Issues and Answers
How does Connected Parenting work?
Borrowing from therapy techniques, the Connected Parenting method empowers parents to use mirroring and empathy to attune to their child or teen’s feelings. This helps to set limits, shift negative behaviours and avoid ugly power struggles.
What makes it different from other parenting methods?
Many parenting methods teach how important it is to listen to your children and to be empathic. But what is often not taught is how to be empathic and how to move beyond empathy to correct difficult or unacceptable behaviors. The whole point of Connected Parenting is to empathize not only so that your child will feel safe and understood, but also so that you, the parent, will be better able to guide his or her behavior.
Many of us think we already know how to be empathic, but, as easy as it sounds, being empathic and listening well are very difficult skills, requiring practice, patience, thoughtfulness, and a non-defensive stance. This is extremely difficult to maintain when you are hurt or angry. In addition, empathy, in and of itself, isn’t enough. We also need to know what to do next. Once we’ve empathized with a child’s anger, frustration, or anxiety, how do we go on to make him understand that the coping behaviors he or she is using are not acceptable and will not serve him well? In short, how do we get him to change?
Connected Parenting will take you that crucial extra step and provide you with a blueprint for creating positive change
What types of children does Connected Parenting work for?
Connected Parenting offers a loving and effective way to parent all children and teenagers. For those children and teens with more extreme emotional or behavioural challenges, these techniques are even more important as they help lower anxiety, promote better impulse control and improve self-esteem. Connected Parenting strengthens children from the inside out so they can better manage whatever comes their way.
Where can I learn more about Connected Parenting?
For more information about Connected Parenting, check out our blog or, for a detailed description of the Connected Parenting program, buy the book.
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.
Jennifer Kolari provides us with a clear-minded view of how to create and continue an open, attuned relationship with our children while they move through important and at times tumultuous transition from childhood to adulthood called adolescence. You’re Ruining My Life!” (But Not Really): Surviving the Teenage Years with Connected Parenting is an accessible and often entertaining guide to understanding the importance of communication in the parent-child relationship and how changes in the teen’s brain can make loving, supportive connection difficult to maintain. Filled with practical steps and memorable stories, the insights of Kolari’s important book will help the busy parent both survive and thrive through these crucial and challenging times.
I began reading Connected Parenting on my flight to Vancouver Island to bid a final farewell to a dear friend who was suddenly diagnosed with a rapidly advancing terminal cancer. My attention was admittedly divided between the words on the page and my apprehension of how I was going to handle myself with her and her loved ones. I arrived a few hours too late; my friend had passed away. The next few days I spent with the family were much less difficult than I had anticipated. In retrospect, I realized why. The teachings in Jennifer’s book – deep listening, validation, the CALM technique – became wisdom and transformative in their impact, as I engaged in ‘very connected conversations’ that honoured relationships, empathy, and respect.
As the world turns and its movement becomes more frenzied, parents and teachers are the only two forces left who are entrusted with society’s greatest responsibility – to raise children into ethical, moral, and efficacious young adults. We need all the help we can get! Jennifer offers us the means to achieve the delicate balance between teaching and guiding our children while resisting the impulse to want to control them. She achieves this through a healthy sprinkle of success stories, well-researched foundation for brain-compatible approaches, and an abundance of common sense.
Connected parenting works! This is more than a book on parenting, it is a blueprint for understanding healthy communication for all relationships! These techniques have become a way of life for our family and have helped me both professionally and as a parent. It will change your life for the better!
Kolari helps parents understand complicated teen brain chemistry and offers practical parenting advice that is respectful and effective
You’re Ruining My Life! provides impressive guidance for parents of challenging children. With great kindness and compassion and wonderful clarity she helps parents to organize their responses and reconnect to their teens in ways that that will give them renewed hope.
I will never forget the telephone conversation when Jennifer Kolari told me with great excitement that she had discovered—to her surprise! —that her technique of Connected Parenting worked, not just for young children for whom she had originally developed it, but that it was extraordinarily successful for teenagers as well.
The result of this discovery is You’re Ruining my Life!, an indispensable guide for parents who may need more than intuition to help their teenagers thrive in an often challenging phase of development.
How you respond to your child is how your child learns to respond to you. Focus on control when the child is oppositional or upset, and power struggles are likely to ensue. Focus on empathy, however, as Jennifer Kolari advocates, and concern for the child will encourage cooperation from the child, enabling the possibility for constructive change.
