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Having Kids does not Automatically Make you an Effective Parent | Parent Coach | MegAnne Ford

Having Kids... Does Not Automatically Make you an Effective Parent


One of my favorite tools for self-reflection, self-awareness, and inspiration is using cards, and I particularly enjoy decks like the Oracle deck written by my friend Jennifer. This deck offers numerous amazing spaces for investigation and discovery.

One of my favorite cards from this deck is titled;

"Change How You Measure."

Its message encourages us not to measure success solely by our current circumstances or how we got there but rather to contemplate who we are becoming.

Here are a few questions to start you off:

Have you reflected on your upbringing as a parent?

Have you considered how you currently approach parenting?

How are you integrating these experiences to shape your future relationship with your child?

We'll explore the distinction between who we are and what we do and ponder who we are becoming in the context of our relationships.


Parent Coach? How many kids do you have?

As a parent coach, the number one question that is asked is, "How many children do you have?" or "Are you a parent yourself?"

Maybe you have the same question. Maybe you've wondered how many kids I have because I make parenting seem easy.

I've started to get into the habit of asking the community to answer these questions. This is how they answer:

KC said, "I feel like I'm one of MegAnne's children because I've learned so much and feel safe and vulnerable in the community."

Stephanie said, "You are definitely an influential person in my kids' lives. MegAnne is not a parent, but she supports parents to learn and practice positive parenting."

I love hearing that because I am a parenting coach who coaches my clients to use positive parenting, which is a specific set of methods.

So, here, we're starting to tease out who we are from what we do and focusing on who we are becoming.

I underline, "MegAnne is a parenting coach." That's my identity. That's who I am. Coaching is what I do. I create Online Parenting Classes.

If you think about any sort of team sport, anyone who wants to improve a skill, or anyone who is starting to build their confidence and expand their knowledge, education, awareness, and practice, hiring a coach is one of the best investments you can make.

A coach provides an outside perspective, invites self-reflection, and helps improve your methods. That's what I do.

So, though I'm not a parent and don't hold that identity myself, I am a parenting coach who helps parents improve their methods. I wanted to take some time and really tease this out in different areas so that now we can start to reflect on how you might identify yourself as a parent.




Actor vs Acting 

Let's take a look at Christian Bale in order to see this through a different lens. Christian Bale, as an actor, stands out because he plays such diverse characters in his roles. He can immerse himself in a specific movie role and truly become that character. He utilizes his acting tools and methods to excel in each role. For instance, think about "American Psycho" — I love that movie — and then think about "American Hustle." These are totally different characters with different vibes and in different spaces, yet Christian Bale excels in both roles.

So, Christian Bale is the actor; he is the person. Acting is what he does. Similarly, I am a parenting coach; that's who I am. Christian Bale acts in many different roles in movies, just as I coach parents in using specific methods. If we take this lens, we're separating who we are from what we do and focusing on who we are.

Separating the actors from the action, who they are from what they do, and the roles that they take.


Athlete vs. Playing

Let's do the same in the realm of sports with Michael Jordan. I thought about Michael Jordan in a couple of different ways. Michael Jordan is the best of the best in basketball. He is a player who plays many different games using a specific set of methods. His documentary "The Last Dance" is about his whole life, his journey, and who he was as a basketball player. It talked about the sacrifices he made, the teams he played on, the conflicts he worked through, and his dedication to the sport. Michael Jordan was a player who played on a team with lots of different players, and they all had different methods. Some of Michael Jordan's methods were even a bit controversial.

Jason, my husband, who is a big sports person, invited me to watch it with him. He was like, "I don't know, maybe you want to, maybe you won't want to watch it." I couldn't stop watching it because I could connect to his story through my own lens, not being a basketball player.

When I was thinking about this and how he was in his role, focusing on who he was becoming, it invited Michael Jordan to compare himself to himself. Was he making the strides that he wanted to make? Was he able to play how he wanted to play, and what was required of him? What practices did he have to do? What actions did he need to take to be the player that he wanted to be?

So, he excelled at basketball, and then later on in his career, he tried to switch it. He tried to switch to baseball, and baseball required a totally different skill set. It required a totally different set of methods. Did he do okay? I mean, that's up to opinion, that's up to interpretation, but he's not like the All-Star baseball player.

Not all athletes have the same athletic ability. No matter the game, each game played requires a specific set of methods, support, dedication, and commitment.

I thought, wow, Michael Jordan, the person, is a player, and Michael Jordan plays in many different games. He uses a specific set of methods.

Michael Jordan did other great things. However, those unique projects required different methods and supports. Space Jam; he stepped into the actor role. Michael Jordan shoes, working with Nike; those projects required a different skill set.

