Stop Tiptoeing and Start Parent Coaching!
Posted on August 14, 2012

I recently looked at Susan Stiffelman’s book titled, Parenting without Power-Struggles. A powerful metaphor she uses in the book is of a captain of a ship. When on a cruise, the only reason all the guests can relax by the pool, drink at the bar, attend shows and generally feel at-ease is because there is an abiding trust in the captain to skillfully navigate the waters (minus the recent media story).

The captain is not looking for cues about whether he is liked or not liked. The captain is not changing his mind on where to sail the ship based on the passenger’s whims. And the captain is certainly not tiptoeing around the passenger’s feelings.

This sense of authority and skill in a captain reduces anxiety for passengers and the same concept applies to parenting. Parenting with authority, tends to reduce anxiety in children.

Yet, tiptoeing around our children’s moods, likes, dislikes, whims and emotions has become so pervasive across the parenting spectrum today. Most of us are unaware that when we tiptoe are we increasing their anxiety. Indirectly we are sending the message that there is a lot to worry about; that children are so delicate and fragile that we have to walk on egg shells. My question for parents is: would you like someone to tiptoe around you, or would you prefer others to be direct?

In some ways this may seem simple and obvious, yet many parents may not even be aware of the extent of their tiptoeing, and many of the patterns of tiptoeing stretch back to toddler years. How much are you reading your children’s cues rather than asking questions directly? How much energy are you spending behind the scenes to try to make everything “smoother?” How much on-edge are you as a parent? Does your parenting decisions change based on your child’s emotions? Does your child have an ability to override the captain of the ship? Do you think that makes a child feel safer to have that level of control over a parent?

The case for Parent Coaching:
Many parents today are stuck in unhealthy parent-child patterns, where although it may be negatively impacting the parent and the child, there is an even greater fear to change the pattern. This is why patterns stay stuck. Although going to a therapist is an available choice, many parents may not be suffering from a diagnosable mental health issue, and so simply don’t go. Yet, parents may want strategies to work with their emotions and their communication related to their current interactions with their child. Parent coaching helps parents build skills to more successfully navigate the stormy seas in their unique parent-child bond. Parents can regain their natural authority, despite whatever choice their child is making.

Try parent coaching to examine patterns, build new skills and foster more security in the parent-child relationship.


Krissy's lighthearted, humorous, gentle, and especially non-judgmental nature never failed to lift our spirits. I always appreciated her many stories and her use of metaphors to simply illustrate concepts which she felt we needed to deeply understand and begin to implement. I have worked in the medical field for almost 30 years now and have met many people along the way, but Krissy Pozatek stands out as one of the most gifted and talented people I have ever met. I wholeheartedly recommend her to "everyone" because I think that anyone would be lucky to have her as their therapist! We are forever grateful to her for her brilliant insights, her amazing skill at teaching us more appropriate responses, and most importantly, for helping us to heal our family. Susan P. (Parent of adolescent boy)
Having to send a child to Wilderness and then on to Therapeutic Boarding School was one of the lowest points of our lives and yet we realize now that we were truly blessed to have met Krissy. With her vast experience, eclectic knowledge, and abiding wisdom, Krissy has guided us through darkness and deep despair into the light and an ultimately successful outcome for our family. It has been an 18- month journey so far. During this time, she helped us “stay the course” when every fiber of our being wanted to “rescue our child.


Susan - California USA
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