The Parent Coach
“Parenting is not a race, it’s a journey.” – Wendy Berenson
And a journey that should be enjoyed! Meet Ms. Wendy. She is not only the three’s teacher at Early Learning Foundations Preschool, she is also a certified parent coach expert and has been helping families with everything from toilet training to behavioral issues for the past seven years. We sat down with Ms. Wendy to learn what parent coaching is all about.
How did you decide to become a certified parent coach?
I have always worked in early childhood education and it is important for the parents to be involved with what we are doing in the classroom. I would often have parents ask me for advice on a range of topics. After a while, the director of the school where I previously taught suggested that I become a parent coach. I completed a year-long program at The Academy of Coaching Parents in Texas to become a certified parent coach.
How is the approach of a coach different from a therapist?
A coach handles situations that a family is facing at the moment, working together toward a goal that reduces a current issue. As a coach, I am able to share personal experiences with my clients, which is something therapists do not often do.
Why do parents find they need coaching?
Before having kids, most couples do not sit down and talk about their parenting philosophies. Once the child is born, different parenting styles become obvious very quickly, which can cause a problem and confusion in the household. There is not one correct way to be a parent, however, it is SO important to be consistent and on the same page.
How does parent coaching work?
The first meeting is more of a consultation with the parent or parents assess the problems the family is facing and to identify goals. After the initial meeting, I create a plan for the family based on their needs. We typically meet once a week, for a specified period of time. I assign “homework” assignments between sessions that keeps the family on track. I am available in between sessions via email and phone for questions and support. I do what I can to set my clients up for success!
Do you work with families who are currently a part of your classroom?
Luckily parents of the children in my classroom are getting my services free for the year! I enjoy working with families who were in my classroom because I already know the child and the parent well, however I do not work with families who are currently enrolled.
What advice to you have for parents with young children?
- Consistency – Consistency is everything. It helps children understand cause and effect. You must be consistent with your words and actions.
- Respect – Respecting your child is the only way to teach your child to respect you and others.
- Discipline – Parents often feel guilty for disciplining their child. If you do not discipline your child, you are doing them a disservice. They need to have boundaries and rules.
- Downtime – Allowing a child to have downtime (without ipad, TV or computer) teaches a child to be content with themselves.
- Role Model – As a parent, you are the most important person in your child’s life. You have to be conscious of your behavior and how it influences the behavior of your child.