KEY FOCUS AREAS
HOW IT WORKS
When coaching with Cindy, you will have her with you shoulder to shoulder for three months on average. Coaching can be helpful for one or two parents, step-parents and grandparents, as well. Sessions are typically one hour in length and are conducted weekly or bi-weekly, in person, over the phone or via Skype so you can get the support you need from wherever you might be.
Working with a parent coach gives you a chance to feel seen and heard, to clarify what’s important to you, to better understand your child’s behavior, and to make conscious decisions about how you want to parent. It gives you the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day struggles of parenting and refocus on the ways you want to parent.
You will discover, practice and adopt new perspectives and tools that will allow you to parent consciously and from your CORE — a place that is centered and authentically based on your unique values and beliefs.
COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING
Collaborative Problem Solving is rooted in the belief that children do well when they CAN, not just when they WANT TO. In other words, when our children demonstrate “problematic” behaviors, it is generally because they lack skill, not will.
When we recognize our children are HAVING a hard time rather than GIVING US a hard time, amazing things can happen. When challenging behaviors arise, if we can invite our children into a partnership-based dialogue instead of sending a message that they are in trouble, they often drop their guard. This creates an environment of trust and safety, and gives our children the confidence they need to naturally learn new skills such as frustration tolerance, cognitive flexibility, problem solving and building empathy. Working together, we figure out what is getting in the way of our children’s success and work collaboratively to solve problems.
PARENTING KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
The moment a child enters our lives, our world is forever changed. We begin placing expectations on and visualizing our life with a child long before they even enter the world. When something unexpected happens to our child (before or during birth, or at some point during their childhood), our dreams, visions, and expectations are shattered.
As parents of children with special needs, we carry a chronic sense of responsibility that doesn’t always lessen over time. Whether the special needs are physical, emotional or developmental, we can find ourselves feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Taking care of ourselves as parents is challenging. And when parenting a child with special needs, taking care of ourselves becomes twice as challenging AND twice as important!
We also live in a culture that is fueled by evaluation and standardized tests that often leave families of children with special needs feeling a sense of lack, or not-enoughness. This pressure of continuous “improvement” is a disservice to our children (who should never have been evaluated according to this scale of “success” in the first place).
In my work with families of special needs children, I usher you away from the dominant culture of evaluation so you can embrace your very special children unconditionally, exactly as they are. I can also work with you to address challenges that arise when parenting more than one child, the complexity of sibling relationships, and ways to care for yourself so you can be the parent you need to be for all your children.
SELF CARE + SOUL CARE
With self care, we establish a practice of regularly connecting with our body, mind and soul, replenishing our “internal well”. This gives us the resources to parent more authentically and from our center. Self care can be practiced in a variety of ways, depending where we are in the parenting journey. When there are young children to care for, self care might mean getting away for short periods of time to ground yourself. At other times, we may have the energy to do the things we love, be creative and learn to be more compassionate toward ourselves. Still other times, we may do things that fill our soul with delight (what I call soul care). No matter where you are on your self care journey, you are developing the capacity to thrive, regardless of outer circumstances.
BOUNDARY CLARIFICATION AND SETTING
Most of us never learned to set healthy boundaries. Based on our own childhood experiences with our caregivers, we may associate boundary setting with an authoritarian/hierarchical model of parenting that depends on command and control. And yet we know that effective boundary setting is a critical aspect of our own parenting.
I work with families to help you set clear boundaries from a place of inner knowing that creates enormous opportunities for deeper connection with our children. To prepare for this shift, we must first get clear on what we need (our “non-negotiables”) to stay present, connected and nourished in our relationships with our children. With this clarity, we can hold firm limits in loving ways that are grounded in our inherent sense of worth. This creates safety in our household and empowers our children to explore who they are within a healthy container.
HEALTHY SCREEN TIME HABITS
Almost every home in America with children under the age of eight uses mobile devices, televisions and personal computers. While technology can serve us, over exposure to screens can have a negative impact on the cognitive and emotional development of our kids. It can also delay language development in toddlers and impair social skills. I teach parents to empower your children around screen time decision-making, giving them the autonomy and power to make good decisions for themselves.
For many families, the teenage years are marked by stress and anxiety. As parents, we may struggle when our children--once compliant and sweet--begin to speak up for themselves in new (and surprising) ways. Sometimes overnight, we are knocked off the pedestal in the eyes of our children, who no longer depend on us to meet their every need. This blow can feel like a huge loss.
Because our teenage years feel closer to our own memories than the younger childhood years, we may think we know what is best for our teens. The stakes of parenting may also feel higher during the teenage years because they mark our last chance to exert influence over (aka control) our kids before they face the world on their own.
When we approach this transition from a place of fear, we seek to control our children and limit their choices. Assuming we know what’s best can create disconnection and resentment. In addition, we may miss important opportunities to engage in dialogue with our teenagers about what they need from us, which in turn creates deeper connections.
When we are able to shift our definition of connection (even as our children begin to spend more time in their bedroom, with friends and away from the family unit), we lay the groundwork for a solid relationship with our children during the adult years. By keeping our gaze turned inward, we can also observe the places where we’re still seeking to control our children and identify opportunities to step back in our parenting, which allows us to see our kids challenge themselves, fail, and grow.
I work with parents to create new ways to connect with your teenagers based on self awareness.