It's National Parenting Week - and anyone who is a parent will know that apart from being the most important job we will ever do, parenting can be a rollercoaster of emotions, with extreme highs and lows. As coaches, we can ask ourselves how we can support parents to be the best they can be and avoid the secret lots of parents hold which is parental guilt. We spoke to Award-winning family lifestyle coach Sharon Lawton to share her thoughts in this new article.

When I have a spare moment on a busy day I often find myself, scrolling down social media looking for something interesting or inspirational to give me a boost!  A few weeks ago I read a really inspiring post that encouraged us to try to replace the feelings of guilt with appreciation and thankfulness for what other's give to us.

Sometimes when you read something, you instantly connect with it and this was one of those times.  It’s not a new concept but it started me on a little thinking journey.

I remember a conversation I had with a friend and colleague, way before I ever had children.  On one occasion I remember her describing to me something that she called 'guilty mum syndrome'.  

"It’s no wonder that parents feel under pressure to get it right. I tell my clients that there is no such thing as the perfect parent, we are all doing the best we can do with the tools that we have and that’s where coaching comes in."

She told me that as a parent, you can regularly find yourself feeling guilty about something.  Believing that you’re not good enough or even failing your child in some way.  I hadn’t come across coaching at that stage of my life and so I did what I thought was the right thing at the time and  I reassured her the best I could, told her that from what I'd seen she was a great mum and then changed the subject and we moved on with the day.  

It is only now that I myself am a mum of two and also a specialist parent coach, that I think I can appreciate exactly what she meant by this parental guilt. 

I feel guilty as a parent and so do many of my clients.  When I reflect on the reason for this, it is simply because as a parent we so want to do a good job, but the pressures are endless from the “Perfect Families" shown on TV (especially at Christmas) to celebrity parents giving endless advice and posting Instagram perfect pictures, the countless books on the “best” way to discipline or bring up your child, and I even saw a TV programme recently called “Britain’s Best Parent”.   

It’s no wonder that parents feel under pressure to get it right. I tell my clients that there is no such thing as the perfect parent, we are all doing the best we can do with the tools that we have and that’s where coaching comes in. To support and empower parents to distance from any limiting beliefs and negative thoughts, and reflect on how their values impact on their parenting style and ultimately on their family life. 

Coaching others feels like a privilege, however, coaching parents feels especially so and gives space to work on areas to

  • Build a toolbox to be an even better parent
  • Reflect on family dynamics and communication styles that might be negatively impacting on day to day life
  • Gain tools to support building their child’s emotional health and confidence

Some of my clients frequently share that they feel guilty at spending too much of their day doing chores or stressing over homework, and not enough time with their children,  

Then they feel guilty for

  • not tidying the house when they’ve spent quality time with the children
  • or losing their temper with their children instead of modelling how to deal with emotions in a positive way

...I could go on, and I’m not even going into the guilt around being a stay at home parent, losing a sense of identity and wanting more from life.

One of the favourite parts of my work is delivering group parent coaching programmes where we discuss parental guilt.  Here are the top 3 tips I share;

1. Remember, it’s normal to feel guilty – 

Parental guilt is something every parent experiences from time to time.  It’s important to remind yourself of this to avoid the overwhelm.

2. There’s no such thing as perfect –

Letting go of perfection and having realistic and appropriate expectations of both yourself and your child(ren) can make a huge difference. 

There’s no such thing as the perfect parent, we are all doing the best we can every day, and that’s ok.

3. Put your oxygen mask on first -

Looking after our own needs as parents is essential to being the best parent we can be. 

Parenting is a giving role and unless we take time to “top ourselves up” we can find that we are running on empty!  Finding good supportive networks of other parents can be essential too.

So this is where you come in… Has this resonated with you and inspired you to think about joining this incredible niche area in coaching?   

By gaining a coaching qualification from the Coaching Academy to Coach In Education you will be joining a team of highly qualified coaches who work not just with parents, but with young people, teachers and senior leaders in schools and universities.

So if you have a passion for working with young people to support them to navigate life, or process and deal with difficult feelings, or perhaps you want to make a difference by coaching teachers, embedding a coaching culture into a school and support teacher retention, then enrol on our Coaching within Education Programme which starts on 30th October.

With 5 exciting live virtual training modules covering areas from getting your foot in the door with schools, to how to market yourself as a specialist coach in education,  and specialist modules covering parent coaching and coaching young people, this coach training will give you the tools, strategies and models you need to be an A* coach in this fast-expanding niche area.

Whether you are a qualified coach or you have no coaching experience whatsoever, we have the right training package for you!

Get in touch with us here.

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