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Parent Coaching

I am a mother of two boys. The oldest is10 years old with ADHD and learning disabilities. The youngest is 3 years old.The oldest moved this year to a school for children with learning disabilitiesand seems pleased so far. Without a doubt, the move from Israel’s centralregion to here a year ago had its effect and influenced the entire household (Iraise the children alone). Now, we’re starting to see the beginnings ofsatisfaction and some calmness at home. I don’t have to tell you how hard it isto cope with a child with ADHD and learning disabilities, a low self-image, andsevere anxieties of late. I see this as daily survival and I frequently askmyself, “Did I do the right thing?”, “Did I give the right punishment?”, or“Why do I constantly have to punish him and be angry with him…this tortures me.I receive parent training from a wonderful lady who really understands me andthe difficulties and doesn’t judge me as others did in the past. We analyze each difficulty/problem/ way ofrelating, and this is what I wanted to ask…mention What is the coaching process? How couldit affect me? Why do I feel that most of the time I’mangry with him, his impulsivity, and his tone of speech? Sometimes there’sphysical violence, hitting, for which he was already punished and doesn’t daredo again, and also with this I received training. Since it’s difficult withhim, I feel in a certain sense that he’s the underdog, the younger one andnaturally he’s closer to me and I feel guilty most of the time since the olderson I love with all my might, and because of the problems and difficulties,it’s hard for me to approach him sometimes, I get tired of him quickly, and hefeels this. Another thing, he doesn’t want to do hishomework when he comes home. Sometimes he does it during breaks at school (andhe really doesn’t have many). The assistant told me not to get angry with himand not to force him to do things. It’s hard for me because sometimes I feelnot involved in what’s happening, even though I open up his book bag, etc. Heplays with his computer, and doesn’t share with me too much. Is there a certainbehavior that’s representative of children with learning disabilities? Do Iexpect from him more than he can do? How am I supposed to act with him…I’mreally hopeless sometimes and quite frustrated.


It’s noticeable that you’re very attentive to your son and make a lot of effort to help him, and for this we’dlike to congratulate you. Coping with raising children with difficulties, asyou describe them, isn’t easy and frequently requires good advice andprofessional help. The difficulties you describe are indeed characteristic ofchildren with ADHD who show difficulty with emotional regulation, the abilityto plan and get organized, impulsivity, behavioral problems, and more.

At The Nitzan Association we offerparents two tracks for receiving help.

1.      Coaching for parents with learningdisabilities and/or ADHD – the coaching is intended for parents of childrenwith learning disabilities and/or ADHD. This is a process of personal growthwith the close guidance of a coach, who is an expert in the field trained byNitzan. The process takes place within the framework of 12 meetings of parentswith a personal coach (who is also a psychologist, social worker, schoolcounselor, etc.). During the coaching process, the parent will receive toolsfor more effective coping with their child. With the coach’s assistance, theparent will understand the patterns that are interfering in his life and thatof his child and which patterns are more effective and allow him to progress.The coaching focuses on the self-contemplation of the parent and shareddialogue with the child.

2.      An additional track is parent’s groupsthat allow parents dealing with similar difficulties to meet, to help eachother, to hear a good word or good advice, with the accompanying ofprofessionals from the field of group leadership who are experts in the area oflearning disabilities and ADHD.

I recommend for you to call the NationalTraining Center of Nitzan so we can tell you more about coaching/parent’sgroups and to refer you to the branch closest to your place of residence.

In addition, we recommend that you readthe book “The Parent as a Coach”. The book was written for parents dealing withchildren who suffer from learning disabilities and/or ADHD. The book takes theparents on a journey from the place of difficulty and hopelessness to a placeof empowerment and advocacy. The book tells about effective coping of parentsthat give from their knowledge and experience to other parents who are dealingwith similar problems.


My son is 6 years old. He was diagnosedlast year with ADHD, and he’s been treated with Ritalin for half a yearalready. There are days when it’s very difficult for me to understand him, andyou can see that he’s frustrated that I don’t understand and he, himself,doesn’t know what’s happening with him. I began to check about a personaltraining process in our house by an educational counselor. The training is forthe parent without the child. This kind of training is very expensive, and,therefore, I’m interested in checking the option to participate in a parent’sgroup, but I didn’t find one in my area (I live in Holon). My questions are: 1. What’s the difference between coachingand training/therapy? 2. How many sessions are there in acoaching process, and what do you do in these sessions? 3. Do both parents have to participate? 4. I’d be glad if you can refer me,according to my place of residence, to a place where there is coaching of thistype. I feel like I don’t understand my son,and because of this I’m angry at myself and sometimes at him…I’d be glad toreceive answers and help…

In answer to your questions:

1.      The coaching process, like the therapy process, deals with theidentity and life of the person. It focuses on interpersonal and intrapersonalprocesses. However, therapy focuses on a person’s past, while the coachingprocess focuses on the future. Coaching focuses on strengths and abilities ofthe trainee, while therapy focuses on weaknesses and difficulties. Similarly,coaching is short term in contrast to therapy, which is usually long term. Intherapy, the client is usually passive, while in coaching the trainee takes anactive role in the process.

2.      Coaching is a process of personal growth while in close contactwith a coach, who has specialized in the field of learning disabilities andADHD through courses at Nitzan. Coaching is comprised of a series ofconversations through which the coach comes to know the trainee and hisbehavioral patterns. The coach helps the trainee through coaching to improveskills and abilities, to redesign behavioral patterns, to cope with crises, andto improve relationships throughout the different cycles of life.

The coaching process at Nitzan is intended for parents ofchildren with learning disabilities and/or ADHD. The process takes place withinthe setting of 12 meetings of the parents with the personal coach(psychologist, social worker, educational counselor, etc., who has specializedin the field of learning disabilities and ADHD). Through the coaching processthe parents receives tools for more effective coping with their child. With thehelp of the coach, the parent will understand what are the patterns thatinterfere with his life and that of his child and which patterns are moreeffective and help him progress. The coaching focuses on the self-reflection ofthe parent and sharing conversation with the child.

3.      We very much recommend that both parents participate in theactivities at Nitzan. Of course, it’s also possible to come separately.

4.      The Coaching takes place at Nitzan’s National Center inTel-Aviv.

Single-parent training at Nitzan wassuggested to me (by a coach in training). Since were looking for parenttraining for both parents, I decide to pass. I’d be glad if you could explainhow training for a single parent for 12 meetings could contribute to ourfamily? What’s the rationale to go in this direction instead of parent trainingthat we’re familiar with for both parents?

In the training program for coaches of parents of childrenwith learning disabilities and/or ADHD, treatment professionals from the fieldsof therapy, counseling, and education who have expertise in the fields oflearning disabilities and ADHD, practice each time with one parent in thecontext of the struggling child. In the coaching process, in contrast to parenttraining, the coach gets to know the trainee and his behavioral patterns, andhelps the parent through coaching to improve skills and abilities, to redesignbehavioral patterns, to cope with crises, and to improve the relationshipsthroughout all the cycles of life.

For these reasons, the coaching is individualized for theparent with the intention to improve his/her abilities to support his/her childand to increase the ability for self-contemplation and recruiting the partnerand support network to aid in these processes.

Studies show that even if one of the parents receivestreatment of some type, this has a significant influence on the partner and theentire family system.

However, participation of both parents in everyintervention program is an immense advantage. So, for example, it’s possible tojoin parent’s groups either as a couple or individually. Also in the parentcoaching program, we are planning this year to train coaches for couplescoaching, with the guidance of a psychologist and counselor in family therapyto supervise the coaches.