Hi, I’m Karen

I believe choosing connection is the key to more peace, calm and joy in family life – and that rethinking parenting is the key to lasting social change and a more peaceful world.

Karen Netzel

As a relationship-focused parent and family coach, philologist, linguist, blogger, mum of a teen and preteen twins, I offer new perspectives on parenting and challenging behaviours, and help parents find new ways to connect with their kids and build strong relationships.

In my coaching and courses, I help parents understand their children’s behaviour – and their own! -, create connection, as well as cultivate empathy and trust in their everyday parenting. My clients seek me out because they want to do it differently, to rethink conventional parenting practices and invest in the relationship they have with their child.

What I believe

  • As a philologist and linguist, I’ve always been driven to understand human behaviour and the way people interact with one another. If you want more peace, calm and joy in family life, I can offer you a change in perspective: from power struggles, frustration and overwhelm to more connection, the confidence to handle the challenges of everyday parenting and build a strong relationship with your child.
  • Be the parent you want to be: Conventional parenting practices such as punishments and rewards affect your relationship with your child and their healthy development. There’s a different way. Let’s explore how!
  • “Every day is a new opportunity for connection”: This is my motto and I believe it’s never too late to do it differently, start over and set your relationship with your child on a new course.
  • If we want to raise compassionate kids, kids need to experience compassion in our parenting. Our expectations of our kids cannot be higher than our expectations of ourselves. Kids grow up to be healthy, capable, independent, responsible, confident and empathic adults when they have connected relationships with parents and trusted adults who are self-aware and responsible – and willing to see and value each individual child for who they are. That’s why I believe it’s time to rethink conventional parenting practices, choose connection and build strong relationships.

My vision is to create lasting social change and a more peaceful world through rethinking parenting, choosing connection, and breaking with the social conditioning that upholds social injustice.

  • Parenting is political: The way we parent our kids is what they will one day carry out with them out into the world. If you feel like you belong, you’ll welcome others. If you feel seen, heard and understood, you’ll show empathy. If you have a healthy sense of self-worth, you are less likely to seek self-affirmation in authoritarianism.
  • I want to help you learn to understand your children’s behaviour better – and your own! To experience more connection, ease and joy in family life, as well as to find peaceful and respectful ways for handling difficult situations and conflicts in your everyday parenting. I want you to be able to lovingly accept yourself for who you are, to parent from a place of connection, with confidence and grace, through all stages of your child’s development, as well as to walk your own path and be true to yourself.
  • My vision is lasting social change and a more peaceful world through rethinking parenting and choosing connection. I want to see a change in the way we think about children and the parent-child relationship that takes into account everything we know from the science about how children grow and learn, that understands children as partners in the relationship, and enables them to grow up physically and emotionally healthy and capable. I want to create awareness about adultism and advocate connection, consent and cooperation in parenting.
  • I’m a hopeful optimist, believe that it is never too late to learn new things, and that there is always a solution to be found to every problem. There’s a lot I still want to do in my life and I also believe that having fun, a sense of humour and laughing together builds connection and reduces overwhelm in everyday family life and parenting.

Let’s grow together!

I’d love to stay in touch. If you want to keep up to date with what’s going on with me, be the first to hear about new projects and the courses I’m currently offering, sign up for my email updates here 

My journey

From reading Jane Austen as a teenager, to my languages degree and a passion for travel and cultures, I’ve always been fascinated by relationships and how people interact with each other. I was born and grew up in England, and now live in Germany with my husband and three children. Our children are growing up with two languages, across different countries and cultures.

After my degree, I worked as a translator, trainer and consultant in my second home country, Germany, and in Europe, in knowledge management, communication and learning in a large global corporation. Then I became a mum to three wonderful children, a son and twin daughters born less than two years apart. Since then, I’ve been had the privilege of being in parent-child relationships as a parent first hand.

Choose connection over coercion

Champion consent and cultivate cooperation

Shift from reacting to responding

Go for intention over perfection

My journey has taken me via attachment parenting, peaceful and respectful parenting, gentle parenting, unschooling, non-violent communication and the basic understanding that children are people too, who grow up best when securely attached, as partners in a peaceful relationship and home, with connection, respect and trust.

