Parent Coaching for a Difficult Child

If your child is difficult, and if you’re struggling to parent them well, then parent coaching is a great solution.

All kids and parents go through difficult times, but some kids are simply more challenging. There can be lots of reasons for this. Difficult children may:

  • Have a diagnosis such as ADHD, OCD, ODD, an eating disorder, etc.
  • Express constant anger towards you
  • Be estranged from you
  • Be withdrawn from your relationship, refusing or unable to connect with you
  • Tell you they are considering suicide or using self-harm behaviors
  • Be using alcohol or other substances
  • Say they were/are being harassed or abused
  • Have experienced sexual assault or abuse
  • Be completely isolated from peers, spending all their time alone or on their computer/phone

Difficult children are sometimes harder to parent from the beginning. You may have noticed that as infants they were difficult to soothe. Perhaps you struggled to settle them down and they had a lot of tantrums that you felt powerless to control.

Sometimes children seem easygoing and fun and then suddenly they change. Perhaps a major change happened, like divorce, a move, death, or even just puberty. Or maybe you have no idea what happened to the easy child you remember.

Whatever the reason for why your child is difficult right now, parent coaching can help!

Lots of parents struggle with difficult children

It’s very normal for parents to struggle with difficult children. It can feel hard to connect, and you may feel afraid of what will happen to them, both in the short- and long-term.

Difficult children mean that parenting is a struggle. The first thing we’ll do in parent coaching for a difficult child is try to find out what their behavior is trying to tell you. Most times, difficult children want to connect with their parents, but something is getting in the way.

We will try to get to the bottom of their struggle, and find ways for you to communicate more effectively and less painfully.

Coaching can help

Parent coaching for a difficult child is a way for you to learn some new parenting techniques and gain confidence as a parent. Popular media like books, magazines and social media combined with friends and family are often helpful when it comes to parenting a more typical child. But if you have a difficult child you may benefit from more strategic support.

We’ll explore your child’s history as well as what’s going on now. Coaching gives you a safe space in which to vent and describe your child and how much it troubles you. You’ll get a shame-free environment where you can share how hard it feels to parent your child right now.

Next, we’ll work to figure out some new boundaries, expectations and behaviors that can help make parenting easier. The good news is that when we adjust your beliefs and behavior, your child will often change theirs. Often we’ll see a very difficult child begin to open up a bit more as they find more peace and healing with you.

You are never to blame for your child’s difficult behavior, but we can find ways that you can influence their behavior for the better. This will make parenting much more relaxing and enjoyable.

What you get with parent coaching for a difficult child

Information: Find out more about your child’s condition.

Understanding: Learn how you can help your child by knowing more about what’s going on for them.

Scripts: Get some help learning how to talk to your child about their behavior. Above all, know how not to talk to your child about their behavior.

 Techniques: Learn new techniques for parenting in challenging situations, including setting boundaries and empathic listening.

 Recommendations: Get recommendations for articles, books, and resources. These will help you build up your child’s self-esteem and improve their behavior.

Parent coaching can make an immediate impact on how it feels to parent a difficult child. While there is a lot of advice for parenting more typical children, parents can feel adrift when things go wrong. Parent coaching can make things easier for you, your difficult child, and your whole family.

Most parents feel more confident in just a few sessions. Of course we can continue working together as long as it’s helpful for you.

Our society

Our society can be a setup for parents. This is especially true for moms. Rather than look at you as an individual, I take a broader societal view when coaching. This means that you can rest – you are not wrong or bad. But sometimes our culture encourages behavior that doesn’t help us as parents or help our kids. We are led astray in many areas of parenting. But parent coaching can help you get back on track while teaching you self-compassion for yourself and compassion for your child.

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Ginny Jones is a Parent Coach who helps parents handle difficult parenting situations. She has +15 years of coaching experience and is an expert in helping parents navigate eating disorders and other difficult parenting situations. Learn more