Many parents and professionals working with children will look for theories, tools, techniques, insight and information to help them support the development of children and young people. This support will hopefully enable the children to reach their full potential and learn how to establish long-term relationships and build towards a more independent future.
However, this style of positive parenting is a relatively recent approach and considers parents and guardians to be co-therapists in resolving any difficulties with their children or within the home. It offers them the possibility of becoming agents of change and understanding for themselves and the wider family. It also allows them to regain confidence in their parenting skills and abilities.
But children do not come with a step-by-step guide or manual, so the growth of parental coaching shows the importance parents are giving to better understand how to build their family and support an education system that best suits their hopes and parenting goals.
Coaching to help find a solution
We know adolescence can be a driving force of change and result in a turbulent time for a young person, but also for the people around them. Confronted with their changing child, many parents can feel lost or disoriented. Many will recognize this can be a difficult time, and want to fully support their child and family through this process, but may fear they will overlook an underlying problem. This may also drive them to seek guidance from a coach or therapist.
If approached by a parent or guardian looking for support to develop positive parenting techniques, it is important to first clarify if the focus of the coaching will be towards the young person or the parent. Parents and guardians can often seek professional help for themselves if they are questioning their parenting style or if they are starting to experience conflict within the home.
In 1958, the British Psychologist John Bowlby first formulated an attachment theory that explores separation anxiety and the distress children experience when separated from their primary caregiver or attachment figure.
Within this attachment theory, infant behavior is primarily associated with seeking proximity to an attachment figure in stressful situations. Infants will normally become attached to adults who within social interactions, they feel are being sensitive or responsive to them, and are seen as consistent caregivers from the first six months to two years of age. However, positive parenting can help during the latter part of this period, as children begin to use the attachment figures as a secure base, they can safely go off and explore from and then return to.
The long-term development of a child’s attachment is essential to the human species, as humans, like other primates, are born vulnerable and remain so for many years. The attachment figure functions as a safe haven, a source of comfort and protection in the face of environmental threats.
Attachment and behavioral disorders
Attachment disorder has been linked to children who experience stress due to the behavior of their parents or primary caregiver. This can be where the child has an unresolvable internal conflict because the parent or guardian generates feelings of fear or apprehension.
The source of their appeasement is now also their source of fear, so the child is unable to simultaneously seek out and flee their attachment figure. A secure attachment to the parent does not guarantee well-being, but it does increase their resistance to stress and promotes resilience.
The need for emotional security
The attachment theory highlights the human need for physical contact and emotional security in childhood. Considering how universally this need is and its implications for survival, it is not surprising that children naturally become attached to those who care for them.
Children build different attachment relationships with the range of different caregivers or attachment figures they interact with, and the quality of each relationship depends on the quality of the interaction and care they feel they receive.
Socio-emotional support by parents or guardians has an impact on attachment relationships at a range of different levels:
- It facilitates the expression of the parents’ sensitivity
- Provides alternative relationships for children at-risk
- Moderates temperaments in difficult children
In the case of a sick child or during painful medical procedures, the theory shows how the presence of support from the primary figures in their life, can enable young children to fight and better recover from trauma and stress. Therefore, it is important to remember that intervention or support is never unnecessary and never too late.
If you would like to support parents and guardians improve communication and understanding within the family home, check out our new ebook in the online shop:
- Coaching Parents and Guardians – Learn how coaching can help parents and guardians understand the changing dynamics within the home and find solutions that support children and young people.
We have published a full range of resources specifically aimed at supporting you as a professional coach, so please check our on-line shop and look at the full range of games, ebooks and kits. Or read some of the other blog posts written by our team of international coaches.
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