When we fall in love we want life to be a bed of roses forever….but what happens when real life takes over and we find ourselves in a bed with four children a frazzled mind, exhausted body and an overwhelmed lover…..and what happens inside of us when we feel the burden of daily life has become an insurmountable struggle?
Mostly we want love, we want to belong and find significance but we also long for excitement and variety. Deep down from an early age we imagine the family dream of happiness, wellbeing and good fortune because we want to make our mark on the world and leave a legacy behind. That dream like a window that shatters easily can fragment when as parents trying to raise a family and maintain a career we find ourselves knee deep in daily grind dealing with the boring and mundane with the needs of little children on our shoulders. For some providing for and meeting the needs of a family makes life demanding with little time for enjoyment. When the dream is shattered or mutated into stressful DIS-EASE the reality is some parents feel trapped. Demanding days and disrupted nights can make exhausted parents fearful because they can feel let down by the dreams short changing and that creates anger and resentment for some struggling parents. Life sometimes seems harsh, it's expensive demanding and draining the children are little deserving and wanting what seems difficult to get and give.
As parents it is not all your fault… (bosses want more of you, governments keeps increasing costs, whilst reducing services to the majority, and children develop problems you never invited)… but it is your responsibility. These circumstances grow in the suburbs as chronic dis-ease that deeply effect some parents. Arguments happen easily and being overloaded the usual response is fight or flight. Under pressure some may want to storm out… rather than find a solution because at times success looks like – everything that seems out of reach – more time to do what you love, getting help with the children, finding more variety and enjoyment every day. You want more help to share the load because basically you need more hands….less demands or a guardian angel and because that is impossible you argue… subconsciously hoping the argument itself will force a change of circumstances or a change of heart. If this is familiar then here is how to work out what you want the argument to change. In general most people want more of what makes them feel good. They want more connection, more belonging, and more recognition but generally need more co-operation to find their personal success strategies.
I have said before that family life is not for the faint hearted no one plans it to be a struggle yet sometimes it just turns out that way. When you are putting all your energy into raising a family, running a home and putting food on the table ideas like finding enthusiasm, growing love or being creative seem to fly out the window.
Day to day life filled with the boring and the mundane duties of life can feel very uncomfortable some of us we will tolerate this as if on a plateau until the universe changes our circumstances or until our children become more independent and don't need our constant attention any more. These are the people we watch and wait and expect life to fix itself.
Some will seem to drown in the sea of demand.
Others will force a change….knowing they must find a better way of life. For some that happens with deliberate choice, insight and strategy, this means their family stress having become intolerable leads them to find solutions because they believe they must do things differently to get better outcomes.
And some wait until the pain being intolerable explodes like a volcano spitting out needs, wants and demands. The fallout resulting from a family irruption often leads to argument? Arguments of course can be the beginning of the end of a family but what if they could be the catalyst of new beginnings?
What if disagreement with your partner could raise you up to become the next best version of yourself? This may seem crazy because elevation is not what many couples see feel or experience after conflict. The outcome could be different though if we allowed the argument to become our teacher.
For most of us moving forward with a positive outcome very rarely happens after an argument mostly because feelings get in the way of logical thought and because either during or after an argument many couples focus on proving who is right, wanting control or punishing their partner, wanting revenge or retribution rather than finding a solution to the problem.
Just think about a recent spat with your partner …how likely was the situation to lead to anything positive? What did you say to each other and how did you say it? What did you look like how was your expression, your body language how was the volume the tone of your voice and what was going on physically inside of you?
Arguments trigger the flight or fight response, some people fight to win and other retreat or leave to escape the pain of it. Do you think that people argue differently some want to win to prove a point, or to gain power over their partner others want to step down to keep the piece and give in without resolution.
I have found that arguments do not leave me feeling good and others would agree that arguing is awful. Sometimes our Initial response may be to avoid discomfort however must arguments arise out of something that is challenging or disrupting us. What if the challenge or disruptor became our teacher?
