Recommendations for Parenting Coach wanted

Hi all -- I have a 13 yr old in 8th grade and am a single mom to him and I've been watching him go through puberty and am finding things much more challenging.  I've always felt that he has some form of ADHD and he has had social challenges with getting and keeping friends and I am just now starting to look into getting him tested with either Childrens Hospital in Oakland or the UCB program.  I am beginning to wonder if some of the tantrums/acting out I'm seeing and other challenges aren't just from his raging hormones but from other things that might be contributing to it.  I have heard of 'parent coaching' and was thinking that it would be good for me to better learn how to manage through this and all that middle school brings on.  I would greatly appreciate hearing from people who may have dealt with this type of situation and would also like to hear about recommendations and experiences with parenting coaches.  Thanks in advance!

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I don’t have a referral for you -I don’t know any colleagues who do this- but please get your son tested asap. Going through a hospital or UCB might take months to arrange. But in the meantime, Perhaps your pediatrician would know a developmental pediatrician who could diagnose ADHD through interviewing him, you and a questionnaire filled out by teachers. Getting a full neuropsychology eval would be helpful too but will take months.

If your son does have ADHD, the sooner you know the better given his age. Our son was diagnosed at 10 and his self knowledge has been so helpful navigating puberty and high school tribulations. It is harder for kids to learn this about themselves in later adolescence and I what ever is going on with him is obviously already impacting him during these very crucial years before he leaves home and while he is learning so much about friendships and academics.

I highly recommend Amanda Buckmann. She worked with myself and my husband to help us improve skills in responding to our child’s emotional ups and downs. She is based in the South Bay but works remotely as well. (415) 805-6759

Jenny Michaelson at True North Parent Coaching is great:

In addition to being a talented parenting coach, she is the parent of two boys herself (including a middle schooler), which comes in handy with real-life examples.  I've found her to be particularly helpful in navigating some challenging issues with a 13-year-old 8th grader with anxiety.  Jenny comes to her work with a great kindness, wisdom from years of experience, and also a sense of humor that I appreciate.  

Hi-- When my son was about your child's age, I was in your position--really in need of some coaching to help me help my boy (and keep me from pulling my hair out).  So I'm happy to say that I found it!  Her name is Rebecah Freeling and her business is called "Wit's End Parenting" (sound appropriate?).   She genuinely loves the hard-to-handle, spirited, aggressive, all-around challenging kids; she gets them.  And she has developed several strategies for how to work with your child in a way that satisfies everyone, while teaching them important self-management skills. Over the last few years I have worked intensively with her at different times, more recently to help me ween my 15-year-old off his addiction to his devices.  That was extremely difficult-- lots of violent tantrums and acting out-- and she was virtually (literally, virtually) by my side the whole time.  I highly recommend her.  Her contact info: witsendparenting [at] / website:

All the best wishes to you!

Respectfully, I just wanted to state that it's okay if 'wit's end' approach doesn't work for you and your child. I agree this coach has great compassion and great problemsolving ideas and has seen it all and that her 'take away' approach may work for some. But it's a fiction that the child has a choice. Her method is ultimately 'plan A' and that won't work with certain kids. I suggest the Lives in the Balance/Ross Greene approach for kids who tantrum and explode and have a high try for autonomy. They need more in put and also support toward self regulation.

I feel for you going through this! *hug* I'm a full-time single mom of a 16yo, who last year refused to participate in school. His school assessed him in January and found that he likely has ADHD among other things, though no tantrums. I'm going to spring for a private psych-ed eval as well. I wish I had done all this sooner. 

What has gotten my son and me to a much better place: 

--If you are a Kaiser member...Kaiser's Parents' Turn course and alumni group for parents whose kids aren't so compliant. You have to get referred through (your kid's) Kaiser mental health practitioner. Hugely helpful!

--On a day when I was feeling literally at my wit's end, I happened to run across an email from Wit's End Parenting that totally made sense. I reached out to them and did an 8-week series  with Rebecah. Although I had some other supports, it was a huge relief and helpful to talk through every last detail about my son with Rebecah. She really heard me and calmed me down, and worked with me to develop strategies for working with my son and helping me stay consistent with those strategies. She also helped me feel less bad about me as a parent. 

--A therapist my son was seeing in Berkeley shared with me a parent support group on Zoom run by Lawrence Shweky at Emerge Center in Davis & Sacramento. I've been in the group since January and it's great to have a weekly group with whom to share this stuff and who get where I'm coming from.  

--Utilize any and all resources available through your school/school district. Thanks to the assessment and my son's IEP, he gets a weekly appointment with an excellent therapist trainee, educational accommodations or modifications that will travel with him into college if he follows that path, and I get to work with a school district behavior analyst aka parent coach. 

--If you need to know your and your son's rights, check out DREDF. 

--I have picked the brains of friends, friends of friends, and various professionals. You never know from whom you'll get a morsel of wisdom! 

I'd be glad to talk more if you want.