I have known Jennifer Kolari for several years and have sent a number of children and families to her for therapy. I have worked with a number of clinicians in several children’s mental health agencies and clinics and have found Jennifer’s style and techniques to be among the very best. She has been able to effect change in the most complex families, with children who have ‘been through the system’ and been exposed to a myriad of clinicians and treatment approaches, none of which proved effective for them. With her approachable, warm, composed demeanor, and brilliant clinical skills, she has been able to connect with these parents and children, work closely with them, and make the family unit function again. The skills and techniques highlighted in this book are going to prove effective for parents and professionals alike. The concepts are sound, theoretically based, and truly work. This book is going to be required reading in any subsequent courses I teach on child and adolescent psychotherapy.
Connected Parenting is the ultimate survival guide for families. Jennifer’s methods restore the trust, respect and affection that difficult behaviours can undermine, while helping to manage those same behaviours with original, fresh techniques. Parents will see how their relationships with their children can be repaired and strengthened in ways they may have thought were impossible.
Connected Parenting has changed how I interact with my son in such a positive way. More importantly, I see how mirroring is a lifelong tool that is essential in every relationship.
Reading this book is like being in a private therapy session with Jennifer Kolari. Real life scenarios are described. We are given the words to use when we face typical difficult parenting situations. Staying calm and using the CALM technique truly makes a difference in the life of the child and the life of the family. The mirroring method that is taught byConnected Parenting and is described in this book is very powerful and very effective. Now parents can have unlimited access to the excellent Connected Parenting techniques described in this book.
As a practicing paediatrician, I have had the privilege of observing the success of Jennifer Kolari’s therapeutic techniques over many years. Now that these techniques are available in this book, I will be recommending Connected Parenting to every parent who brings their infant to my office.
With Connected Parenting, Jennifer Kolari provides a novel approach to parenting the challenging child. Her CALM approach (connect, affect, listen, mirror) is not necessarily instinctive for most parents. Instead of starting with advice on changing behavior, she begins with the more fundamental task of rebuilding frayed relationships and understanding the emotions behind the unwanted behaviors. Ms. Kolari uses mirroring, a therapy technique, as a strategic form of parental communication. The mirroring approach takes practice but accomplishes several important goals; it makes the child feel understood, diffuses emotions, and leads to opportunities for repair. Incorporated into the relationship with one’s child, the technique has long-lasting effects on the child’s behavior. Although Ms. Kolari directs her work toward the relationship with the challenging child, the lessons learned can be applied to all relationships. Connected Parenting is compelling reading for any parent who has been challenged by the relationship with his or her child.
Funny, warm, and fresh, Kolari’s Connected Parenting is, hands down, the most effective parenting system of our generation. This book will bring out the very best in your child. Put simply, this book changed my life
If you too agonize—Why can’t he just say ‘okay mommy’, this book is for you. An extra challenging child is a gift; Jennifer Kolari helps you learn how to cherish it. Her empathetic ‘mirroring’ strategy works on the most wound up child—even on husbands! And now it’s in print, so we can’t forget the techniques. Jennifer Kolari helped steer us toward more effective parenting of the challenging child, so we could focus on the joyful gifts rather than the problems. If you need a reason to read it, turn to the back page—and Kolari’s poignant questions: What do I want my children to remember about their childhood? And, even scarier, What do I want my children to remember about me? Parenting doesn’t come with a textbook—Connected Parenting is close to it.
Jennifer Kolari has taken her exceptional gifts as a child therapist and made them accessible to a wider audience. More than any other parenting book I have read, Connected Parentingoffers parents a framework by which they can demonstrate and communicate a deep understanding of their child’s inner emotional life. Calming your child and in particular mirroring, are much more than mere techniques. These are the building blocks of loving, enduring relationships.
Have a teenager? Then I highly recommend this book. Jennifer Kolari’s CALM techniques to connect with your teen are not only simple but based on cutting-edge research
All the secrets are revealed in Connected Parenting. These are the keys to unlock the barriers that exist between parents and children. For parents, educators and Family Medicine residents, Jennifer Kolari’s first book should be required reading. The tools are invaluable, but most importantly, they are effective and behavioural change will successfully occur.
Sometimes we try so hard to be the perfect parent, and put so much effort into it that we can’t get out of our own way. Jennifer Kolari shows us ways to deal with our children that are so simple and yet so brilliant it’s like magic. If you are a parent, know a parent, or are planning to become a parent, you need this book. As a pediatrician for nearly 20 years and the mother of four children, I can honestly say I wish I’d had this book before my first child was born, it would have made life so much easier. The techniques in this book can be effectively applied to a 2 year old or a 20 year old, and that’s the beauty of Connected Parenting.
“Connected Parents” 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 behavioral solutions, but on building warm, nurturing relationship with our children, with insight and compassion not only for their little flaws, but also for our own larger ones.