Sometimes when faced with a problem it is true we do not know the answer we may be stuck in a rut or remain secure within and old comfort zone that is where we repeat the old destructive patterns over and over again. Only when we stretch ourselves beyond the edge of our current comfort zone – do we find new possibilities this means that discomfort may be our teacher because when we get to feel very uncomfortable we want to return to certainty and that may force us to look outside our current comfort zone for new possibilities.
Here is how to create productive options.
If you want something different from what you have had before – change always starts with you because no matter how much you push your views you simply cannot change someone else. You always have the internal capacity to change your mindset and to change your own actions. You have all the resources within you or you have the power to seek new resources outside of yourself.
You must be prepared to take personal responsibility for the situation you find yourself in. If you push, blame or control anyone else they will push back and you will inevitably remain in the same stuck position.
You cannot control someone else and trying to manipulate control or direct others can be futile and exhausting all you can control is you.
Yes you can run…..or you can stay and fight. Fight or flight is the way most people progress through an argument but hold on a minute….
Reflect rather than react. Ask yourself how an argument is informing you…. If there is no such thing as failure…. What can you learn from this to shift your perspective? What is the feedback you are getting about your situation, your emotional state, your needs and the resources?
Rather than wasting energy arguing be prepared to discover what will take you to the next best version of yourselves. Here are some questions each of you can answer.
What is the real problem? How is it a problem for each of you?
How is this issue conflictual?
What am I defending?
How am I escalating the conflict?
Am I blocking a resolution, manipulating to gain control or is my behaviour or another problem adding to the complexity of the original issue?
Am I taking responsibility for what I bring to the problem or am I more focused on blaming someone else for what I am feeling? (When we externalise blame for our situation we give away our opportunity to make it different)
Am I above or below the line in this discussion? Look at the map below carefully. If how you are behaving is above the line that means you are acting responsibly to create solutions however if your behaviour is below the line you are adding fuel to fire. Escalating conflict or drama and behaving irresponsibly.
Typically when we argue we block ourselves from consciously 'seeing" our own behaviour and we focus on everything we dislike about the other persons behaviour. This may happen at a subconscious level use the table to 'see" where your responses typically lie.
If you are serious about creating new options decide what needs change about yourself. Instead of saying 'I can't" say 'I can" instead of believing 'impossible say I AM POSSIBLE"
You get what you focus on and what you focus on will always expand. So ask yourself what are you currently focusing on and is that focus preventing you seeing all the parts of the situation? If you could see what was hidden in plain sight what would you be looking at?
If you could see what you are refusing to look at how could you change what new options would you enable?
How many people are represented in your argument? Are you really hearing the issue, the other person's view, are you seeing, hearing and feeling the impact on your children or are you only hearing yourself defending your point of view? What would you hear if you were really listening? How are your feelings adding or reducing conflict – what is making you feel angry, what is hard about this and is the solution something you control – To understand that ask yourself 'who's issue is" this and when you propose a solution ask yourself 'whose solution is this?"
To get closer to a mutually agreeable solution find a time when you can ditch drama, refuse sarcasm and focus together to move excavate the next best version of your life for your family. Any solution must be good for you, good for your partner, good for your children, and good for your community as a whole and considered ethically fair.
Environment – What is happening around you – time, people involved, space and place
What's Your Behaviour – What are you currently doing? What are your thoughts as well as your actions?
What are your beliefs and values about the issues?
What Capabilities are needed here? What behaviour, skills, attitudes, habits are needed here?
Your Identity – how do you currently see yourself? What's your mission in life? Who must you be what must you do to have the results you want?
What about connection? How do you see yourself ethically or spiritually? What does this mean in your relationship as a family?
Perusing these questions and answers will often clarify the position you are taking in the argument and they can inform you whether or not your behaviour is above or below the line. Behaviour that is below the line will show you how the manner in which problems are discussed may need to change so that you and your partner can find a wholesome solution, because when you have that the solution will last over time so you never have to deal with this uncomfortable problem again that means you seek a solution that is fair and not driven by only one parties agenda but agreed through mutual respect and co-operation and that makes both of you more committed to the outcome and likely to follow through to develop the agreed solution.
When you have completed this exercise be certain to celebrate what the argument has taught you.
