Meet Our Great Team

Rebecca Lindsay

Hon. B.A., Teacher, Parent Coach

Rebecca is an elementary school teacher and division director at an independent school in La Jolla, California and has over 20 years of experience in education. She coaches teachers using the Connected Teaching model and uses Connected Parenting in her own classroom. She provides coaching to families in the San Diego area and is the Director of Operations for Connected Parenting.

Cindy Smolkin

M.S.W., R.S.W., Parent and Child Therapist

Cindy has been working with children and families for 18 years. She has been trained in the Connected Parenting model and uses its tenets in both her private practice and her own family life. In addition to her private practice, Cindy has worked as a family therapist at Jewish Family and Child Services in Toronto and at Integra, a mental health centre for children and adolescents with learning disabilities. Cindy was a social worker at the Toronto District School Board for many years where she counseled children and families, facilitated groups, ran workshops and provided training for teachers and school administrators. Cindy is also a field supervisor for the University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work. She has worked intensively with children with special needs and has assisted parents in advocating for their children.

Cindy lives in Toronto with her two children.

Barrett Kolari

Parent and Child Therapist

Barrett has been working with children and families for over 30 years. He began his career as a Child and Youth Worker where he and Jennifer first met. He has worked integrally with Jennifer on the Connected Parenting approach and has worked with children and families using this approach for many years.
Barrett also enjoyed a long, successful career in Education. His motivation stems from his belief that each child can be successful and a team approach between the family and the school is essential.

Most of his teaching experience centered on Special Education, working with children who are Gifted and children with Behaviour difficulties and Learning Disabilities. He also worked as an Itinerant liaison for the Toronto District School Board, helping teachers to cope and manage their most difficult students. He went on to become a Vice Principal and then an Elementary Principal. As a recently retired Principal, Barrett is focusing all of his experience on Connected Parenting and it’s clients.

Lisa Seward

A.O.S., Hon BA

Lisa has an Associates Degree in the Arts (American Academy in New York City), an Honours Degree in Psychology form York University. Her experience in pioneering Drama Therapy programmes since 1986 for children with various emotional, social and behavioural needs was the springboard for founding her own ‘Saturdays only’ theatre school in 1987. The Yonge Street Players provides a creative outlet for hundreds of young children and teens in Toronto and was recipient of the YTV Comedy Award. Lisa has been in private practice since 1997 and specializes in children experiencing difficulties from Autism, Aspergers, Selective Mutism, LD & Behaviour therapy. In addition, Lisa facilitates corporate sessions in Improvisation & Creativity through TEAMWORK, a division of the theatre school since 1999.

Barbara Miller

Barbara graduated from The Institute of Child Study as well as the Masters of Social Work Program at the University of Toronto. She has worked with children and families in a variety of clinical settings over the past 20 years. Beginning her career working with children who have learning disabilities and difficulties with peer relationships, she then trained in family therapy and has worked extensively with children and adolescents and their families.

In addition to her private practice, Barbara has worked as a therapist at Integra, North York General Hospital and The George Hull Centre. She currently works at The Toronto District School Board providing consultation and counseling services to students, teachers and parents, and leads groups for children and adolescents.

She is also enjoying the many challenges of blending theory with practice in the parenting of twins.

Carolyn Agnew-Hall

Carolyn has been a Social Worker and Family Therapist in the Niagara Region for 12 years and she is now thrilled to be bringing the Connected Parenting Model to Niagara. She has been utilizing this approach for a number of years with many clients and with her own children and has much confidence in how well it works with families. Carolyn has been working at the Family Counselling Centre of Niagara for 10 years and will now be offering Connected Parenting services through her private practice.

She has an extensive background and training in the therapeutic use of Mindfulness and in Narrative Therapy and believes that these theoretical approaches work well within the context of the Connected Parenting Model. She has experience working with children, youth and adults in a variety of different social service agencies and has a special interest in parenting issues and working with children.

Carolyn lives in St. Catharines with her husband and their two young children.

Sonia Cacciacarro RPQ

As a graduate of the Transformation Arts College of Spiritual and Holistic Training (TAC), Sonia is a Registered Psychotherapist. Sonia’s signature approach integrates a balance of holistic and conventional modalities, equipping her clients with the life altering resources and heightened perceptual awareness to thrive in a world that is immersed with modern day challenges.
Sonia’s deep passion for supporting parents, educators and children, has her committed to a lifelong journey of learning, immersing her into a myriad of teachings. Sonia is a trained Connected Parenting Therapist mentored directly under the wing of Jennifer Kolari, MSW, RSW, founder and author of “Connected Parenting”. Sonia truly offers a beautiful blend of expertise, placing her in a unique position to support her clients from a space of deep empathy, connection, and compassion as she inspires and celebrates their own ability to succeed.

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Jennifer's Books


From reccurring power struggles and sleep issues to food fights and sibling rivalry, Connected Parenting offers expert advice and solutions for issues families deal with every day.

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Imagine that there is a medication you could administer to your teens that would help regulate their moods, increase their sense of trust, and improve their overall brain function…

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As a practicing paediatrician

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.

Dr Till Davy
FRCP(c), FAAP, Honorary Consultant, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Associate Professor of Paediatrics, University of Toronto

With Connected Parenting

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.

John T. Kanegaye
MD, FAAP, FACEP Division of Emergency Medicine, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

Funny, warm, and fresh

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

Tish Cohen
bestselling author of Inside Out Girl and Townhouse

Connected Parenting

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.

Michael Kearns
Senior Producer, CBC News: Sunday/Sunday Night

Jennifer Kolari provides us with a clear-minded view

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.

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
Co-Author, The Whole-Brain Child and Parenting from the Inside Out; Author, Mindsight and The Developing Mind , Executive Director, Mindsight Institute Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine

I will never forget the telephone conversation

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.

Dr. Till Davy
Honorary Consultant, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

Connected parenting works!

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!

Dr.Sue Ball
Ph.D., C. Psych.

A Must Read for Parents!

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

Reading this book

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.

Dr. Daphna Grossman
MD, CCFP (em), FCFP

If you too agonize

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.

Susan Ormiston
Broadcaster, CBC, The National

Jennifer Kolari has taken her exceptional gifts

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.

Pauline Pariser
MASc, MD, CCFP, FCFP

Connected Parenting

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.

Sarah Stirtz
Registered Nurse, Salina, Kansas

How you respond to your child

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.

Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D.
author of Stop the Screaming: How to Turn Angry Conflict with Your Child into Positive Communication

All the secrets are revealed

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.

Dr. Marvin Gelkopf
MD, CCF, FCFP, Assistant Professor

Who to be as parents

Doctor Gabor Maté

“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.

Gabor Maté
M.D.

I began reading Connected Parenting

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.

Dr. Pat Bucci
Educational Consultant

I have known Jennifer Kolari

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.

Dr. Alisa Kenny Bridgman
C. Psych., Child and Adolescent Psychologist

Kolari helps parents

Kolari helps parents understand complicated teen brain chemistry and offers practical parenting advice that is respectful and effective

Alyson Schafer
author of Honey I Wrecked the Kids

Sometimes we try so hard

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.

Debra DeBiasse
M.D., FAAP, Salina Regional Health Center, Salina, Kansas

Have a teenager?

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

Michele Borba
Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions

You’re Ruining My Life! 

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.

Howard Glasser
author of Transforming the Difficult Child