Why Parents Hire “Parenting Coaches” — Their Kids Won’t Listen

 

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We used to call our moms or girlfriends for advice. What has happened in our world that we’d rather pay $125 to $350 per session to a stranger to ask how to get our kids to go to bed? Also, the sessions aren’t even in person—they’re over the phone or via Skype. Parenting coaches are a new trend and it’s become a billion dollar business. It seems a little odd to me to pay for help because people are always giving unsolicited advice. Confide to a friend about problems you’re having with your kids and you’ll get plenty of suggestions. Also, you can google it or shop on Amazon and gets books, blogs and articles galore. I found it funny that the number one problem that drove parents to hire parenting coaches is this — their kids won’t listen to them! No kidding! 

In “Parenting coaches? Frazzled families pay for advice,” by Erica Pearson for the Minnesota Star Tribune, she interviews families and parenting coaches to learn more about this new trend. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Megan and Michael Flynn used to dread bedtime. Every night, the Edina couple spent two stressful hours putting their preschooler and toddler to bed. With help, they cut that time in half.

They did it by hiring a parent coach, who listened to them describe an average night and concluded they needed structure. Instead of caving into requests for book after book, they set a routine — and stuck to it.

“Nighttime routines are such a struggle for so many people,” said Megan Flynn, “and it was just nice to have somebody give us strategies for it.”

When it comes to bedtime, homework or managing meltdowns, a growing number of families like the Flynns aren’t relying on their peers or parents: They’re turning to parenting coaches for one-on-one instruction.

The coaches — who charge from about $125 to $350 a session — meet with parents only (in person, over the phone or via Skype) to set goals and develop a plan to reach them.

Here’s another excerpt: 

Shoreview parenting coach Toni Schutta, who worked with the Flynns, is a licensed psychologist. But she would be the first to admit that she doesn’t use coaching to deal with deep-seated problems. Her role is to listen to parents, suggest tools to address a specific issue and keep them accountable for a set number of weeks. The reason most clients seek her out? Their kids don’t listen.

Moms and dads who have hired a parent coach say they felt comfortable asking a coach for help with day-to-day struggles, instead of a counselor, specialist, therapist — or even a member of their own family. Hiring a coach, they say, is more akin to using a resource than seeking a diagnosis. Plus, coaching is often easier to fit in around busy schedules, since it can be done over the phone.
The profession, virtually nonexistent 20 years ago, is one of the latest entries in the $1.08 billion personal coaching industry in the United States. It’s part of the broader American trend of hiring expert advisers to improve nearly every facet of life. You can hire a sleep coach, a financial coach, a life coach, even a coach to help you transition to eating only raw food.

I write parenting advice columns for SwimSwam.com and I hope my tips are helpful to other parents. I base them on first-hand experience, friends and family, plus I do a lot of reading and research. But, I couldn’t imagine anyone would pay me $350 per session over the phone for my suggestions, helpful or not. 

Parenting is a huge job. Probably one of the biggest and most important, and it doesn’t include a manual. Every parent and child is different and so much of it is trial and error. When you get it wrong, you try something new. When something finally works—it won’t for much longer. Parenting is changing and adapting on a daily basis. Just like our parenting changes, so do our kids, and no two kids are the same—even within the same family.

Would you hire a parenting coach and why or why not?

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