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

    While expert advice is an important part of seeking help for your child struggling with substance use, it can be life-changing to talk with someone who has gone through this before.

    What is parent coaching?

    Parent coaching is a peer-to-peer program, by which a parent or caregiver seeking help and perspective on their child’s substance use issues is paired with a specially trained volunteer who has also traveled the path of a child’s substance use or addiction. 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.

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    What is parent coaching?

    Peer-to-peer support for families impacted by addiction

    Hear some of our volunteer parent coaches describe the program in their own words.

    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. They will help determine whether parent coaching is a good next step. Please note that because our coaches are volunteers and parents themselves, there are circumstances that may prevent the option of coaching.

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    “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.”

    Frequently asked questions

    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 with a specially trained parent volunteer who has also traveled the path of a loved one’s substance use or addiction. 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 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 for 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 call, you will discuss with your coach 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 child. 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 via phone.

    I am ready to give back and help others. How can I become a parent coach?

    If you’ve been personally affected by your child’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 or expected to have a professional background in substance use or counseling. Read more about getting trained and the commitment involved.

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    Personalized support for addressing your child’s substance use or addiction available in English and Spanish.

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    Last Updated

    June 2020

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