Help Please! I Can’t Find the Rule Book! (An article for parents)

By: Janiel Henry, PsyD.

“If only there was a universal rule book I could follow!” So often I hear this wish from parents, even though they know no rule book exists. Parenting is such hard work – no matter how carefully one prepares. Books or articles have been read and thoughtfully incorporated with sage advice from those we love or admire. And then the unexpected happens.  Many times the challenges that arise are not the ones we anticipated for the parenting journey.

It’s at times like this that parent coaching can be a practical and helpful tool. Parents show up at my door and sit on my couch for many unexpected reasons.  It may be a desire to understand and work with a child’s or teen’s developmental changes or behaviors.  It may be because a parent wants to improve the relationship with their child or teen.  Sometimes, the parent in my office simply wants to have the input of a trained, experienced professional for support during a confusing or difficult season.  One barrier to parent coaching that I’ve observed is the fear of being judged.  For some parents, the thought of coming for support is accompanied with the fear of being labeled a “bad parent.”  Some parents share that it goes beyond that for them; they acknowledge a sense of shame for wanting or needing support.  Although these thoughts and fears may arise, know that it is ok to receive support. In fact, the capacity to ask for help is something that we seek to encourage in our children.  Practicing seeking help and support build our capacity. That’s right: practice, and know that it is okay to ask for help – and not only to ask, but to accept and receive.

If this speaks to you, I encourage you to take that first step. In the words of Lao Tzu , “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

You can reach Dr. Janiel Henry for a parent coaching appointment at 626.585.8075, ext 115  or

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