The goal of a Parent Mentor is to enhance and improve permanency outcomes for parents with children in wilderness/residential programs. This is accomplished through support, guidance and instruction provided to the parents in a parallel process to the work the child is completing in treatment.
Families engage my services in a variety or combination of ways. Parents may be looking for guidance and information on pre-placement or pre-transition home. Other parents desire additional independent validation and support outside of their child’s program. And finally, some parents will use both types of services. It is all tailored to the clients’ desires.
The old saying, “It takes one to know one,” is very relevant in this situation. While my career has been in a capacity of constant advisement and consulting, however it was limited to the business world. Only through having to “walk-the-walk” of having a child that I couldn’t seem to help did I earn my parenting consulting badge of honor.
Parent Mentoring with Cheryl
Why do I need a Mentor?
Currently, very few residential programs have a parallel program to support, coach, and guide parents on a regular or on-call basis. Generally, most programs will have a once-a-week scheduled therapeutic call with the therapist, child, and parents. Beyond that, there is nothing formalized for the parents. I provide personalized support to parents to fill that gap.
My Educational Consultant (EC) told me they would be there to support me during my child’s stay. Why do I need a Mentor as well?
ECs will follow your child’s progress through the program by touching base with your child’s therapist every few months. The EC stays current on your child’s status in the program so that, if another placement is needed, they have all the information readily available. Generally, most ECs do not provide personalized mentoring, support, or coaching to parents on a regular or on-call basis.
What will you do for me as a Parent Mentor?
It is the day-to-day uncertainties that make many parents feel unsettled while their child is away. Often, little things at the program level cause us to question our decisions. My role is to work with you through these uncertain times and coach you on to the next level so that you, the parent, are working as hard as your child on this transformation process. If you sent your child away to have someone “fix them” without being committed to doing some hard work simultaneously, the likelihood of success (however you choose to define it), following the programs diminishes greatly. I will help you adjust your mindset and accept that this is not just a kid problem, it is a family problem, and everyone needs to work hard to make positive, lasting change.
What makes you qualified to work for us?
I have over 25 years of executive business experience. I have been formally trained through the Parent Coach Trainer Academy, approved by the International Coach Federation and have received my Certification in Parent Coaching. I have first-hand experience as a parent of a child who completed both wilderness and residential programs and now is residing back in the family home. Because of my family’s experience, I am in a unique position to support parents on a personalized and intimate basis. I understand the emotions that come with the decisions you make and the uncertainty you feel. Questions such as, “Do I trust the program? Do I trust my kid? What happens if he told me the truth and I disregarded it?” are all normal. These are difficult, but normal questions I can help you navigate. Without a Parent Mentor to talk to, commiserate with, and rely on, this journey can be much more turbulent and stressful than it needs to be.
I am concerned about transparency. Do any therapy programs pay you to work with them?
No, I am paid by the parent/client. My role is to be independent of the programs so that I can remain objective. There will be times that parents will have to hear things they don’t like from me, and they need to know the only reason I say them is because I believe they need to be heard. No parent should ever think that any decisions, suggestions, or guidance I provide is intended to benefit a therapy program. I am independent to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.
Do you work with a particular residential program?
I am willing to work with any program on your behalf. It is up to the parent/client as to how involved they would like me to be at the program level, and that can then be worked out on an individualized basis.
Can I work with you if my child is in a program outside of Utah?
Absolutely. Most of my work is done via telephone calls. I love to meet parents in person, but that isn’t possible unless a program is near me in Northern Utah. My clients enjoy the freedom of being able to reach out to me at any time via text/call and get a response the same day. Or, if the call comes at night and is not an emergency, you will be called back the following day.