What is family?
The family is the first group that you experience as a child. It is the first group to which you belong, or at least are meant to feel like you belong to.
The family is supposed to unconditionally accept you as a person, and protect your entitlement to dignity, respect, privacy and your right to self-expression. In the healthy family, these are the inalienable rights of the child, which are protected by the all-powerful parents.
The growing child does not just absorb information from the mother and father. In other words, your developing “self” is not a singular phenomenon in the universe that simply pops out of the womb. Your “self” begins to develop from the day you are born by interacting with the environment: the mother-child relationship. The “self” is a function of your genetic temperament and the environment you experience while growing up.
The environment that you are raised in actually defines you who you are. While you are born with certain innate, instinctive genetically guided temperaments and talents, the expression of those temperaments and talents is influenced by the reception you receive from the environment: your family. Your psyche memorizes these patterns of experience from early childhood and uses them for the remainder of your life as the model for how to live.
The newborn child’s challenge
is to figure out how to fit into this first group: the family.
It is easier for some children than it is for others.
One third of families embrace the new child with the healthy intent of nurturing, protecting, educating and contributing the newest member of the group to the society.
One third of families behave more ambiguously. The new child’s experience is less than ideal; not abusive or neglectful, but missing that healthy inclination on the part of the parents to nurture, protect and educate their offspring. Usually, this is because the parents themselves were not nurtured, protected or educated by their original family group.
One third of families make children feel like they do not belong at all. Either through co-mission or omission, the parents actually unconsciously reject the new child through varying degrees of abusiveness and neglectfulness. They actively reject their maternal and paternal responsibilities to nurture, protect and educate the child, because they don’t have the energy, the internal models of behavior, the awareness or the empathy that is necessary to carry out this biological imperative and responsibility.
The purpose of family coaching
Family Coaching helps to make up for the lack of necessary instinctive responses that are missing in the second and third family examples.
In other words, if you were not raised in a family environment that nurtured, protected and educated you, then, while we don’t want to blame anyone because there’s no point in attributing blame, we can compensate for this deficit by learning new adult/parenting behaviors.
These new behaviors will, in turn, evoke new feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, while simultaneously reinforcing themselves in your mind as you experience the new and positive results of your efforts.
In the process, you avoid making the same mistakes of the previous generation of parents: to not pass on to the next generation the flaws, drawbacks, inequities and insensitivity that the current generation experienced through no fault of their own.
Parenting comes naturally when you are content and emotionally satisfied:
- What is normal child development?
- How do I appropriately parent and discipline my children?
- What are the natural biological expectations of my child’s performance?
- How do I provide the appropriate experiences at home for my children to blossom into their genetic potential?
An emotionally healthy parent facilitates the needs and wants of their children with generosity and sensitivity. These feelings come easily to an emotionally healthy adult. These feelings do not come easily to parents with negative emotional memories of their childhood. The process of family coaching is to help provide the opportunity for this new information to be learned, internalized and executed so that your child can benefit where you, the parent, could not. It wasn’t your fault, and you did not have a choice, but your child does!
In conclusion, family coaching is an effort to help the current generation of parents understand themselves so that they can give generously and facilitate the lives of the next generation of children: your children. If you do not understand yourself, then you cannot understand the impact of your behavior on your children. This requirement of self-awareness is the point of family coaching. Once you are self-aware, you can put yourself in the shoes of your children and change their destiny, the family’s destiny and your own!