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Mom, Parent Coach, Educator, Speaker, Author – Exclusive Interview With Kari Kling

Kari Kling, M.Ed., Parent Coach


Kari’s 40 years of experience as an internationally recognized educator, counselor, parent coach, and author/speaker has given her the expertise to guide thousands of parents to reach their parenting goals. Kari’s solid understanding of how we behave and learn is grounded in neuroscience.


Kari is a sought-after keynote and featured speaker for national and international conferences. She loves to meet and work with parents and their families in her home state of Arizona, nationally and globally.


Kari states that her most powerful learning experience about parenting has been being the mom to her 20-year-old twin boys, as they have been her greatest teachers.


You can email Kari to learn more about her parent coaching services at: kari@karikling.com

or check out her website and social media.

Kari Kling, Parent Coach


Kari, you’re an internationally recognized parenting expert with 40 years of experience. You’ve successfully guided thousands of families to have more positive relationships and learning outcomes with their children, ultimately leading to less stress and happier lives. How do you see your purpose in your role working with so many families?


Parenting may be the most important and difficult job we will ever have and it often comes with little preparation or training. So many parents feel that they are expected to know how to parent effectively about every situation and yet they just don’t. Nobody knows how to handle every parenting situation, which is normal and there’s no need to feel shame about that. I believe there is an expectation in most cultures that we are just supposed to know how to react and that professional help may not be sought until there is a crisis. I’m on a mission to change that way of thinking.


My purpose as a parent coach is to listen carefully to the parents’ current challenges, needs and goals for their family and then to suggest strategies, while explaining why certain behaviors may be happening. Then, I will work together with the parent(s) to create a step-by-step plan to achieve their goals. Follow up sessions to provide feedback about how the strategies are working, to clarify and possibly redirect, are all a part of my parent coaching process.


What type of background do you have that enables you to support and guide so many families on their parenting journey?


When I work with families, I draw from my 40 years of knowledge and experience as a classroom teacher, international education consultant, counselor, speaker and author. My foundation of knowledge is all grounded in neuroscience about how we behave, communicate and learn. Additionally, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education, as well as a Masters’ of Education in Counseling. Most importantly, my deepest learning has been being a mom to my 20-year-old twin boys.


When did you know that this was what you wanted to do with your life?


This may sound a bit crazy, but I knew when I was just five years old that I wanted to be a teacher and ‘helper’ who worked with families. Even when I was a child, I wanted to work with children and their families. This passion has never waivered and has only become stronger with each passing year.


I’ve never really heard of a ‘parent coach’ before. Is this a new area of coaching?


Yes, the field of ‘Parent Coaching’ is a relatively new one and is emerging as a game changer for parents to gain support for a variety of parenting issues. Most of us simply parent the way that we were parented and we may not even be sure why we do what we do.


Incorporating the role of a parent coach into your family’s lives can guide you in achieving your parenting goals without yelling, fighting, and feeling like you’re saying the same things over and over to your children. If you have ever felt overwhelmed, frustrated or exhausted by parenting, you are not alone and a parent coach can help immensely.


As a parent coach, what are the types of topics you focus on with parents?


In my coaching practice, I support and guide parents to help their children in the following areas:

  • Behavioral or Learning issues

  • Turning ‘discipline’ into a positive, teachable moment

  • Sibling Rivalry

  • Parent/Child relationships

  • Support with providing structure in routines

  • Understanding emotional/social development

  • Enrichment

  • Homework issues

  • Self-esteem

  • Increasing attention and responsibility

  • How to handle a hardship (divorce, illness, death of a loved one)

  • Screen time battles

  • Childhood stress

  • Transitions

  • Communication

  • Other various personalized parenting/topics

How is parent coaching different from therapy?

Psychotherapists diagnose and treat mental health conditions such as depression, schizophrenia or if thoughts of self-harm are present. The role of a parent coach is just that, of a coach.


What are your top 3 parenting tips for children of all ages?

  1. Keep yourself calm, don’t try to deescalate a situation (unless safety is an immediate issue) until you and your child have both calmed down.

  2. Emphasize the positive and tell your child the ‘why’ something is so. For example, instead of simply saying “Great job,” try: “Thank you for emptying the dishwasher. This helps our family take care of our home and work as a team.” Finish it off by stating, “You must be so proud of yourself and I’m so proud of you too.”

  3. Pick your battles and try to ignore minor inappropriate behaviors. It is important to remember that the behaviors which receive the most attention are the behaviors you’ll see more of. I promise…

Should your children be a certain age before consulting a parent coach?


It’s never too early or too late to engage with a parent coach. Many parents have begun working with a coach and sharing their parenting/family goals BEFORE a problem arises. This way, they have a plan in place and may easily resolve a situation after just a session or two.


Investing our time and efforts into our families may be one of the most valued investments of our lifetime that can have lasting impact for generations. I believe being a parent is the most important job in the world. The parenting journey isn’t always an easy one, but by giving yourself the gift of professional support and guidance along the way, parenting can feel much less overwhelming, frustrating and much more enjoyable. The best part is that your children will grow up in an emotionally healthy environment while learning to form positive relationships and communication, and experiencing successful learning outcomes. These patterns of healthy behavior and learning will most likely be repeated when your children become parents themselves because they will become your child’s ‘norm.’


All of us are coming out of a two-year pandemic. Our children have dealt with many disappointments and have missed out on what we think about as ‘normal’ milestones of childhood. What suggestions might you have for a parent who is concerned about this?


Yes, so many families are still concerned with the impact the pandemic may have had on their children. Some parents are concerned that their children are not where they should be academically, socially or emotionally. My first suggestion to parents is to focus on your child’s social/emotional health as the academic goals can be achieved a bit later, if necessary. It’s important to remember that just because your children may not be verbalizing about disappointments or feeling anxiety about a given situation, doesn’t mean that they may not be experiencing those emotions. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open.


You’ve offered us many insights here. Is there anything else that you would like to offer our readers?


Yes, I’d like to invite your readers to visit my website www.karikling.com and receive my complimentary graphic, “Power Thinking.” This graphic provides a visual for children about possible steps needed to reach any goal. It’s very effective!


While on my website, readers may also sign up for my free monthly newsletter, filled with positive parenting tips and opportunities.


Additionally, I offer a complimentary online consultation with interested parents to learn more about each other and their goals before moving forward in a coaching relationship. Parents who are interested may send me an email and I’ll be happy to get back to them. Kari, it will be obvious to our readers that you truly enjoy your work as a parent coach. Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know about you?


Yes, I do love my work as a parent coach and feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with thousands of families over the years. It brings me enormous joy to know that even the smallest ‘tweak’ in the way a parent may react to a troublesome situation with their child can make a very positive difference for the long-term.


In closing, we are all living in very complicated times that most of us could never have imagined more than two years ago. Even without the pandemic, parenting can feel overwhelming and leave us wondering how to handle various situations. Working with a qualified parent coach can empower parents to create ongoing success within their families while increasing their own peace, feel more in control, and deepen their relationships with their children to last a lifetime.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


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