Serving you with passion as I recognise the struggle and because children are important and parents matter too.
Question: Can you talk us through your main motivation to publish this article?
Rosie Bell: It is a great privilege to work with parents and I have never met a parent who does not want the best for their family, however I have met those who do not know how to achieve that. I was recently asked to work with a couple who were committed parents. Together they had produced beautiful children. Their children and home were well presented, both parents were involved in the daily care of the children and they both worked. I had no doubt they were committed to the wellbeing of their family, however I could see that their intentions were eroded by the intensity of their demanding circumstances. Both mum and dad were seriously stressed, overly stretched, exhausted and angry that they could not cope with the demands on their plate. They felt that life had backed them into a corner with shattered dreams. It seemed that their accumulative stress had mutated to resentment and anger because each partner expected the other to rescue them from the predicament they faced.
They were stuck trapped in a 'stalemate" which I have observed many times and which appears to be commonly spreading as couples struggle under the combined stress of modern family life, the need to pay the creditor and maintain stability at home. Feeling stuck both parties refused to move from their individual perspective and argument was rife. The father exhausted and tearful was at the end of his wits, the mother felt she deserved more than their current situation and she demanded he make all the changes which may have provided short term relief to her but not a sustainable change nor long term solution. The argument quickly deteriorated with both parties refusing to shift and determined to win their point at all costs. Each wanted to prove themselves right regardless of the probable consequences, the overall long term impact for the children and the cost to their relationship. I observed the adults behaviour rapidly deteriorate, become manipulative, sarcastic and included threats from both parties to walk out!
They were long past the point of rational thinking! These normally hard working responsible parents could not find a mutually agreeable way through their debilitating overwhelm, exhaustion and lack of resources. Their dis-ease with the current state of day to day life had mutated into argument to either force a change or a way out.
I had to bring them back to their bigger picture, shift them from hostile specifics, take them back to their roots to focus on their values, core needs and the outcomes they wanted for their family. I wanted to provide some success principles and a map to guide personal behaviour to prevent further harm, create awareness and a way through the tension towards problem solving for the good of the whole family.
This couples issues and dilemma's triggered by the same pressures many families feel had grown to painful pressure points over time. I recognised that other couples especially those with young children, financial strain and low levels of support could benefit from the coaching model I used so I wrote this article to provide strategies to turn things around and to prevent the risk of families 'imploding on themselves."
Question: What is chronic dis-ease?
Rosie Bell: I can only give you my personal definition of this term. The word chronic refers to unrelieved, problems protracted over time forming habitual complexities not likely to be lessened with band aid treatment. In this article I have used the word dis-ease to name a painful but non-specific dis-order, causing anxiety, discontent and lethargy over time. Even more than that it is a syndrome where tensions grow to erode normal potential and possibility.
You will find it in communities, where people are feeling uncertain, they may have lost their way or maybe their dreams of the 'good life" have been shattered. It is not restricted by class or socio economic status. Like Ebola or any other spreading disease it is driven almost on auto pilot and is influenced by external circumstances which shift us unwittingly away from our core values – leaving us feeling out of control of our own circumstances not knowing where to direct our lives. When affected by the dis-ease we live by day to day survival rather than through deliberate purpose or with passion to achieve our goals. Loss of personal accountability can set in when we give ourselves over to the condition expecting something outside of ourselves to solve our problems. It is a lasting deteriorating conditions only treatable with a change of mindset, passion for finding oneself and strategies to resume personal responsibility for our own outcomes.
Question: What are your top tips for families with these struggles?
Rosie Bell: When faced with these dilemma's change what is not working!
1. Recognise that you are no longer a caveman and unless you are in direct danger you no longer need to fight to gain control nor do you have to run to save your life! You must adapt the opposite approach that is to let go of the desire to control. Ultimately you will save the situation by seeking a mutual agreement, respect and shared co-operation.
2. Decide not to escalate the situation and refuse to buy into drama – either your own or someone else's. You will always get what you focus on and what you focus on will expand so focus where the solution lies. Remember you may need to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone to create or find new possibilities.
