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The Taos News




Parent, or Coach?

August 2015

Not all of us are born with the natural ability to be a parent.  Parenting is a learning process that takes time, patience, and the development of skills. One model that can help you achieve those skills is that of the coach who guides his team members to become successful athletes.  The coaching you do will be to guide your children to become resourceful, responsible, and empathic adults. 

In this model of parent as coach, you are neither authoritarian nor enabling.  Instead, you are a valuable influence who guides your child to his highest potential, a mentor who helps him emerge as a person, and a champion when he feels discouraged and misunderstood.  You are a teacher who helps him learn to think and to apply knowledge; a beacon that lights the way when he is confused.  You offer your unconditional support when he slips and falls and are his role model in demonstrating effective communication and life skills.  In addition, you are his partner in helping take action and to reach goals that are important to him. 

It quickly becomes clear that this coaching model requires focused attention and deep caring.  However, the rewards for the effort you put in will be worth it because, like all parents, you want to bring out the best in your child.  You want her to understand that you care and that you want to know what is going on in her life.  At the same time, you want her to understand your values, and to listen to you.  You want her to trust you and to respect your opinion enough to be able to ask for help when she is facing problems.  In addition, you would like her to realize that you are human, too.  When you parent as a coach, you stand a very good chance of achieving all those things you would like for her.

How do you become a successful “coach”?  First, demonstrate affection, kindness, compassion, and love in your words and deeds.  Show empathy by being willing to temporarily “live” in your child’s world.  See things from his perspective so you can identify his feelings, thoughts and beliefs.  This will greatly strengthen the bond between you.  Be adaptable.  When you are flexible with your expectations during new or challenging circumstances, you will weather the occasional storm with your relationship intact.  

Treat your child with respect and high regard simply because he has inherent value as a human being.  By doing this, you will enhance his self esteem.  Create a safe environment in which your child will be more confident, ethical, and better adjusted and by being a trustworthy, predictable and dependable person.  Look for what is positive in him.  Express your gratitude for and appreciation of those qualities and behaviors.  Be loyal; devote quality time to him.   This will give your relationship a firm foundation. 

View disagreements, stress, or crisis as opportunities for learning about each other, and use conflict resolution rather than repression.  This will promote his growth.  Provide him with a clear understanding of responsibilities and give him a voice in decision making and consequences.  When you practice these skills you successfully support your child in becoming an independent person and a winning player in the game of life. 

By adopting the model of “parent as coach”, you will have the peace of mind that you are doing your best as a parent.  You will enable your child, and yourself, to express yourselves in more authentic and loving ways, and you will know the joy of having a healthy, close relationship with your child.  With all these distinct advantages, why wait? Be on the winning side of parenting by beginning your job as coach today!


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