So this was pretty validating for me. I mean, I’ve known this on a personal, anecdotal level for a long time, but it’s nice to have science confirm what I’ve observed! This is why I moved away from working 1:1 with kids and into parent coaching. For those of you who don’t know my background, I did early intervention in a variety of forms for about a decade, but the format I found worked BEST was when it was part of my mandate to involve the parents, to be coaching the parents to support their own child. Because then intervention wasn’t limited to the hours I was physically present. It put the parents in the driver’s seat.
You are the expert on your own child.
Parents want to be the expert on their own kids- there is no worse feeling than not knowing what’s going on with your kids. I had a Mom of one of my early intervention clients back in the day say to me once “I’m only ever as okay as my least okay child” and now as a Mom…yeah! Truth! I mean, the nurture vs nature debate is over- we’ve figured it out- it’s both! How we nurture a child has a huge impact on how their nature gets expressed. There’s a whole field of science that’s blossomed around that very subject- it’s called epigenetics- the science of how lived experience alters gene expression.
That’s not to blame parents! We all do the best we can with what we know at the time. Many times when I start getting into epigenetics and the parent as the expert, parents get really harsh with themselves and start beating themselves up because they infer that whatever difficulties their child is experiencing is their fault. It’s not. Nature still has a lot of weight here. I see it as an incredible source of hope! Tweaking how you’re interacting with your child makes a serious impact! If the only thing that changes in your child’s life is how you guide them- your skills- then that has just been proven to be massively game-changing.
Parents Need Coaches Too.
Which leads to the other reason I moved into parent coaching. I know it works, and I know it makes a serious impact. On a one-woman scale, if I want to make a difference and empower as many parents as possible, I can do that a lot more effectively by coaching the parents rather than by working 1:1 with the kids. We have 250+ parents in ParentAbility, I can’t work with 200 kids a week! That’s impossible! A heavy caseload when I was in early intervention was 5 kids a week. That was a lot, and that was working morning, afternoon, and evening every weekday. By empowering the parents, by helping you become the expert on your own child- I’m able to support more than 200 kids at a time since most of the families have more than one child. So this is incredibly hopeful not just for me, and not just for the SPACE protocol that the study was done on, but for many modalities and many interventions because now it’s been validated! Changing your parenting does change your child from the inside out.