3. Imagine you can 'step outside of the argument or your dis-ease" – Try to really observe your situation from a distance. Imagine you can look in as if you were looking through the window or from a place above looking down. Then ask yourself what do you see that is destructive, what do you hear that is harmful for your family and which feelings are dangerous to your wellbeing or relationship? This exercise will help you clarify your current situation.
4. An argument will always be about a violation of something important to you. Usually something that does not fit into a wheel barrow – something like love, pride, boredom, jealousy, anxiety, safety or security. Identify the bigger issue.
5. Refuse to isolate yourself and reach out for support from friends, family or a person who specialising in supporting families. Be brave in getting help from a professional if you need to because remember the saying a 'stitch in time saves nine well it is similar with relationships, issues left to simmer cause the greatest divide. The professional required could be a coach, a mentor, a doctor, a financial counsellor or a child development expert or a Community Serve agency.
6. Ask yourself to clearly identify your current situation, what is the trigger for your argument. Create a very clear account of your true situation and circumstances. Then working from a time that has not happened yet say in 3 months time….. what would your ideal situation be like if the argument was resolved? What is the difference between where you are now and where you want to be? What steps must you take to close the gap. These could be the tasks you must do, the way you must think or behave and any changes that will resolve the problem. Who has done this before what role models do you have? What resources do you need to achieve the outcome you want and then who specifically must you be, what must you do to have the result you want. The solution comes in taking 100% responsibility for your own behaviour and your outcome, because you can never change someone else's behaviour.
7. Come back to what truly matters to you. Invest time in your relationship and talk about your life's wants and needs often and make plans together as a couple. Define your values – the things that you want most in life, ask your partner to do the same remembering there is no wrong or right way here. Once you have clarified your own values agree as a couple on your top 3-5 family values. Use your values to make the best decisions you can for your family. Always do what is ecological that is good for you as a person, good for each other, good for your kids and good in the eyes of the community.
Question: What advice would you give a couple looking to start a family?
Rosie Bell: Firstly be strong in who you are as an individual. If you are not sure about who you are coaching will increase your self-concept and personal awareness. Be excited about the adventure ahead because you always have the resources within you to solve life's dilemmas or you can find the resources you need elsewhere!
Starting a family is such a wonderful thing and it is probably life's greatest joy but it does not come without challenges because babies change our lives, they are dependant on us, come without a manual and they stay for the long haul which means somewhere along the line you must take charge of your own life and your circumstances to pave the way for another life evolving positively from you and your partner.
One thing I feel very strongly about is that all parents and especially new parents always have a right to reach out for the help they need – we should value that as a society because Parents are busy creating all of our future! This is because the future of children is vitally important to the future of all of us. Having said that I don't believe there is such a thing as a perfect parent, we will all make 'mistakes" and it is perfectly ok to be a good enough parent.
I try not to give advice directly but what I do is help families to identify what is important to them in raising their children and to agree on HOW to do that then I help them to understand and articulate their family values, their children's needs and parenting strategies to build a family system to achieve what they want. This means that they build a family framework that evolves as the family grows but that is always unique to what they believe and also what is generally good for children and parents. This exercise is such a benefit to new parents because they are often drowning in too much parenting information much of which is based on someone else's beliefs, ideology and circumstances.
To do this I ask parents to start by deeply exploring how they were parented, because we learn to parent by being parented before the age of 7 years old! Since most couples are raised in different households by different parents most of their disagreements about parenting originate subtly and subconsciously from differences in their own childhood experience, culture or attitudes towards children. I ask each parent to tell their story and unpack their beliefs and values about raising children which includes parenting strategies, guiding behaviour, communicating and provision in a home for children and parents to live together. This is not a debate about who is right or wrong or whose parents did what it is a narrative exploration in understanding your partner's perspective. I always encourage people to have great respect for the previous generations parenting methods because these have influenced us 100% about what we do want or what we don't want for our own children.
