ABC Television recently imported a show from Great Britain called “Supernanny.” In this reality program British nanny Jo Frost enters a new household each week, observes the interaction of parents and children, and then teaches parents new ways of handling their little ones (see http://abc.go.com/primetime/supernanny/about.html). The show has had an amazing success because it is a pleasure to watch families become closer and more loving even as children become better behaved. Parents get back needed sleep when kids go to bed on time; meals become a time of fun and sharing rather than a battleground; families work as loving units once kids understand they have to stay within parental limits. Ms. Frost’s methods are firm but loving. Like Mary Poppins, she knows how to have fun with children; and also like Mary Poppins, she knows how to bring out the best in her little clients.

Most parents would love it if Ms. Frost paid them a visit and took an interest in their specific situation. While not every family can invite Ms. Frost to come over and provide expertise, every family can hire a parent coach.

A parent coach is a professional who can take a look at each family’s specific dynamics, help find solutions to problems, and bring out the best in everybody. Because every family is unique with its own set of unique personalities, each family needs a personal assessment and its own personal coach.

Usually a parent calls a coach when things seem to be getting out of hand. Sibling rivalry has reached a new pitch. A toddler tantrums all day long. A child refuses to do his homework. The frazzled parent has tried a variety of ways to fix the problem and may have consulted self-help books and other materials. Nothing seems to work. At this point he or she contacts a parent coach to work through the problem.

The coach usually spends most of the first sessions listening and assessing the presenting problem. As an expert in child rearing, a coach often can suggest new approaches. A coach can also determine what would work best for this particular family. Like Supernanny Jo Frost, a coach works mainly with parents, not children. If parents change their behavior and approach, usually children must do the same because parents ultimately hold the power within a family. Often the coach must help parents find a balance between being too strict or too loose. Coaching is about methods and solutions, not about analyzing why a situation is the way it is.

In the future families will probably keep a personal parent coach on hand as someone to call for help throughout their child-rearing years. Having a non-judgmental objective professional readily available when you need an expert opinion can help parents build a stronger, more loving and higher functioning family.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Goode is the published author of six books and the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents International, LLC. Her expertise has made her a frequent guest expert for media and her articles have appeared in more than 200 publications, including Colorado Parent, Convergence, The Joyful Child, Energy, Black Family Digest and Better Homes and Gardens. Caron manages InspiredParenting.net which provides inspiration and mind-body approaches for parenting the whole child. Free ezines offered. Dr. Goode graduated with a Doctoral Degree from George Washington University in 1983 and is a licensed psychotherapist. She recently completed post-doctoral certifications in Mindbody Wellness and Women's Spirituality at the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology.