Meet the Therapists – Kelly Parisa

I am the mother of two teenage daughters, ages 17 and 15. They have taught me the most about life, love and, of course, the challenges and joys of parenthood. I am humbled and awed every day. I am fortunate to share this privilege and job of parenting with their dad, my husband of 20 years, Ted.

I have worked with families and children for 3 decades. Initially, I began my work in Special Education with students ranging from preschool to adulthood. That took me into Case Management/Social Work at San Diego Regional Center where I had the opportunity to carry caseloads and advocate for families affected by the challenges of having a family member with developmental disabilities. I currently work with an agency that provides services (behavior intervention, academic supports, social skills and parent training) for children and families affected by autism spectrum disorders. The families I have worked with number in the 100’s and dare I say, probably near 1000 over my entire career.

My philosophy is one that embraces treating the child as normally as possible, taking into account the challenges, but not letting the challenges define the child. I believe in embracing the “normalness” of age-appropriate behaviors (i.e. tantrums, not sharing, etc.) and helping parents to respond as they would to a typical child and “celebrate” that many of their behaviors are typical and not symptoms of a diagnosis or label.

I first encountered Connected Parenting while working at The Children’s School in La Jolla as a Behavior and Learning coach for a student with Asperger’s Syndrome. I was fortunate to spend a year in the 3rd grade with classroom teacher, Rebecca Lindsay. Rebecca’s sister, Jennifer Kolari, is the founder of Connected Parenting and when she decided to expand her practice to California I was honored to be asked to join her team of associates as a Parent Coach. Having truly felt a passion for touching lives through my previous parent training opportunities, I jumped at the chance to join something I so whole-heartedly agreed with and believed in.

It’s a rare exception to find a parent who doesn’t want, with all their heart, to be the best parent they can be to their children. It’s also a rare exception (never met one) to find a parent who doesn’t doubt, struggle and wish that they knew more, had do-overs, and ached to be better.

Through Parent Coaching it is my desire and passion to help moms and dads learn how to be the parents they have always wanted to be. I love giving them hope and ways in which to truly make a difference in the connections, bonds and daily interactions with their children and their entire family.

Who better to reach out to a child and let them know, “I get you”, “You really matter”, “I want the best for you”, and “I love you enough to say, ‘no’ right now” than the parents themselves?

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Please remember that the advice given on this blog is not meant to replace medical advice or the direct advice of a mental health care professional.
"Connected Parenting advises us not just how to parent, but—far more important—who to be as parents. The therapeutic methods suggested by Jennifer Kolari are based not on simple-minded behavioural solutions, but on building warm, nurturing relationships with our children, with insight and compassion not only for their little flaws, but also for our own larger ones."
—Gabor Maté, M.D.

"A must read for parents, educators, and any other adults who want to connect in a deeply caring and positive way with the children in their lives."
—Barbara Coloroso