Meet Parent Coach Meghan Leahy

by Abby on November 14, 2011

Parent coach Meghan Leahy, positivelyparenting.comA while ago, my sister-in-law invited me to a mom’s night out at her home near Washington, D.C. featuring a special guest speaker: “parent coach” Meghan Leahy. A chance to see my niece and nephew, mingle with fellow moms over wine and cheese, AND get parenting tips from an expert? I’m in.

The minute I met Meghan I could tell she was my people. Sassy, smart, quick with a quip, straightforward but not brusque. A mother of three and a former teacher and school counselor, Meghan’s goal is for parents to have the confidence, power, and tools to create the home THEY want, she says, and overall, to have fun with their families. Right away I liked her positive, practical approach and viewpoint that we moms are human, not perfect.

First, she had the group of a dozen or so women — some working, some stay-at-home moms, and some in between – identify our top parenting issues. Meal time, bedtime, and getting out the door in the morning topped the list. Then she had us do some role-playing exercises, with one person pretending to be the kid and the other the mom. Naturally, this was entertaining, but it was also eye-opening. For instance, having a forkful of broccoli pushed in your face? Not an enticing way to get someone to try a new food.

Here are some of the tips I took away from Meghan’s talk:

Don’t take it personally. Meghan asked us, “How many times has your kid been dawdling in the morning, still in her pajamas even though you’ve told her to get dressed 5 times, and you’re thinking, ‘Why is she doing this to me? Doesn’t she care that I have an important meeting today?’ The answer is, no. She’s 3.” Oh. Right. Remind yourself it’s not personal, it’s normal toddler behavior.

Don’t over-explain. Are you the type to say, “Well, sweetie, you have to eat your scrambled eggs because they’re full of protein and your body needs that for energy and to stay healthy and it’s really important to eat a balanced diet.” (I am.) Newsflash: your kid tuned out after the first 5 words.

Allow your child to learn from natural consequences. This caused the biggest uproar of the night. Your child won’t get dressed for school? Take him in his PJs, Meghan told us. The moms were falling all over each other asking, “But what if he’s barefoot? What if he starts crying? What do I tell his teacher?” Let him walk to the car barefoot. Bring a change of clothes. Explain the situation to his teacher; she’ll understand, Meghan assured us. And it will probably only take once for your child to get the message. (It hasn’t come to this in our house, but I’ve heard of parents who did this, and it works.)

If it wasn’t getting late and we didn’t all have to get up and pack lunches and get people off to school in the morning, we would’ve kept Meghan there all night. For more parenting tips and to find out about Meghan’s speaking and coaching services, check out her web site, She offers coaching to parents anywhere via Skype and teleconferencing, and the first 30 min. are always free!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello November 14, 2011 at 7:39 am

You definitely had me at the “wine and cheese”, I would have dressed up like a Mom for a little Cabernet. 🙂


Abby November 14, 2011 at 10:27 am

Who wouldn’t? 😉


Ali November 14, 2011 at 8:09 am

re: Don’t over-explain.

What could you say, then? I assume the explanation “it’s good for you” doesn’t resonate with kids either because… well, are children really concerned about their health?


Abby November 14, 2011 at 10:28 am

I think you just say, “You need to eat your eggs.” The “because I said so” is implied. 🙂


Kris-Ann November 14, 2011 at 8:30 am

As a mom of two boys like me, you might also be interested in reading The Way of Boys by Dr. Anthony Rao. I don’t normally like parenting books at all, but this really opened my eyes to the way boys develop and how their brains are wired. Sadly, even after reading it, I can still use a session with a parenting coach. Sigh.


Abby November 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

Thanks! I don’t know that one. I agree: *reading* the books is one thing, *retaining the info* is another.


Loukia November 15, 2011 at 12:34 am

Thsnks for sharing these tips! Getting out the door in the morning IS hard!


Abby November 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm

yeah, I don’t know how you working moms who actually have to look nice do it. It’s hard enough for me w/out doing my hair & makeup!


Angie November 17, 2011 at 5:56 am

My husband over explains. He thinks he’s making our sons smart by teaching them logic at an early age. Sigh. I’ve started cracking down on my boys a bit. They look at me like I’m crazy, but then they’re like, “Oh, she’s serious.” As long as it’s coupled with lots of love, I think kids get it. They see us as someone they can trust who doesn’t take their crap.


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