Parent Coaching: Get Support from Another Parent Who’s Dealt With a Child’s Addiction

While expert advice can and should be an important part of you seeking help for your son or daughter struggling with substance use, it can be life-changing to talk with someone who has been in your shoes.

Parent Coaching is a peer-to-peer program, by which a parent seeking help and perspective on their child’s substance use issues is paired up with another specially-trained parent volunteer who has also traveled the path of dealing with a child’s substance use. By speaking with someone who has been there and walked in their shoes, parents can learn how to stay connected to their loved one and get the support and encouragement they need and deserve.

Parent Coaching takes place on the phone –- over the course of about five calls –- during approximately a six-week period. Our volunteer Parent Coaches are trained in collaboration with our partners at the CMC: Foundation for Change (CMC:FFC) using CMC:FFC’s Invitation to Change Approach, a unique mix of Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), Motivational Interviewing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. These techniques are evidence-based approaches shown to set the stage for positive outcomes. Parent Coaches are there to listen, offer ideas and reaffirm to parents that they aren’t alone in this struggle.

If you’re interested in receiving parent coaching, begin by connecting with a Helpline Specialist.

You can also hear from our Parent Coaches via the blog series “Ask a Parent Whose Been There,” where they weigh in on some of the most frequent questions and challenges faced along the journey of helping a son or daughter toward recovery.

"The experience was so great. I don't know if I could have made it without my parent coach. It's so different to hear from someone who's gone through it. Just an amazing relationship and an incredible experience."

Parent Coaching participant

Frequently Asked Questions About Parent Coaching

What is Parent Coaching?
Throughout the journey of a loved one’s substance use, many parents want to talk with someone who has been in their shoes. Parent Coaching is a peer-to-peer program, by which a parent seeking help and perspective on their child’s substance use issues is paired up with another specially-trained parent volunteer who has also traveled the path of dealing with a child’s substance use. By speaking with someone who has been there and walked in their shoes, parents can learn how to stay connected to their loved one and get the support and encouragement they need and deserve.

How does it work? What will we talk about?
Parent Coaching takes place over the phone – over the course of about five one-hour calls – during approximately a six-week period. Interested parents, after talking with a Helpline Specialist, are paired up with a Parent Coach based on your time zone, though generally not in your immediate geographic area.

Parent Coaching includes the benefits of both shared experience as well as evidence-based techniques based in helping motivate someone to change. Through the Invitation to Change Approach, our Parent Coaches will help you learn evidence-based motivational and supportive techniques such as Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). During your coaching time, you and your coach will discuss your situation and identify ways in which you can help your family, and yourself, through this difficult and confusing time.

I’m not sure this is a fit for my situation with my son or daughter. How do I know if Parent Coaching is right for me?
Parent Coaches are here to listen to you with empathy and understanding. They’re not here to “fix” things, but rather to offer compassion, guidance, and support to help empower you to help your child. If you are a parent or caregiver struggling with a loved one’s substance use and want to speak to someone like you, this is a great fit for you.

Some parents talk to a Parent Coach because their daughter has struggled on and off with opioids for the better part of a decade. Some parents talk to a Parent Coach because they just discovered their son was smoking pot and can’t seem to stop. Many of our peer Parent Coaches have struggled with similar dilemmas. There is no one size fits all and what works for one family may not work for another. Through talking with a Parent Coach, you may learn skills that will help you find your own answers.

I’m interested in being paired up with a Parent Coach. How do I get started?
If you’re interested in receiving parent coaching, begin by connecting with a Helpline Specialist first, via phone, live chat, email, text, or Facebook Messenger.

I am ready to give back and help others. How can I become a Parent Coach?
If you’ve been personally affected by your son’s or daughter’s substance use and you’re at a place where you’re ready to share your time and wisdom with other parents and families, we invite you to become a Parent Coach. You are not required nor expected to have a professional background in substance use or counseling. Learn more about the process of getting trained and the commitment involved >>

"I wish I would have found this program years ago. It's so isolating when you can't talk to anyone -- no one in my life is going through this -- and my Parent Coach was an amazing resource."

Parent Coaching participant