Then I get parents to decide what they definitely want for their own children in detail. This gives them the opportunity to develop a parenting framework which evolves and of course changes shape as children grow up but it pretty much sets the scene for deliberate and positive parenting. They do not have to totally agree - diversity is a good thing however it is important parents are basically on the same page so I ask them to identify 30% of their parenting perspectives that they totally agree on. Research shows this provides enough solidarity for -good enough parenting.' Certain issues are more important than others and methods of managing behaviour and communicating with children are normally high on the list of importance. Sometimes this exercise takes a while because it raises sensitive issues for parents they never even knew they had. The most intensive emotions and disagreements for couples often involve their children because we are protective and very sensitive about our kids, our home life and our family. Doing this not only gives parents clarity about what they do want they also very clearly determine what they don't want for their kids and their family life.
Sometimes I suggest new parents develop a vision board for their family, create affirmations and goals and these can be written or presented as a family mission statement which they can use as a working document. It will allow them later on to decide who does what in parenting, how to allocate resources, how to educate, communicate and involve children in life and it becomes the basis for family rules, teaching values and important aspects of culture. When complexities arise parents decisions are guided by their parenting framework and the systems they set up for family living.
I encourage parents to talk often and frequently about their family needs especially their emotional needs and issues which include their children. This helps parents stay in touch keep tabs on what is going on and of course problem solve in a healthy way as issues arise. This could take the form of a weekly think tank - sit down with a glass of wine and a chat if you like or like my husband and I take a long leisurely bath together and talk stuff over! This of course is not to be confused with setting quality time aside as a couple because that is another critically essential point in a healthy relationship.
Many parents change their relationship once children arrive and somehow seem to unconsciously push their partner to the edge while they deal with family demands. I believe your adult relationship is your number one asset in your family and one of the most important things you can do for your children is to love their other parent! I have written a great deal about this on my website.
I tell new parents to set up emotional and practical support for themselves, this means seeking out friends, family general services and professional ones that add to your parenting knowledge and your family strengths. Always remember there are so many public services to reach out to for practical help with things like breastfeeding, feeding infants, dealing with tantrums and sleep, bullying and the teen years. I tell parents – 'make use of these services because you never need become isolated and alone."
I am passionate about helping parents discover the importance of attachment and relationship to your child's success in life and so I help parents make attachment a priority for their children. Love goes a long way in families and it is as important as the air we breathe so enjoy the journey.
Become informed about child development, stay open to new research and changing trends but don't allow yourself to become swamped or over whelmed by other people's ideas which will dilute your own. I have found that when parents abdicate from their role it is often because they have felt overwhelmed and uncertain about what is required of them as a parent.
This may sound like very structured advice but really it is only a structured exercise that gives parents freedom to raise their children their way being confident that the decisions they make are supported by their partner and stand up to what we know is generally good for children. The main concept is for new parents to become confident and to enjoy the journey feeling empowered and capable to raise happy resilient children with as much certainty as possible.
Question: When a couple starts arguing what is the one thing we should remember?
Rosie Bell: ONE thing is difficult to say because we are all individuals and no fix fits all however I think this one thing is of the greatest importance. Listen to gain understanding rather than wanting to prove you are right and be open to change that makes life easier or better.
If you always do the same thing you will always get the same result remember that an argument is usually a silent cry for help and change. Change can start with you and each of you is responsible for your own behaviour. Think of an argument as a signal to STEP UP to the next best level of yourself.
Let the words 'Do No Harm" become your mantra during difficult times.
Question: What is See The Light Transformations?
Rosie Bell: Oh this is my baby! See The Light Personal and Business Transformation is a Parenting and Personal consulting service to provide coaching, training and mentoring to parents and to businesses who work with families and children. It is called 'See The Light" because when parents find solutions they generally say ' oh wow now I feel much better now the weight has lifted… now I can see the light!"
Do you know how difficult it is to maintain a career, raise happy responsible children and keep a relationship buzzing? Well mostly I coach frustrated, conflicted and crazy busy working parents and busy couples to raise happy children and maintain a secure easy flowing family life. Typically these parents want to commit to a career guilt free and with piece of mind knowing that the children are getting what they need and also that their adult relationship will last longer than raising the children! Relationship coaching is as big for us as parent coaching.
