Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jewellery Moms and Parenting Coach

I work full time in designing sterling silver jewellery components, and making jewellery. I also have 2 small children. Although I have a nanny to help care for my sometimes sweet, but often challenging, children, I know I need more reinforcement. I use a Parenting Coach and I highly recommend this support service to every parent, working or staying at home. Unlike a life coach or therapist, a Parenting Coach specializes in giving advice to parents on parenting and helping parents understand the family dynamics that are taking place around them.

Before my first child was born, I read What To Expect When You Are Expecting. And after she was born, and I had a glimpse of her strong characteristics, I read Raise Your Kids Without Raising Your Voice by Sarah Radcliffe, and Giving Your Child The Gift Of Inner Discipline by Barbara Coloroso, and many other books on child rearing that I could find at the local and airport bookstores. They are all very good books, with a few novel tips from each, particularly Parent Talk by Shapiro and Skinulis. However, neither books nor parenting magazine articles were able to address some of the more specific obstacles that I had with my child's behaviour. This is inherently true of all such media, they must be fairly general and cannot take into consideration of one's specific circumstances. I have yet to read any article about a mom who has to put sterling silver jewellery components way up high, after she's finished designing late at night so that her 2 year old won't eat it for breakfast, at their condo that is not much bigger than a walk-in closet, and the mom has to travel to jewellery trade shows. If you have read such an article, please send it to me so that I can compare notes.

By fate, I bumped into a long time customer of my jewellery business, Patricia Lee. I've been raising money for charity for many years and twice a year we're open to the public for a few days where the proceeds of the sale are donated. At each event Patricia and I would chat about children, and it all started with my comment that her children are unusually well behaved and polite. We see many at our events and often I think mothers shouldn't bring their children. They are bored and displays get knocked. Sometimes they'd pull things apart because they like the shiny sterling silver jewellery components . It's just not fun for them, or at least it shouldn't be. I was not yet pregnant with my first child but I was curious about hers and they inspired me to think that it is possible to have wonderful and well behaved children of my own one day. She would always have great advice and clear insight. I never asked her what she did for a living and just assumed she was an accountant because of her thick glasses and tidy appearance. I assumed she was just a skilled mom , and there are many far better than me at the job. Last year by a chance meeting, I found out that she is a professional life and Parenting Coach and happened to be meeting a client in my area.

The time was ripe and our meeting was serendipitous. My husband and I were struggling with a bunch of behavioural problems with my older child and more disturbingly, a serious problem with one of her friends for which we were at a loss for a solution. I'll tell you about the problems and her advice another time. I became a client of hers. I already knew that her advice and views would resonate with me. I also like the fact that we could choose to work over the phone, and this convenience factor is very important to me. Parenting Coach fees are similar to those of any therapist, but she does give preferred rates based on what the parents can afford, and she often works pro bono and has volunteered working with native families on reserves. I received a preferred rate of $85 per 45 minute session. She said it's because we're friends, but I think secretly she knows I don't make much money from selling sterling silver jewellery components because the margins on silver is so low.

Our Parenting Coach session began with a series of broad ranging questions, including what do I hope to gain from our sessions, and what do I hope to see in my children. This was followed with more specific questions to help her fill the picture. And very quickly I was able to start addressing some concerns I had. Her advice have always been very specific and practical, and thus far has really helped us improve our communication with our daughters, helped give them age appropriate tools with which to express and channel their emotions. It has also given us insight into our own expectations as parents and has allowed us to adjust them appropriately. More importantly for me, her advice has helped me better cope with busy parenting and allow time for designing sterling silver jewellery components, and be a cheerleader for my husband.

I have since shared the lessons learned from my sessions with our child's kindergarten teacher, whose teaching skills and passion for teaching I also greatly respect. She is very keen on other parents also receiving this service and has expressed this to the school's principal. We plan on creating group sessions for parents who cannot afford the time or expense of private sessions or who just want to sample some of the advice.

I greatly advise Parenting Coach services to all parents. Like athletes, many parents can be great and naturally talented, but a coach can help take you to a higher level and allow you to perform far better than you would otherwise with just effort and practice. I am a talented jewellery components designer, as are many of our Stones And Findings customers are talented jewellery designers, but parenting requires much more time, effort and clarity for a great job to be done. Unlike a gold medal, the reward of well adjusted children who go on to be productive members of society keeps giving back. It is worth so much more and is never ending.

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