Me & the kiddos on the beach at Morro Bay

As a mum of a teen and preteen twins, I know both the joys and challenges of being a parent. I understand the questions parents have who want a strong and loving relationship with their child, who are looking for peaceful and respectful ways to balance the needs of all family members – and find everyday parenting hard. I ask myself the same questions – every day! I also know how family coaching can help with getting a fresh perspective, becoming peaceful and parenting with confidence and trust.

When parents tell me about their experiences after coaching or one of my courses, I’m reminded of why I do what I do: I love hearing about how much connection, confidence and joy parents and children experience in family life, where they were previously struggling with power struggles, frustration and overwhelm.

I’ve been working as an online parent and family coach since 2017 and have had the privilege to support families around the world. You can read what other parents say about my coaching and courses here.

Map of the world showing the countries from which Karen Netzel has worked with clients.

Fun facts about me

  • I love children and believe that conventional beliefs around parenting and discipline do us all more harm than good. In my work, I focus on empathy, a peaceful, respectful, connection and consent-based, gentle and conscious approach to parenting and (family) life. Good for kids, good for parents, good for society and good for the world.

  • I was born in England, where I grew up near the sea, which is my most favourite place in the world and my go-to place when I need to tank up on energy and centre myself.

  • I came to Germany as a young graduate and married a German. My passion for languages, different countries and cultures goes back to my school days, when I learned and then studied languages. Now I get to live my linguist-self’s dream, see my kids grow up bilingually and be a part of the adventure that is family life across two languages, countries and cultures.

  • I love doing jigsaw puzzles. First the edge pieces, then fill in from there. That’s why I love my work. Looking at what’s happening on the outside (typically a particular behaviour or habit), then starting to piece together what’s on the inside (beliefs, feelings and emotional needs). The edges provide a framework for understanding what’s on the inside and how it all fits together. It’s so satisfying to see the full picture take shape.

  • As a student, I had a string of different jobs to finance my studies. Most satisfying was working with children on a Sports R Us holiday programme. This work not only saw me through my next term at college but it was so rewarding to see how the young people who arrived sullen and often aggressive in the mornings would blossom throughout the day once they experienced that someone was interested in them, accepted them for who they were, spent time with them and valued them as part of the team.

  • I’m a Harry Potter fan and lucky enough that my kids and husband are too. We once spent the whole day from first admission to gates closing at Universal Harry Potter World casting spells and drinking butter beer in Diagon Alley.

  • A Find your perfect job quiz at school concluded I should be a librarian. Looking at my bookshelves and the number of books I have today, this may not have been so far off. I have a unique collection of Jane Austen, 18th century French philosophers, 20th century modernists, dictionaries, travel guides, Harry Potter, self development and neuroscience, parenting, as well as everything Brené Brown writes.

  • I’ve been a full-time working professional in a global corporation, a part-time working mum and a stay-at-home mum. Today I’m a business owner and work-from-home mum. We don’t have grandparents or extended family living near us and I know the reality of work-family-life balance, being a parent and family without a big family network close by.

  • Alliance for Self-Directed Education member badge: self-directed.org

    I’m passionate about learning, self-directed education and changing the paradigm in adult-child relationships in educational settings. As a family, we’re active in the community of the self-directed school our kids attend and through my work, I’m proud to support the Alliance for Self-Directed Education.

  • I love to travel. I’ve been lucky enough to see some beautiful places in our world. I love being in nature and in big cities. London’s my home and Berlin’s like visiting a good friend. Travelling with my children is one of my greatest joys and I have a very long list of places I still want to see in my lifetime.

  • I love my work! I love connecting with people, sharing stories and experiences, and I love the science and research that is so important when it comes to understanding our kids and ourselves, how our brains work, what emotional well-being means for our health (and the health of our society). I love seeing the difference it can make to people’s lives – parents, families, their kids and ultimately humankind – when we change the way we parent and enable each and every one of us to lead peaceful, intentional, fulfilling and joyful lives.

Does that sound like something you want too?

Join me!

My blog

On my blog, I write about rethinking parenting, connection, peace, calm and joy in parent-child relationships and family life. I also share personal stories and experiences from my life, including reviews of past days, months and sometimes years :-)

Here are some of my personal blog posts:

A midlife review: 45 things about me

By |16/06/2021|PERSONAL|

Today’s my birthday. At 23.11 - or 11.11 pm, which somehow sounds more magical :-) - I turn 45. [...]

