The answer is yes and no. Parents are hiring parenting coaches to help them navigate the challenges of parenting. It just so happens screen time is one of the biggest problems today’s parents are reporting.
Gloria DeGaetano, M. Ed. is the founder and CEO of the Parent Coaching Institute. Her company educates and trains coaches on how to best serve parents and children, then matches them with families.
DeGaetano, a former educator had long been studying the effects of media on kids. She wrote her first book, Screen Smarts: A Family Guide to Media Literacy in 1995 long before smartphones and tablets became a part of every child’s life. She tells Parentology she started the Parent Coaching Institute in 2002. “because of my passion to support parents in a complex culture and realizing that the coaching model is so helpful in a personalized way.”
Parent Coaching Institute is the graduate-level program of training for DeGaetano’s coaches. She only accepts candidates with a bachelor’s degree that have experience in family support services with a background in child, or adolescent, development. To date, PCI has over 500 coaches in 22 countries and continues to train around 50 new coaches a year. While DeGaetano supports the use of books and online resources, she notes sometimes that’s not enough, “we aren’t going to get to the huge need that’s out there.”
That’s where coaches come in. Parent Coaching Institute participants are trained in a variety of different parenting challenges and techniques, but 25 percent of their study focuses on the management of technology. The use of screen time is a growing concern for many parents, DeGaetano says, ”…many times a significant factor affecting a child’s behavior is technology — the overuse or inappropriate use of it.”
DeGaetano says most parents can identify problems but have a hard time finding workable solutions. The coaching model is cooperative, working with families over a three-month period to develop a personalized plan.
The Struggle Is Real
Parents may notice differences in how screen time impacts them versus their kids. The reason? It’s linked to the
While the idea of coaches may seem like a frivolous thing meant solely for the affluent, the need is present for parents and children from all walks of life. The Parent Coaching Institute serves at least 400 families pro-bono each year and is working with non-profit organizations that support children in the community.
While society is now aware screens impact the brain development of children and teens, often leading to reliance, DeGaetano’s message is positive. “There’s hope; you can turn it around.”
Gloria DeGaetano, M. Ed., founder and CEO of the Parent Coaching Institute
New York Times: Now Some Families are Hiring Coaches to Help Deal With Kids’ Screen Time