The New Discipline Rules: Advice from Parent Coaches

How to Choose a Coach

Think a parent coach might be right for you? Then follow this advice: Do your homework before you pick one. While some coaches have advanced degrees in child development, social work, or psychology, others have no formal training whatsoever.

1. Check out a coach's credentials. Ask if she's certified through a graduate training program, such as the Parent Coaching Institute, in Bellevue, Washington. At the least, find someone who has worked with families for a minimum of two years.

2. Comparison shop. Ask several candidates the same question (such as, "How would you handle a 3-year-old who won't sleep through the night?"). Then pick the coach who's on the same wavelength as you.

3. Get references. Don't trust Web site testimonials. Call at least two past clients to find out how helpful the coach really was.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the June 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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