Karen Netzel’s Bio

As a relationship-focused parent and family coach and blogger, Karen advocates rethinking parenting, through choosing connection, championing consent and cultivating cooperation in families and education.

For over 20 years – from her studies in Modern Languages at the University of Cambridge, England and at the Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg, Germany, to her work as a translator, trainer, consultant and project manager in knowledge management, communication and learning in a large global corporation – human relationships, behaviour and personal development have been the focus of Karen’s work.

As a mum of a teen and preteen twins born less than two years apart, she has had the privilege of shifting that focus to parenting and family relationships, experiencing the joys and challenges as a parent, as well as building deeply connected parent-child relationships firsthand.

In 2019, she completed her educational-psychological training and was certified as an attachment and relationship-oriented parent and family coach with a thesis on sibling rivalry.

Karen was born in the UK and now lives in Germany with her husband, three children and two cats. Karen’s children are growing up with two languages, across different countries and cultures. Besides her work, she loves spending time with her children, travelling, running, and learning new things. She loves ice cream and chocolate cake, especially when vegan, and dreams of a house by the sea.

Training and qualifications:

Read here

Find me on social:

What other parents say about working with me

The transition from primary school to high school, in parallel to quarantine, reduced working hours and having building work done, pushed me to my limits with my two children. Now I reflect more than before and can see the needs behind the behaviour. After the first sparks fly, I’m able shift into an empathic response relatively quickly. It’s worth it and the course fee is better invested than in buying new clothes.

Katja, two daughters (5 & 10 yrs)

Our meeting was so, so fabulous, and I’ve found the paradigm shifts that we discussed really informing my mindset during some challenging behaviors/emotional states that have come up around the end of the school year!  So fantastic!

Chrissy, a daughter (6 yrs) in Washington, DC

The course was very valuable for me. After just one module, I was able to see our daily routine and the way our child was behaving in a different light. I could see why she was behaving in that way and understand what she really needed. We made a small adjustment to our daily routine, which had the big effect that now I and my kids can start our day less stressed, happier and feeling more connected to each other.

Saša, two children (4 & 1 yrs)

It feels like we – my son and I – have less battles following the course. I always try to keep in mind that he wants to cooperate with me and that opens up other perspectives: to stop for a moment, respond to my child, see what’s going on with him, see his feelings, just to enjoy him….

Tanja, a son (3 yrs)

I realised I’d tended to leave the relationships with our children to my wife. I wanted to change that and understand my children better. I now believe I can react better in everyday situations. I recognised some old, ingrained patterns from my childhood that were preventing me from connecting with my kids.

Dale, three children (8, 10 & 10 yrs)

Karen’s very empathetic and a great coach who finds wonderful words.

Tamara, three children (7, 5 & 3 yrs)

Can highly recommend! Karen’s great!

Judith, a son (6 yrs)

I got a lot of new ideas on how to better connect with my child. The course also explained the difference between the old way of raising children with punishment and a new way with connection. It was mind blowing!

Céline, two daughters (4 & 5 yrs)

Karen’s a great personality! I know few people who communicate so respectfully with children. She really helped me with my concerns.

Susanne, two children (6 & 2 yrs)

I felt like I didn’t understand my daughter’s behavior, why she acted out, what was bothering her, etc. I felt helpless.
Now I feel like I understand that there is a connection between the behavior and the real issue behind it. The realization that there is something behind the behavior is huge. Now I am aware….. There still is a lot of work to do but the first step is knowing what I have to do. I feel like I have some tools to help me.

Sarah, a daughter (7 yrs)
I am so happy with your course. It makes me think so much about my relationships at home (and also outside) and it motivates me to change. I really want to thank you for guiding us through this huge positive transformation in our way to see and feel the world.
Lis, a son (5 yrs)
It‘s been really helpful and supportive for us to get some feedback and to be able to rethink our methods of parenting.
We‘ve had a really positive experience and spoke about how much we enjoyed it, felt comfortable and how open it was.
Connor, a daughter (3 yrs)

The course changed our family life, my relationship with my husband and with our daughter, for the better. I’m very happy and grateful that I was able to participate in your course. I had a lot of ahas in the last few weeks. In the last few months, I felt completely lacking in peace and calm, but was able to find it again in your course. I’ve noticed I can see many situations differently and understand my daughter more, which makes me feel better, lighter and happier.