I approach this in a unique way not addressed by other parenting programs because in addition to helping parents gain clarity I assist with the everyday problem solving required in families and I provide a positive mindset and success strategies for busy Parents who can have as little as one session or they can choose from different programs or tailor made packages to suit their individual circumstances. I fit in with working parents by using Skype, face to face coaching or by telephone coaching to make coaching available to parents from the comfort of their own coach. Additionally we offer support through Parenting 'MindWorks" Program Facebook page and through the Facebook Working Parents Support Group. We find ways to provide real value to committed parents who seek out support for themselves. I called the program 'MindWorks" because every thought, every action and attitude we have about parenting first started in the mind.
When adults love their career it gives them satisfaction in another area of life, but secretly many worry that they may be compromising their family. Do you know how frantic family life can get, parents find themselves crazy busy overstretched it's exhausting and overwhelming right? Sometimes parents are not there when their children need them and things at home get compromised. When parents are stressed you can bet children are too! The dream of a wonderful family lifestyle can so quickly dissolves into chaos and pandemonium. Sometimes even the partner has to take their turn and fit into the busy schedule. So what I do is help these high achievers escape this painful squeeze between career, family and relationship. I have been called 'the working parent's best kept secret."
There is a better way family life flows because we make it easier with routines and parenting strategies that decrease pressure in every area of family life. We want to support parents to understand each child's needs, personality and temperament. Like a jigsaw we put all the pieces in the puzzle so busy parents cope better with daily demands and that means they can work, successfully without worrying about the impact of work on their children and they can raise a happy family, manage a home and enjoy each other without worrying about the impact of family life on their career.
The real bonus is that parents save time, save distress, and worry less about their children. They multiply their co-operation and improve their adult relationship which boosts their energy. Generally they replace conflict with communication, chaos with harmony, stress with strategy, they reduce reaction with purposeful planning all of which provides clarity, direction and an easier more organised pace of family life. Families get a family lifestyle! Parents and children become more relaxed, more optimistic and they gain a better quality of daily life. When they have this they can laugh more, love often, and enjoy their relationships and achievements. Parents have better connection, they can work knowing their children are more secure and confident and that as parents they are growing future responsible adults. High achievers work because they love it, they feel confident to provide financial freedom to create a secure family because children are important and parents matter too! It's a win-win solution and I feel very privileged to be a part of this journey.
Question: What inspired you to start See The Light Transformations?
Rosie Bell: I have worked with families for many years including nearly eight years with the State Government through an Intensive Home Visiting Program.
What I saw many times was that committed parents were denied the help they wanted because they failed to fit certain program guidelines very often it was their income that prohibited their access to non-universal areas of family support. This frustrated me because I strongly believe that if parents reach out they want to change something and should get the help they need to reach their families best potential. Secondly I observed an ideology, particularly in Perth that when a child was identified as needing help the emphasis was often on 'fixing the child." I wanted to help the family from the inside out so that they could bring every aspect of their life into the jigsaw for healing and realignment. I found that when life was hard for children parents often felt life was hard for them too and the solutions became even more complex and personal. I already had qualifications in Child Development, basic counselling, and Social Science and decided to add Neuro Linguistic Programming and coaching to be able to offer mindset coaching for parents. Looking at the whole of life complexities I discovered that many working parents felt stressed, and conflicted between the needs of their work and their family. I wanted to help guilt ridden parents recognise the benefits of work and the positive role models they provided their children while assisting them to create a great lifestyle for their children and long term happiness and security without compromising their own adult relationships. So there you have it – that's how See The Light Started.
Question: Who would you recommend begin Parent Coaching?
Rosie Bell: In an ideal world it would be great for all new parents to receive parent coaching to explore and establish their personal parenting beliefs and values so that they can build a parenting framework based on what they believe is important for their family. I say ideally because new parents are busy considering the issues of pregnancy, birth planning and infant care. The differences in values only tends to become obviously apparent once parents are actively involved and responding to a child's needs. I do love to work with new parents particularly in supporting attachment and dismissing the ghosts of the past that impact on their new role.
