I was recently sitting next to a fellow parent at one of my son’s activities, and as we were discussing the challenges of parenting and exhaustion she leaned over to me and joked that she needed a “parent coach”.

At first, I laughed in agreement, but as I thought about all the times I had hired coaches for various projects, a parent coach is a pretty amazing idea! Although parenting has been going on since the beginning of humanity, many of us still feel we must reinvent the wheel and count on mysterious instincts. Add in all of the wives’ tales and different cultural practices/advice, it’s enough to make some of us (maybe even a certain one of us) a little crazy at times!

When I moved to Houston a few years ago with a very strong-willed three-year-old, I was having trouble with his sleeping and eating patterns and life became a daily power struggle. I was also pregnant at the time and started to worry about sibling jealousy and how to approach the topic of a baby in the family. A friend serendipitously recommended “Redirecting Children’s Behavior” a six-session course led by Deborah Fry, PH.D. that covered everything from communication tools, parenting methods, sibling rivalry, building children’s self-confidence, and specific techniques to redirect misbehavior.  Yes, that’s right… She is a Parent Coach!

Deborah Fry has been educating parents and families as well as leading workshops and seminars since 1990 with over 25 topics on parenting, pediatric sleep coaching, family wellness and personal development, including topics for adults on conflict resolution, teamwork, encouragement. Through her class, I was able to reconstruct my son’s nap and bedtime schedule to one that was a better fit for his needs as well as encouraging different eating habits. Her coaching also helped with celebrating the addition of his younger brother to the family.

Parenting has been undoubtedly the most rewarding and also the most challenging adventure in my life. All of the preparation leading up to the birth, the books I read or the years of babysitting under my belt wouldn’t prepare me for the enormous endeavor of responsibility. While parenting doesn’t come with a manual, you sure can hire yourself a coach if you need to!

Photo credit: Johnny Hanson

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