Anna, a daughter (2 yrs)

I wanted to improve how my son and I communicated. I now observe him more. When he gets angry, I’m able to keep calm. I feel more confident and more understood. I got a lot of food for thought, tips and also reassurance. It was definitely worth it. I really enjoyed it.

Ilona, a son (7 yrs)

Feeling overwhelmed with three children under the age of two, we signed up for the Understanding Toddlers & Preschoolers course. Mealtimes were difficult, bedtimes were difficult. We were unhappy with the situation, and ourselves, and wanted things to improve. Now, after the course, we understand our children more and can respond better to their needs. The situations at mealtimes and bedtimes have also changed. We’re all more relaxed… The course is worth it! Even if you think you’re already doing a good job, you’ll learn something new.

Michael, three daughters (2, 2 & 1 yrs)

Karen is providing digestible and concise content, and makes it personal with examples from her own experience. The task sheets are so valuable because you find out lots about your own struggles and triggers. She gives you tools to work with your own anger and how to fulfil your unmet needs so you can be there to support your children as good as possible. I would recommend this course to anyone who would like to communicate without judgement and to make this world a friendlier place.

Stephanie, two daughters (3 yrs & 4 months)
Thank you for the support and helpful tips for a more connected and respectful family life!
It’s been a great learning curve and probably will be for a good while… but the positive outcome is the best motivation!
Stephanie, a daughter (3 yrs)

We were stuck in a cycle with our son, constantly reacting to his behaviour and feeling a little hopeless as parents not knowing what to do for the best.
We now have a better understanding of our son’s behaviour, how our own stress and childhood experiences manifest in our treatment of our children, what our children are ‘telling’ us in their actions, and a set of tools to manage.
Amazing! Don’t know how we would have moved forward without you.

Matt, two children (9 & 5 yrs)

Working with Karen really helped me!
Karen’s very likeable and had a way of making me feel very comfortable. As a coach, she not only shared her knowledge but saw me as as a person. She connected with me on a personal level, which enabled me to build trust. She was well prepared for our sessions and introduced each topic thoughtfully, which I think is really important when talking about emotional topics like children, being a mum, and relationships. She listened carefully to me and was attuned to my way of thinking. Karen has a great deal of expert knowledge and offered new ways of seeing things that all made a lot of sense to me. I left our coaching sessions with lots of new ways of thinking as well as a concrete idea of what I could do differently in our everyday family life. I always felt as though she was listening to me and that she was hearing me. That was very helpful and exactly what I want as a client.

Susanne, two children (6 & 2 yrs)

Before we started coaching, I asked myself: will it really help? For me, the first step was to realise that help was needed. During coaching, I felt safe and had no worries. It’s clear to me that you have to be open yourself for change to happen.  You’re part of the system and can only change in small steps. Often you fall back into patterns of behaviour. Having an outside perspective helps. It’s easier as an observer ;-) In conflict situations, I now ask: What’s the need? Is it about not feeling safe? It helps me deal with it better. It’s simple. Precise terms like “need”, “feeling safe and secure”, “transition”, “connection”. That’s when it “clicked” :-) You created a friendly atmosphere, which is necessary to open up. Your input was invaluable and you responded very well to situations we described.

Michael, a son (5 yrs)

Totally fabulous! You are really wonderful; very approachable, easy to connect with online. I felt immediately comfortable being vulnerable with you about my parenting insecurities, and trusted your experience. It’s clear that you are a pro, you asked very insightful and clarifying questions. I felt immediately understood and supported, and left with real and actionable info.

Chrissy, a daughter (6 yrs) in Washington, DC

I would definitely recommend the Connect with Your Child course. It will bring peace and understanding to your parenting. I loved the explanations Karen used while describing the behaviour interpretation. She also helped to change my mindset about parenting in a very practical way. She is able to explain the topic easily and understandably within the context of everyday situations.

Jana, two children (4 & 5 yrs)

I can totally recommend the Connect with Your Child course. Karen has a profound knowledge and explains everything in an easy way. I made a big step forward. I am more confident, all the info was very, very helpful. Thank you!


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