APSGO Parenting Blog


The APSGO board is pleased to continue Coaches Corner to introduce and acknowledge our dedicated parent coaches. Our coaches work tirelessly with parents, often after receiving that very same help from their predecessors. If you are a coach, please consider writing to mail@apsgo.ca about your experiences so we can acknowledge you! We can send you a list of prompting questions.

Featuring Andrea M. – Toronto Central Chapter

I began attending parent support group meetings over ten years ago. I had been struggling to deal with my older son’s school avoidance and computer overuse. As many people do, I turned to Dr. Google. One day, I found a reference to a parent support group and called the number provided. My initial call was handled with compassion, understanding, and encouragement. This is what overcame my hesitation in attending my local group.

My first few meetings, I was nervous to say the least. Were my issues as important as what other parents were facing? Did I have anything in common with them? Would I be judged as I was by family and friends? These questions melted away over time. What I had yet to understand was that I was there to change myself, not my loved one or the perceptions of others in my life. What drew me in was the care and support that members gave each other regardless of the problems they faced or how difficult they found it to change their own behaviour.

I never had an ‘aha’ moment. The changes in my relationship with my child were gradual. Reviewing the notes I took every week made me realize the progress I was making. I began to look forward to meetings where I could get input on situations that I didn’t know how to deal with. I couldn’t believe the positive impact they had on my family’s life.

After some time attending group, someone suggested that I become a coach. I am not generally comfortable in a leadership or coaching role. I much prefer being in a support role. Taking notes, sending out notices, making one-on-one support calls are no problem. But being a coach? Not in my comfort zone at all! However, after much encouragement, I agreed to try coaching on a trial basis. It felt strange to be the one asking the questions rather than answering them. I didn’t always feel that I was asking the right things. To do this requires active listening and focusing on the parent that is working.

Similarly to working, coaching takes practice. I feel more comfortable with it now that I have been doing it for a while. I still find challenges with difficult situations that I have not experienced myself. I have to remind myself that it is about the questions for the parent to come up with their own answers and not providing one for them. Parents may not come up with an answer in a particular session. And that’s OK because they can think about the issue during the week until the next meeting. Every parent progresses at their own pace.

Coaching has its rewards. Of course it is an amazing feeling to help other parents learn the concepts and techniques that they can apply to their own lives. When parents first join, they are often at their wits’ end not knowing the path forward. It is satisfying to see how parents begin to change little by little over time. They are amazed at how the relationship with their kid changes over time. Their confidence grows. To think that asking a few questions from week to week can bring about significant change in others’ lives is quite a reward.

The relationship with my ‘APSGO child’ still has its ups and downs. The issues have changed given that we are both 10 years older. However, the down times are less frequent. I am able to draw on the techniques that I have learned through the group to continue working on our relationship.

I continue to coach other parents because I want to help others maintain a relationship with their children as I have.



No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *