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Health & Parenting

Dial a Coach for Parenting Advice

Having trouble honing your parenting skills? Some parents in the same boat consult a parenting coach.
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Coaching Parents to Be Their Own Coach continued...

Phillips' most popular service is a coach-parenting program, a five-week course that meets for one hour each week and gives parents the skills and tools to start being a better parent. In other words, she coaches parents to be their own coach. And instead of a whistle and a clipboard, she gives them problem-solving techniques that are in line with their core values. She doesn't write the plays the way a football coach would, but she teaches parents how to develop their own winning moves.

"I am not telling them what to do as parents, but I am giving them the tools that they need to figure it out for themselves," she says. Once they graduate, "parents get confidence in their ability to figure out what they are going to say and do," she says.

She coaches about 30 to 40 people a day -- and some aren't even parents yet. "A lot more people are starting to come when they are pregnant or even just planning to be a parent," she says. "Today people just want to be the best parents that they can be."

Following the Family Mission Statement

Kelly Ann Bonnell, MS, a parent coach and founder of "My Parent Coach" in Phoenix, has been coaching parents for three years; she was a professional parent educator and teacher trainer for a decade. She does much of her coaching via instant messaging on the computer and most of her clients are "generation Xers."

"They are a group of parents coming into parenthood from an era heavy in divorce, with lots of latch key children and not a lot of role models," she says.

"[Gen Xers] are wanting a new model, but not the ultra-strict model that their parents had, yet not as liberal as their parents, so that leaves them in the middle with no source of support," she tells WebMD.

"The first thing that we do is start with who they are as parents and help them discover what they will not compromise on," she says. "They pick three values that are uncompromising to them as parents."

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