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Frazzled Families Pay for Advice from Parenting Coaches

When it comes to bedtime, homework, or managing meltdowns, a growing number of families aren’t relying on their peers or parents: They’re turning to parenting coaches for one-on-one instruction. The coaches charge from about $125 to $350 a session. They meet with parents (in person, over the phone, or via Skype) to set goals and develop a plan to reach them.

Megan and Michael Flynn used to dread bedtime. Every night, the couple spent two stressful hours putting their preschooler and toddler to bed. With help, they cut that time in half. They did it by hiring a parent coach, who concluded they needed structure. Instead of caving into requests for book after book, they set a routine—and stuck to it. “Nighttime routines are such a struggle for so many people,” said Megan Flynn, “and it was just nice to have somebody give us strategies for it.”

The profession, virtually nonexistent 20 years ago, is one of the latest entries in the $1.08 billion personal coaching industry in the United States. It’s part of the broader American trend of hiring expert advisers to improve nearly every facet of life. You can hire a sleep coach, a financial coach, or a life coach. But the profession isn’t regulated, which leaves some parenting experts concerned about the advice offered. Others wonder why parents would shell out hundreds of dollars for suggestions they might easily get elsewhere.

Parenting coach Tina Feigal talked about her role, “Who is there for these parents?” she asked. “Parenting is the hardest job in the world, but there’s no training for it in advance.”

Erica Pearson, “Parenting coaches? Frazzled families pay for advice,” Star Tribune (11-12-18)

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