So, though Michael Jordan is great, going into different roles required him again to expand his skill set; some went really well, and some did not go so well. But when we can think about Michael Jordan as a person, he is still good and worthy.

It's helpful to recognize that the player is the person, and the person's identity in playing the game is reflected in the actions they take. Are we staying attuned to expanding our skill set and expanding our support to meet the demands of where we're going? Are we expanding our methods?

I also started thinking, is there a purpose in judging ourselves and comparing ourselves in those different lanes? I always think about how much bravery it took Michael Jordan to go into playing baseball. To clarify, baseball didn't go so well for him; it was not his jam. It required different skill sets. But he also, again, went into Space Jam to expand there as well.

Michael Jordan can be the best at one thing and then totally flop at another thing, but he is still a good and worthy person. He is still great for exactly who he is, going into all these different areas, which asked him to expand on his methods to various successes.


Parent vs Parenting

Pamela was my parent, the person who was parenting many different children using a specific set of parenting methods. She parented me and all my siblings, utilizing her toolbox to the best of her abilities, with the best of intentions, and with the most love and care.

However, just like Michael Jordan being limited in his skill set in different areas, when Pamela had five kids who tested those very methods and tools, she too ran up against her own limits.

Pamela was my parent, the person, and the action she took was parenting many different children using a specific set of methods. She was a good and worthy human, parenting using different methods. And just like Michael Jordan, some of those methods did not translate to the different requirements, the different games, the different people; she found her toolbox very limited. 

If only Pamela knew that she was a good and worthy human, knowing, "Hey, you're playing five different games. You've got a whole team of players that are requiring a very high caliber game." And if she knew that it wasn't her, that she wasn't a bad parent, she wasn't a bad person, but that the invitation to expand on methods she was using.

Are you feeling confident in your parenting? Are you feeling connected in your parenting? Are you aware of your own limits and struggles? Can you get into spaces of support for you so that you can feel confident in what you're doing, taking more of that Christian Bale mindset?

I thought, "Dang, yeah, that's it, right? The parent is the person, you are the person, the parenting are your methods." I never want to attack a parent; I want to start to raise awareness of the methods they use and to bring in the invitation.

If you want to expand the methods that you're using, that's possible because you, as a person, are good and worthy. That's why I say no bad parents, only bad parenting.

The parent is the person; you become a parent when you are caring for a child—that's your role. But parenting, those are the methods you're using, those are the actions you're taking, that's the game and the strategies and tactics you're using. And when we can start to become aware of those tactics, strategies, and methods, then we can start to evolve them.


Coach vs Coaching

Back to the original question: How many kids do you have and why? I think that is an irrelevant question. It is not irrelevant in the sense of "you shouldn't ask," but I understand why people are asking. However, it doesn't impact the job I do because I am a parenting coach. I am the person outside of the perspective.

I am the person highlighting blind spots. I am the person who champions and advocates for her team, which are her clients, to learn and use positive parenting—a specific set of methods.

There's been a lot of talk recently about gentle parenting and parenting styles. I just want to say that in Positive Parenting, there are very clearly defined tools and methods.

You don't have to wing it anymore. You're not just trying and doing your best. It's a specific set of methods that helps empower parents so they can empower their children.


Clients gaining new skills

A client and I were discussing their challenges during bedtime in the past and how it's now become easy.

When I asked her what contributed to this change, she mentioned boundaries, routines, and agreements, highlighting the tools that have helped her feel more in control and less like she's just winging it. This transformation, where she no longer feels like she's doing her best but instead has a defined skill set, is truly remarkable.

Now, let's shift the focus to you. As a parent, you use a specific set of methods both during smooth times and during more challenging moments. My role as a parenting coach is to help you expand and refine these methods, especially during tough times, so that you can approach conflicts confidently and positively. Are you aware of the methods that leave you feeling proud and empowered, as well as those that you find ineffective or guilt-inducing?


All humans are good and worthy.

I want to emphasize that you, as a parent or caregiver, are inherently good and worthy. However, it's crucial to critically assess the parenting methods you employ to achieve your goals.

I encourage you to reflect on what feels easy and hard in parenting, acknowledging the full spectrum of experiences. Avoid comparing yourself to other parents; instead, focus on your own growth and improvement, compare yourself to your past self, and find ways to connect and build confidence in your parenting journey.

What supports you in feeling confident and empowered in your parenting? What helps you play the game you want to play and build the relationship that makes you proud as a parent? Exploring these questions can lead us to spaces that empower you to reconnect with yourself and your parenting journey.


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