Every parent faces challenges, and no matter how much a parent loves their child, circumstances can get overwhelming.
Dr. Tara Egan says she believes parents shouldn't feel guilty about asking for help.
"There's a belief that only 'bad' parents need help," said Egan.
"It's the 'good' parents who seek help ... who are strongly advocating for their family's health and well-being and are in tune with the fact that they're struggling."
Perceptions of what it means to be a parent can be misleading, causing parents to feel inadequate and incapable of what's presumably expected of them, she says.
"Often people are under the impression that effective parenting comes naturally or effortlessly," says Egan, 34. "That once our baby is laid in our lap, we're going to know what to do instinctively."
Mother to Savannah, 6, and Declan, 4, Egan knows from experience how joyful and stressful parenting can be.
Coming to terms with the martyrdom of parenting may be the bigger challenge, but at least now parents have options; however, parents should take into consideration that parent coaching is still a fairly new profession and the government has yet to regulate licensure, so paying attention to credentials is important.
Beyond parenthood and a post-graduate education, Egan has worked nationwide as a school psychologist for 10 years - including at Union County Schools - and taught psychology as an adjunct professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y.
Egan earned her masters in school psychology from George Mason University in 2001 and doctorate of education in school psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2008.
"It's very important that parents find a parent coach who is the right fit for their family," says Egan, who lives in Indian Trail.
This is the reason Egan opened Charlotte Parent Coaching in April 2011. She wants to meet parents in their homes and on their schedules.
Seeing the family function as a whole is crucial to creating an individual plan that suits their particular lifestyle; plus, being involved in their environment is more likely to leave a lasting impression that will, in turn, contribute to the child's success.
Egan has the ability to help parents help children overcome most social, behavioral and academic issues.
As a school psychologist, she has assisted children with autism, ADHD, emotional disabilities, sensory issues and mild to moderate cognitive delays.
Egan's area of expertise is in behavioral issues such as, tantrums, power struggles, aggression, separation anxiety and helping parents establish authority with compassion and love; but she also has experience advising parents on effective co-parenting strategies and advocating for children within schools.
Egan spends most of her time working directly with parents, because, she says, she wants parents to take the leading role in their child's success, thus adding to their confidence.
"We as parents are often too critical of our parenting decisions, as we tend to focus on what we perceive ourselves to be doing wrong, rather than celebrating our successes," she said.
With a little guidance and perseverance, every parent can be the best parent for their child, according to Egan.
And that encompasses what Egan envisions: coaching parents to raise happy, healthy kids.
In the end, that's all most parents really want, and Egan said she believes that as long as children are treated with respect and love, and that parents remember to take care of themselves, too - they're off to a great start.