Coach can help parents gain confidence and skill in parenting their unique child.
If you would like Parent Coaching for yourself, please contact me at Cindy@PTScoaching.com
And if you would like to become a Parent Coach, please join me for my upcoming training that begins August 5th: https://ptscoaching.com/professional-development/adhd-parent-coach-academy/