How wonderful it would be to start parent coaching to young adults in high school to help them clarify their beliefs and values and to develop success principles for life prior to entering into serious relationships. I think that would be so beneficial to every part of community.
In reality parents come to coaching when they decide to put their hands up to resolve family issues. I would always talk to parents to decide if coaching is the best option for their needs. Working parents seek coaching during times of stress either caused by work impacting on the family or when the pain of stretching themselves or worry about their children is greater than the pain of staying the same.
Some parents seek coaching when they are experiencing relationship issues that prohibit the family from functioning positively. Others because they recognise stress in their children or maybe a child has been identified as having social or emotional problems outside of the family.
I have worked with business men who recognise that the demands of their work have escalated and they want to seek ways to create more meaningful relationships with their children but maybe they don't know how to connect with them.
Diverse and Multicultural families are sometimes more prone to values differences in parenting so it is a great benefit for them to build a consolidated mutual agreement about what is important as the family moves forward together creating the next generation with a blended culture, respect and shared co-operation.
When parents have come from homes that had strictly defined roles for mum dad they may find modern family life demands more flexible approaches. These parents do well with coaching that allows them to adopt new models for their own family.
I have provided support to single parents and those separated from their child's other parent. These parents come to coaching because they feel a huge responsibility. Even when doing a great job they seek out certainty wanting reassurance and an objective sounding board.
On the other side of the fence I have worked with organisations who provide parenting services to the community to align their parenting values and beliefs with what actually happens for staff working with parents and children.
Question: What's involved in a coaching session?
Rosie Bell: Parents usually come to a single session seeking clarity on a certain issue or they come feeling unhappy and uncertain about what the real issue is others come with a definite problem they want to resolve and some are working through the steps of a program they have chosen.
We will firstly chat and get to know each other briefly before deciding how the client would like to be coached. Some people want deep exploration, others want mentoring and some want a combination of training and coaching which is more about consultancy. Children are not present but I can work with one or both of the parents. A session normally lasts 90 minutes to 2 hours.
After building a rapport with the parent we would explore their issues and the meaning it has in their life. It is critical to gain an understanding of what is going on in their thinking, relationships and daily circumstances and how the issue is creating problems. The story is not as important as the mental strategies, limiting beliefs or values clashes playing out. My role would be to listen to the client and provide feedback to help them create deep awareness of their issues. I would want them to establish a goal for the session so that we can get very specific about how their issue is problematic and what they can do to create change. I use a range of coaching models and some Neuro Linguistic Programing but basically we identify where the family is at compared with where they want to be. With this in mind we can explore what gets in the way of achieving their goal. That could include their mindset, limiting beliefs or self-sabotaging behaviours. We work to excavate their motivation for certain behavioural patterns working out what drives them towards their goal or what would drive them away from achieving it. We establish what is missing, what needs to stay the same and what needs to be different. Then when we have thoroughly clarified the issue (which very often turns out to be a deeper issue or a different issue to the one the client actually thought they had) we will begin to extract and explore the client's reality to understand the meaning of this in their life and their families. During the discussion I will ask many questions which allows the client to gain deep insight into their situation. We would explore the purpose of their current behaviours and perhaps the cost of staying the same. We would clearly determine their outcome then we would create options and strategies for achieving the result they want. With this we determine a way forward starting with the desired end in mind and working backwards to understand how we can close the gap between where the clients is now and where they want to be. I will help them set up strategies to achieve their goals and to be able to clearly recognise when they have achieved them and how they can sustain the changes they create.
Typically some of the strategies would include a combination of using new ways of thinking plus practical suggestions to improve the quality of life and to strengthen the family. Some of my programs like Rock Solid Parenting and Frustrated Parents BootCamp require parents to work through various exercises in addition to their coaching session to achieve the result they want. For example we could be working on communication patterns, establishing routines and rituals and deciding on a set of family boundaries or strategies to manage children's behaviour.
Sessions vary and are based on what families need to achieve the goals they set up to achieve the next best version of themselves. Many clients leave with a breakthrough that changes their lives.
Interview by Brooke Hunter