NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Katie Wetsell used to take care of kids as a pediatric nurse practitioner, but she wanted to nurture their parents, too.

“Parents had such a big impact on their kids’ experience and health and growth and processing of what’s happening,” Wetsell said.

When the pandemic hit, Wetsell, an East Nashville mom of four, knew parents needed extra support.

“I got trained as a parent coach. At a year, when all of us were parenting way more than we usually were, with our kids home all the time, it was such a blessing to be learning how to encourage other parents when I needed that encouragement and guidance myself,” Wetsell said.

Wetsell spent a year training through a program called Connected Families, as well as SPACE, or Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions.

“Really dive into their unique family system, their unique challenges, and their unique tools that they can use to help themselves and their kids,” Wetsell said.

The goal in Wetsell’s coaching is moving from trying to control children’s behavior to mentoring them, while still setting boundaries.

“I look at it as wisdom,” Wetsell said. “How can I help my child understand the value of this thing and how to make decisions around those values? We may need to just let natural consequences apply and notice them and talk about them and learn from them. Or I may need to remove a privilege, so that they can gain success at a lower expectation and build up to that higher expectation.”

That journey to wisdom is likely going to be bumpy and Wetsell wants parents to let go of the expectation that they’re going to do it perfectly.

“We are growing, our kids are growing, we’re all learning,” Wetsell said. “Accepting that identity as learners, is really helpful for parents as well. And it’s just incredible to see how much grace kids have for their parents, when we’re willing to be humble and admit our mistakes and grow.” 

To learn more about Wetsell’s coaching program, visit her website at this link.