When you think of raising kids, there is this overwhelming instinct to protect them whether it’s from running into the road or having their feelings hurt by another kid. We want to protect our kids, but are our actions really helping our kids?
No one wants to be told what to do, but rather wants the opportunity to explore and figure things out for themselves.
NOTE: There are obvious situations that are dangerous for kids and we are not suggesting they experiment in dangerous situations like playing in the road. However, we can use natural observations to coach our kids through these dangerous situations. For example, instead of telling your child not to play in the road let them see something that has been run over in the road. Like the time I backed over a ball that was under the car. Let your child observe what happened to the ball and then ask questions to help them understand why they can’t play in the road. (Questions: What happened to the ball? Why did that happen to the ball? What if you were in the road, what could happen to you? etc.)
Real life examples and non-examples will help your kids to become problem solvers.
How coaching mindset can help our kids at home
Coaching as a parent is believing that your child has the potential to solve their own problems with guidance to a solution, rather than having a parent give the solution to the problem, basically you’re teaching your child how to learn.
Instead of forcing your child to blindly follow directions we are trying to help them connect to their real feelings and experiences to make the right choices. The coaching model at home views the child as someone who is being prepared to be an adult by learning how to problem solve throughout their years at home with the supervision of a parent.
Your role as a parent coach is to ask questions that will guide your child’s thinking rather than tell them the answers.
Change the Way you Talk to Your Kids
Instead of solving problems for your kids or literally doing what you’ve told them to do for them. For example, you say “pick up your toys,” but they don’t do it. You keep asking until you decide to go pick up the toys yourself.
Instead change the way you talk to your kids. You can set the expectations and enforce natural consequences, then focus on the effort instead of the outcome. This is really important when you are coaching younger children. You want them to learn to take pride in their own actions. Think through the process of solving a problem on their own.
This seems strange, but we learn valuable lessons from failure. So if your child doesn’t follow directions and clean up their toys, then they face the natural consequences of their actions. Embracing their failure to follow directions will teach them more about how their actions affect the outcome of their problem.
The Power of Yet
When your child faces a setback and becomes discouraged, use the power of yet. This was really hard for you and you haven’t gotten it yet, but you can work hard and try to improve. Our goal is to focus on their effort and not the outcome because no one is good at everything, but everyone can try and do their best.
A coaching approach to parenting is important because it emphasises believing in your child that he/she has the ability to work out their own problems. A child hearing from their parent “I know you can do this…” is encouraging and motivating for your child and will teach them that they can work through any problem even if there are setbacks.
What experiences have you had coaching as a parent?