I formed my LLC on July 4th. My personal Independence Day. I can proudly say that I fucking love my job.
In December of 2015, while driving back to Richmond from Northern Virginia, Jason asked me a question that forever changed my life. I told him I didn’t want to go back to work due to extreme anxiety. He asked me, “What is it that you love to do?” I answered, “Oh that’s easy. I love it when a parent says to me ‘My kid won’t……’ and I say ‘Fuck yeah they will, let’s do it!’” To that, Jason sweetly and simply responded, “Well, love, why don’t you do just that?”
If I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t have laughed and called him crazy. From there, all it took was one Google search and a ton of support to become certified to coach parents to their goals.
So, you may be thinking - what in the world IS a parent coach, and why does anyone need one?
The short answer is because babies don’t come with a manual. More than one parent has told me how amazed they are that they were required to take a class to drive a car, but they walked out of the hospital with their baby scot-free. Definitely bizarre. As a parent coach, I help when the painful behaviors get worse. When tantrums and meltdowns become so extreme no amount of bribes, threats, time outs, or spankings work. In those moments, your children are actually commanding you to be different. That’s where I come in.
Managing behaviors quickly and easily becomes a really tall order that often gets off track with equally painful results. I grew up with the tools of restriction, shame, fear, and spankings. Not until I learned about brain developments, psychology, and discipline did things begin to click in place for me. Learning about the effects of punitive punishments and their anti-compliance effects astounded me - because I remember being that child.
I was the child who was discouraged, disconnected, frustrated, ungrateful, angry and hurt. I was the child who was acting out begging my parents to do something different. Unfortunately for me I was just a child and only had my difficult behavior to communicate these needs. My parents were unaware that I could only signal my needs through my behavior, and in turn they felt frustrated and then punished some more. Only now can I can back (after lots of therapy, seeing a life-coach and healer) and acknowledge that they were doing their best.
While it was not the best that I needed, it was them working this parenting gig to the best that they knew. Reflecting back on this has allowed me to release a lot of the resentment I feel toward my childhood and the way I was treated by my parents. I use this as fuel to help parents understand that their misbehaving child is a discouraged child asking them to bring different tools and techniques to the table.
If the current tools you’re using - time-out, spankings, lectures, bribes, treats, restrictions, etc. - no longer work, it’s time to reach out and bring in someone who can help you get things back on track. The danger with doubling down even harder with those punishments is that when they do start “working” you wish they didn’t work. When these tools start working, we then enter in the zone of apathy or detachment. In my own experience that became an 8-year hiatus from my family. They knew I was alive, and I would occasionally make a pop-in; but holidays and major events I would just stay away. They became too stressful and painful for me, so I kept myself safe by not attending.
This is never a parent’s goal.
Parents become parents to raise their new legacy. They are thrilled at the news of bringing in a new life. They plan for the change in their family for 9 whole months. Showers, gifts, nesting, book reading, all the prep that goes into having a baby. Then, once the baby arrives, all the sacrifices that parents make: sleep, money, time, life. Having a child is a HUGE responsibility. But parents make it happily (or unhappily). They make the sacrifices for their children in hopes of growing together for many joyous years. Sitting around the fire at Christmas playing card games and complimenting each others accomplishments.
That is rarely the reality.
Families are messy, emotional, and sometimes out of control. For whatever reason, all of those sacrifices made when they were infants are no longer currency you can cash in. They want what they want and they want it now - and they can SCREAM to get it. And oh how painful the crying and screaming can be. You just want them to be happy, right? Screaming is the anti-happy. “Just. Give. In” says your ego. “There, a smile; phew, we’re good.” Only, under that guise of happiness a monster is being fostered. And when the monster - tantrums and meltdowns (not your child) - get too big, you’ll need some help calming things back down and getting back on track.
That is where I come in.
I help you understand what in the world your children are communicating to you by using their behavior. I help you decode challenges and get to the core belief that supports all this misbehavior. I help you shift into proactive approaches that help empower your children to build their own happiness so they become resilient through disappointment. Truly being able to build up a happy generation. I help keep you accountable and on track.
That is how you build your family manual.