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Supporting Our Children’s Growth the EASEy Way by Gregory Bland

Jan 31st, 2012 | By | Category: Parenting

“That’s a very interesting situation.  What do you think you could do?”

What is the possibility for growth that is presented in this moment?  When understanding is reached we begin turning our child’s attention toward Exploring Possibilities.

Turning our children’s mind toward the possibility presented can be as simple as asking;

  • “What are the possibilities that you see here?”
  • “What could you do in this situation?”
  • “What options do you have?”
  • “What is the best way forward?”

As a Pro-Active Parent Coach our focus is upon Supporting our child’s Growth and development.  With this in mind we intentionally avoid diagnosing, problem solving, and offering solutions to our children.  Rather, we foster and support our children’s growth by keeping responsibility with them by asking them to think about and explore the possibilities they are presented with. (Notice the questions above naturally assume the child is responsible.)

Our role as a parent coach is to ask & listen, not diagnose and tell.  Giving them the opportunity to dream about the possibilities is a rich and rewarding experience both for us as parents and for our children.   From the child’s perspective, they get to ‘be grown up’ and take responsibility.  Chad (age 12) commented, “Dreaming about my own possibilities was a really neat experience.  I got to dream a bit, and then choose something I wanted to do.  That was pretty cool.”  As a parent, it is exciting, and rewarding to see the creativity our children possess when we give them the opportunity to take responsibility and dream about the possibilities facing them.

Over the course of the next few articles we will break down the Supporting Growth parent coaching model so you may see it in action.

You can coach any growth opportunity your child is currently facing.  I will illustrate, over the next few articles, one particular conversation with my daughter regarding a way in which she could earn money for Christmas gifts.   The following conversation took place with my daughter, Hannah, a couple years ago.

Parent Coaching Conversation

“Dad, I’ve been thinking that this year I would like to buy everyone Christmas presents by myself.”
“Really, you know you don’t have to do that right?
“Yeah, I know, but I’d really like to.”
“That’s very thoughtful of you.  I guess you are growing up aren’t you!  Do you know what you want to purchase?”
“Well, over the past little while I’ve been looking at stuff at the stores that I think everyone would like.   I have a rough idea of how much the gifts would cost me.”
“I want to spend between $15.00 and $20.00 on each person in our family, so I will need around $150.00.”
“That’s very generous Hannah.”
“Thank you.  But there’s one problem.”
“What’s that?”
“I am not sure how I can get that much money.”
“Oh? Well I might be able to help you with that.  Do you mind if I ask you some questions and maybe we can come up with some possibilities on how you can earn enough money?”

“Yeah, that would be great.”
“As you think about this, what are some things you could do that would help you earn the money you need?”
“Well, we could do a yard sale.”
“That’s one possibility, what else could you do?”
“Umm, well selling my pictures online hasn’t done a lot yet.”
“True, so there must be another possibility then, what would it be?”
“Ummm, I could make crafts to sell.”
“Yup, that’s a good idea too, can you think of anything else?”
“Hmmmm, I’m not sure, Dad.”
“Ok, let’s see if we can think of at least one more.  What is the thing we haven’t thought of yet?”
– Silence –
“Ohhh, I could do yard work, raking leaves, and stuff for people around the subdivision.”
“That’s great!  You’re doing very well at this.  Is there anything else hiding somewhere in that mind of yours that we can pull out?”
– Silence –
“Umm, no I can’t think of anything else, Dad.”
“That’s ok, you have thought of some great ideas here, would you like to consider them now?”


I affirm her thoughtfulness and ask a direct question about how much money she will need.  The growth opportunity here for Hannah is taking responsibility for purchasing gifts on her own, and growing in her ability to create possibilities for earning money.

Hannah’s objective is stated: $150.00.

Although in my mind I think that she is going to talk about money, I let her direct the conversation.  This ensures that she is in taking responsibility, but also keeps me from jumping to conclusions and/or directing the conversation the wrong way.

Asking permission honors Hannah and allows her to maintain control within the conversation.

She begins to Explore Possibilities.

Asking ‘what else’, allows her to stretch her thinking and consider more possibilities. Allowing her time to think moves her beyond the obvious, or what she may have considered herself, into the creative realm.

Exploring Possibilities, is a simple way to begin releasing responsibility to our children.  We ask them to look at themselves, what is currently happening within their lives, and how they can begin taking responsibility for growth in those areas.

When several possibilities are ‘on the table’ we will turn our attention toward Assessing Desire so that we can determine which area to Secure Commitment.

Practical Application

This week, when your child comes to you with a ‘dilemma’ or ‘situation they are facing,’ resist the temptation to problem solve, and offer your solutions.  Instead begin asking them what they believe the possibilities are?  Allow them to explore and articulate what is in their heart and mind.

As you use this method, pay particular attention to what happens within your child and yourself throughout the process.  Consider the following;

What did you notice about your child as you refrained from offering solutions and instead asked them to create their own possibilities?
How did they initially respond to this approach?
How would you describe your own feelings as you patiently waited for them to come up with possibilities on their own?

If this is a new process for you, realize that it may seem a little awkward at the beginning for both yourself and your child.  Try your best to resist the temptation to jump in with your own ideas and advice, allowing your child to explore the possibilities themselves.

Until next time,
Enjoy your journey into Pro-Active Parent Coaching
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

*Gregory and Lynn Bland currently reside in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada.  They have recently completed writing their parent coaching book, “Pro-Active Parent Coaching: Capturing the Heart of Your Child, A Parent’s Guide to Coaching.” Additionally they are providing pastoral care, and participate in various speaking engagements. For more information visit Pro-Active Parent Coaching or write to

Copyright 2012 Gregory Bland | Pro-ActiveParentCoaching | Nova Scotia | Canada |

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