a special feature from Bonnie Compton*
“While we try to teach our children about life, children will teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt
Our role as parent is to teach our children—or so we think. Actually I believe that our children are here to teach us, to help us grow as individuals. And our job is to help guide them, while allowing them to make their own choices, for themselves, and also to allow them to experience the consequences of those choices. Raising a child to be responsible only happens when we allow them to take responsibility for themselves!
This takes great effort on the parent’s part—it doesn’t just happen. And of course, we know our kids don’t come with an instruction manual. As a child & adolescent therapist, parent coach, mom of four adult children, and three grandchildren, I too know the ups and downs of raising kids. Many parents of adult kids have expressed that they wish they’d had someone like me to help them parent their kids. I often laugh and share with them that I too wish I’d had someone to help guide my own parenting efforts!
I’m now on the other side of parenting. And here is what I know for sure—we all could have benefitted from having someone to help guide us in our parenting—and so would our kids. Also, once you become a parent, you’re always a parent. You don’t just quit parenthood! I often share with parents that I’m learning to be a mom of adult children.
My job as a parent (or grandparent) coach is to help you find your own answers. I believe you are the best parenting expert for your child or grandchild. Whether you’re a parent of kids, young or old, or perhaps a grandparent, it’s never too late. It’s always possible to make positive changes in your relationship with your kids and grandkids. Give yourself the gift of coaching—you’ll be glad you did, and so will your kids.
There is an overabundance of parenting information available—in fact, there are over 100,000 parenting books on the market! However, reading a book is not enough. You have to incorporate the ‘learning’s’ into your family’s daily life, and that is typically where parents get lost in their efforts.
A few years ago, I shifted the focus of my psychotherapy practice, from kids to their parents. Why, because I realized that until I was able to get parents to shift their focus, not much was going to change. As long as parents continued to focus on their child’s behavior, and attempted to control it…they were not seeing any lasting improvement. Typically what they were experiencing was resistance from their child—after all who likes to be controlled? The piece that was missing was the importance of inspiring parents to focus on themselves, not their children. Counterintuitive to what we’ve been taught—right? Many parents I’ve worked with have made this shift and as a result, have experienced positive results in their child’s behavior. More importantly they’ve also found more joy in their relationship with their kids.
“A year from now, you may wish you had started today.”
*Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP
Child & Adolescent Therapist (843-718-1551)
Parent Coach Parenting Partners, LLC
Host of Wholehearted Parenting Radio