Brainz Magazine Exclusive Interview
Kari Kling is a globally recognized educator, counselor, parent coach, speaker, author and now creator/host of her own weekly and global TV show dedicated to parenting, Parenting GPS: Navigating Your Parenting Journey. Kari states that the job title she values the most is being ‘Mom’ to her twenty-one-year-old twins. After 40 years of working professionally with children and their families, Kari now ponders this point: As adults, we maintain our homes, our cars, our electronics and so much more, but when and how do we maintain our parenting? Being a parent in today’s world requires ever-changing knowledge and strategies to guide us through different stages of child development, family relationships, and various situations that may be encountered on one’s parenting journey.
Life in 2023 is busy and so many families seem to live a life ‘on the run’ as they scramble to get to ‘the next thing’ on their daily schedules. Many times, there seems to be an unspoken expectation amongst parents that they are always supposed to know what to do, feel judged about their children’s behavior, worry about their children’s grades, social lives and mental health, while consistently wondering if they are doing enough. It can feel exhausting. Kari Kling believes it’s time that the parents of the world have quality resources at their fingertips to be able to find support and guidance on a variety of parenting topics. That’s why she created Parenting GPS: Navigating Your Parenting Journey.
Kari, what does being featured on the weekly cover of Brainz Magazine in recognition of International Mothers’ Day mean to you?
Being recognized on behalf of the mothers of the world on this International Mother’s Day is truly one of the most valued honors of my life. I’d like to use this experience to honor mothers everywhere. Whether you are a mom who gave birth to her children, a mom who has fostered/adopted a child, or find yourself in a ‘mom role’ in another capacity, we are all connected. I believe that no matter what country in the world a mother lives in, what language she speaks, or what religion she practices, when our babies cry or we know they are hurting, all of us feel this pain in our souls. The connected heartstrings of all mothers are an unspoken and universal bond that we share.
How do you feel about being a mother and what have you learned?
Being a mother to my twenty-one-year-old twin boys has been the most cherished role of my life. It’s also been a challenging one at times, because no matter who you are, one’s parenting life will include uncertainty and unexpected obstacles with problems to be solved. Expect the unexpected and know that this is part of the journey. Everyone is busy and there are only so many hours in a day. Prioritize spending quality time with your children over buying them ‘things.’
Tell us more about your professional journey and how you became a TV show host for a global and weekly show dedicated to parenting, Parenting GPS: Navigating Your Parenting Journey.
When I was five years old, I decided that I would become a teacher and I never veered from that decision for even one day of my life. As a child, I wanted to be the teacher on Romper Room, a TV show for children that was really the first online classroom. I wanted to help kids by being the teacher of the world. Through the years, I strived to deepen my knowledge and abilities by earning a Master’s Degree of Education in Counseling, through my various professional positions, and through my writing. No matter how large the size of an audience I was able to reach, I always believed that I could do more.
Last year, Rick Amato of Your America TV, happened to see one of my articles that I wrote on the subject of parenting for Brainz Magazine. Rick contacted me and invited me to be a guest on his TV show, which later developed into the opportunity to create and host my own weekly, global television show dedicated to parenting. This has genuinely been a dream come true and I am very grateful to Rick for this opportunity to serve parents and families everywhere.
The goal of creating and hosting Parenting GPS: Navigating Your Parenting Journey is to provide parents and families with the ‘parenting tools’ to be the kind of parents that they always wanted to be, even if there are enormous challenges. Each week, I invite a different guest expert to join me on the show. Some of our show topics so far include: “I’m Just A Kid With An IEP,” “Building Better Brains,” “Why Can’t You JUST Behave?,” “Autism and Chronic Illness: Recovery is Possible,” “Managing Anxiety with Young Children,” “Building Brains with Music,” “Kidvestors,” and so much more! The final segment of each show is titled, “Your Parenting Destination,” which is where my guest expert answers questions from our viewers. I’d like to invite anyone reading this article to watch and share it with your friends.
What drives you to be so passionate about what you do?
Parenting may be the most important, rewarding, yet challenging role we may ever have and it often comes with little preparation or training. Whether we like it or not, as parents…WE are our child’s first teachers. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, yet so many parents may feel they are supposed to know what to do in every situation. Parenting in today’s world is complicated and in numerous instances, many parents may not be sure where to turn for guidance. Additionally, so many parents wait until there is a crisis to seek professional intervention and support. I encourage parents not to wait and this is where my show can be beneficial.
What are all of the ways that you can support and provide guidance to parents and families?
I’m able to provide support and guidance via my new global TV show, Parenting GPS: Navigating Your Parenting Journey, available to watch on Roku on the Your America TV channel and soon to be on Amazon Fire and Apple TV. I'm thrilled to share the exciting news that my show has already been picked up by another network and news about this will be posted on my website as soon as it happens. All episodes of Parenting GPS, along with informative articles and videos, may also be accessed on my website. Additionally, I host one-to-one virtual parent coaching sessions and teach online classes. My parenting content may also be found on social media.
What do you see as one of the biggest challenges for mothers (and fathers) today?
Most parents are trying to do the impossible; juggle their jobs and adult responsibilities with the schedules of their children, while trying to provide nutritional meals, be on time for the carpool, help children with their homework, make the soccer practice and so much more. We live in a complex world and it’s really a daily challenge, especially when we consider what all of us dealt with over the past three years with COVID.
I encourage parents to try not to feel the pressure of having their child involved in too many structured activities and have more time for family. Encourage spontaneous imaginary play, allow children the opportunity to be bored so that they may spark their creative passions, make time to sit and simply listen to your child, and be okay with everything not being exactly the way you think it should be. Don’t let the picture-perfect images of other people’s families on social media make you feel inferior. Comparison is the thief of joy and these perceptions probably don’t represent reality anyway.
If you had a message for the mothers of the world, what would it be?
The biggest message I’d like to share with the mothers and grandmothers of the world is this. There is no such thing as a perfect mom and your kids don’t need you to be perfect. All of us make mistakes, so please try not to be too hard on yourself. Take a deep breath and don’t sweat the small stuff. Let go of the things that you can’t control, take care of your health, and focus on spending as much time as you can with your children and family. It may sound simplistic, but play with your kids a little more. Turn off the screens, go outside and run around with your kids, build a fort with blankets, sing, and dance with your children and feel the joy. If you have teenagers, keep talking to them and try to find a connection about what they're interested in. Write your children a love letter and tell them how much you adore them.
Reinforce how their kindness, effort, caring, perseverance, etc. is noticed and how it is helping them to become a better person, help their family, their community and the world. Encourage your child to be proud of themselves and not always look outwardly for external validation. It’s important that our kids know that we are proud of them, but it’s also vital that they learn to feel proud of themselves too. Our kids really do grow up so quickly and we can’t get these days back. It’s an old cliché, but I encourage each person reading this to remember to “enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things.”