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Thinking back to my intermediate school days, I was a part of a small friend collective of approximately 4 or 5 tween girls. Our school wasn't a neighborhood school, so we each also had our own friends outside of school. Navigating this uncommon set of circumstances seemed to create an accepting group of friends, open to mixing and mingling with other classmates and friends without feelings of exclusion. Honestly, it's a delicate situation when it comes to the relationships between kids and friends. Friendships are an important part of healthy child development. Some parents observe that the ability to reach out, connect, and make friends comes quite easily and naturally for their kids. There are also kids finding themselves struggling to be able to work their way into positive friendships. As a parent, it's difficult to stand by and watch our kids struggle through situations. Our role becomes similar to the role of a coach observing from the sidelines, taking notes on a player's progress. Here's the "coach approach" parents need to help kids win at the friends game.
Thank you to Caroline Maguire, PCC, M.Ed and her promotional team for the courtesy of providing gratuitous product for editorial content purposes. This content may contain affiliate links.
The Coach Approach Parents Need to Help Kids Win the Friends Game
Why coach? Let's explore the role of parents as coaches, helping to assist kids rather than a more hands-on approach. Providing valuable insight, renowned parent expert, Caroline Maguire, author of Why Will No One Play with Me? The Play Better Plan To Help Children Of All Ages Thrive, offers a groundbreaking program. Explaining the value in coaching, Maguire states, "Coaching is the process of teaching, guiding, showing, and practicing skills with your child." Reducing the need to micromanage the highs and lows of childhood, equipping our kids to better navigate life's situations.
I'm a parent and I understand how as parents, we sincerely desire all of the best for our children. There are times when we as parents will do our most effective parenting from the sidelines. Taking on the responsibility of providing kids with resources and support to level up in confidence, while making friends and improving social skills is one of the best decisions we can make for our children. According to Maguire, "coaching helps prepare them with the basic skills they need to meet whatever comes their way, notably learning how to see their challenges clearly, strategizing and setting goals, picking themselves up after a failure, and problem-solving so they can stay on their feet the next time."
How can parents successfully coach their children? I'm excited to learn how I can best parent my kids as a coach. In addition to allowing kids to grow developmentally and socially, parents will also gain essential information about their children and themselves. Offering parents an easy-to-follow guide Why Will No One Play With Me?, features 8 principles to put into practice as a social skills coach for your child-
1- Ask, don’t tell. Ask questions with genuine, respectful curiosity to find out what’s going on for your child.
2- Listen and learn. Welcome what your child has to say. Be calm, listen and make him comfortable.
3- Keep your cool. Your calm coaching response will allow you a little emotional distance, which goes a long way in finding a helpful middle ground to problem-solve with your child.
4- Hold the metacognitive mirror up. Help your child take a bird’s eye view of the situation and reflect on his role.
5- Honor your child’s aha. Whatever the realization, allow your child to have his own perspective and realizations in the process of growing awareness, reflection, goal-setting and problem-solving.
6- Prep first, then pave the way. Prepare the ground for sensitive conversations by sharing stories from work and elsewhere about how people do what they can for themselves, but sometimes they need to ask for help.
7- Meet them where they are. Better that you recognize your child’s capabilities at the present time and work with what’s real. That helps you both focus on goals and plans that are realistic.
8- Be a cheerleader. Celebrate positive steps, small wins, or your child’s aha and you will keep the momentum going.
Caroline Maguire, ACCG, PCC, M.Ed. is a personal coach who works with children with ADHD and the families who support them. Caroline earned her ACCG from the ADD Coach Academy and her PCC from the International Coach Federation (ICF). She also received a Master of Education from Lesley University. Her revolutionary coaching program and methodology helps teach executive function skills to children, teenagers, and young adults. She is a former coach for the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, MA. While with the Hallowell Center, Caroline was the main coach for children and teenagers. Caroline consults with schools and families internationally and has been co-leading social skills groups for over a decade.
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