As you probably know, I’ve been coaching children for 8 years now, and I’ve helped literally hundreds of them to feel gorgeous from the inside out. Whether that is with my You Tube Channel, my Smiley Thought Cards, (here’s one to your right), my creative coaching workshops, or during 121 sessions. It’s been quite a fun and yet intense experience
- helping them overcome fears of the dark, dogs, making mistakes amongst other things
- supporting them to feel safe enough to go away from home or on residential and have fun without their family
- boosting their confidence so they can stand up for themselves and handle bullies
- helping them to manage their stress levels so they can cope with the pressures of school
- helping them believe in themselves and find good friends who treat them with kindness
I’ve also written about the true magic of coaching and what goes on behind the scene here, because it’s hard to trust something you can’t see. As I look back on my days in my coaching room, I smile fondly and feel pretty chuffed to bits for all the children who have shown up and done the work. That takes courage *claps loudly * and not everybody is prepared to go deep.
Knowledge, confidence + new skills don’t happen over night
Whilst establishing myself as The Smiley Coach and fine tuning my craft, I’ve learnt so much. More recently, you will have noticed that I’ve downloaded the contents of my head, (the edited version which contains all my first hand experiences with these families), into step-by-step downloadable and affordable online learning packs which are available you and your family. How cool is that? If you haven’t checked out the Online Learning Den, can I recommend that you do because there is pure Smiley gold in there to make your life easier. Not to mention a fantastic community to support you. Oh and me, I hang out there a lot.
You don’t know what you don’t know!
I really want to share with you what did go wrong in the beginning because I think we can translate my mistakes, sorry learnings into parenting. In turn, this is really going to help you when it comes to your relationship with your child. It’s also worth remembering, that we are all human and this stuff is really easy to do when you don’t have awareness. You don’t know what you don’t know! So this blog may increase your awareness and help you prioritise the bits that matter (instead of getting caught up in the stuff which is a waste of your precious time). Then you can experience more highs of parenting instead of the worry, the drama and the never ending to do list.
In my eagerness to do a good job and please my clients, I got caught up in the end results. Big mistake! Huge! I can now see how doing that was unhelpful to my clients because it gave them a message that I needed them to change in order to feel comfortable around them. Do you do that with your kids? I also learnt that it was way more important to spend as much time as possible building trust because when I had that all important connection with my client, the rest just fell into place.
- Lesson Learnt: Above all else, connection (trust- mutual respect – love) is the number 1 priority.
- Suggested Action Step for You: Work on your relationship with your child instead of trying to control their behaviour. Be patient and take your time. Trust takes time to build and can be broken quickly. You might like to pick up a copy of my ebook ‘Rediscover the Magic of Parenting in a Busy World’ which tells you how to boost your connection in 30 days.
I planned every session down to the second and I would feel myself getting anxious if we weren’t following the plan. Life isn’t like that though is it? Children aren’t predictable and who is to say that my plan was the right plan for them. Mmm it probably wasn’t.
Lesson Learnt: Children are resourceful and can creatively problem solve when they are relaxed and happy. So creating connection and a stress free, quiet environment is more important than trying to control what happened in a session. These days I let the child lead and I work on the premise that they know what is right for them.
Suggested Action Step for You: Yept it’s that word again: connection and also learn to trust your child. You will find that hard if you don’t trust yourself. This will definitely help you with that.
When I first started out I was juggling my part-time Nanny job with coaching, building a website and at the time I gave up smoking too! I would also spend hours on the phone to parents because my boundaries were rubbish. I so desperately wanted to help them but actually I didn’t have enough energy to focus where it should have been: on the child. I’m a Child Coach remember!
Lesson Learnt: Just because I know the answers and can help, doesn’t mean I have to do it all. Read that again because as a Mum that lesson is surely priceless. If you keep doing everything for your child, how are they ever going to learn? You are doing the work for them. I don’t do the work for my clients I coach them down a path which means they are in the best place and supported to work it out for themselves.
Suggested Action Step for You: You don’t have to wear your underpants outside your trousers and turn into your child’s Mum Slave. Delegate and relinquish some of the control. No they won’t do it like you but they will do it in a way that feels right for them. If you find that hard, ‘Be the Mum You Want to Be’ is a fab online learning pack which will help you. Please also make sure you prioritise your self care which is ultimately your connection with yourself. Oh and did I mention boundaries? More on that in a bit.
There are all sorts of ways our low self esteem shows on the outside – not earning enough money, not investing in the things which are important like your mental and emotional health, not practising good self care and not having good boundaries. Oh this one is juicy and I did all of those. I didn’t charge enough money. I was doing home visits for £35 and staying for 2 hours drinking tea with the Mum because I wanted to help more. *cringe*
Lesson Learnt: When you value yourself, you can have a better life. One which is less stressful, less anxious and more abundant – in time and money. I’m wondering how much you value yourself as a Mum. How much you appreciate yourself and acknowledge that in spite of doing a really hard job, which nobody has ever taught you how to do, and one which there is no training for, you never give up. Not on your kids anyway, but have you given up on yourself? It took a Coach and a therapist to highlight that my over giving and under receiving were leading me to burn out and of course people were taking me for granted because I never said no.
Suggested Action Step for You: Learn all about healthy boundaries and how you need them as a human being and as a parent. Listen to me talk about my experiences of growing up without boundaries here and how it cost me a lot of time and money in therapy.
As with all things new, there is a huge learning curve. When you are a Mum this learning curve just goes on and on. With each developmental stage you sometimes still feel like you are locked in a dark room and you worry that you are getting it wrong or are not good enough. Yep me too! I was worried about letting people down or not getting it right.
Lesson Learnt: I got myself a good Coach and my therapist who I have been seeing for 15 years has guided me through my own triggers (yes I have them too and the kids can trigger me – I’m only human).
Suggested Action Step for You: Find yourself a Coach (I’m here to help!) or a therapist or a supportive community to hand hold you and be your Cheerleader through the tricky bits. It helps to know that you don’t feel alone with your struggle. You are not. It’s more common than you think it is. The Online Learning Den has a very supportive Community and I am there too! Empathy, love and understanding is what will get you through. It’s the same for your kids. They need that too.
Do you ever feel like there is so much to do, be and know = Overwhelm City!
Yep, that’s why coaching helps because I break it down into bite sized chunks. For example, parents who start off by working on their connection with the ebook I mentioned earlier get some really quick wins and aha moments which spur them into action. Especially when they see how their child responds to feeling connected. Like anything new, they also have some ‘not so sure’ and some ‘needs more work’ moments. That’s why I chunk it down into just ONE action a day and I include a Smiley-Ometer to track your progress. Then you can get really clear on what works for you and your child. Simple quick and effective.
In my How to Trust in Your Amazing Ability to Be A Confident Parent online learning pack I also talk about how you can master your mindset and let go of fear, doubt and anxiety which really does take up too much of your valuable time. This frees you up to work on connection and the things which will truly make a difference to how your child feels.
You’ve got this – it’s going to be OK!
One final thing before I go, you can do this. It’s just a case of showing up every day and taking it moment to moment. I think if you can master that inner critic and the worry monsters (I teach you exactly how to do this in How to Trust Your Amazing Ability to Be A Confident Parent) because letting go of that fear, doubt and anxiety is what has really lead me to enjoy my job more. I feel way more relaxed and comfortable in my own skin. I accept I’m not going to get it right all the time and I can handle that. I know I’m doing my very best and I work really hard to be the best Coach I can for my clients. Just like you do for your kids!