This is a brief introduction to Non Violent Communication (NVC) which is also known as Compassionate Communication, and how you can use it in parenting, as well as, in discipline. At the end I will provide links to some books that I have found very helpful for my understanding and application of NVC, and which will explain it better than I can. I would be happy to answer any questions as best as I can.
The basic belief behind NVC is that all behaviors stem from feelings and needs, and all people share the same basic universal feelings and needs. I have often heard learning NVC described as, like learning to speak another language, and it really is. The basic method is to clearly state your observation of what is going on, not judgement this is very important, then you state how you are feeling, and what you are needing from the situation, and finally making a clear request of the other person. Now, it's important to remember you're making a request not a demand here, and obviously the other person may not feel the same way you do about the situation, and that's ok, the point is to try not to place blame on anybody here! Not everybody will be feeling or needing the same things from any given situation, and that doesn't make the other person "wrong" or "bad", they are doing the best they can with what they have at the moment. So, it is very important for us to try to put ourselves in their shoes, look at things from their point of view, so we can best work to get everyone's needs met and find a mutually agreeable solution. This means listening deeply to the other person, validating what they say, trying to figure out how their feeling and what they're needing from the situation, and go from there to the request. Yes, this is hard, and you will need a ton of practice to get the hang of it, just like learning another language. ;)
Now, for how you can incorporate NVC into your family life, and of course discipline. Before we even start on this let me say, you must get your own needs met first before you can help anyone else get their needs met! You can not give what you do not have, so therefore getting your own needs met on a regular basis no matter what is absolutely essential. Getting past that point, firstly figure out what values are really important to you, the ones you want to pass on to your children, and start living them (if you're not already), and start acting on them. Secondly, choose to see the needs behind the actions, we are all doing the best we can to get our needs met with what we currently have, even when we act negatively; you are responsible for meeting your own needs, nobody else. Focus on connection first, then correction, the relationship is more important here than the lesson you're trying to teach. Recognize and celebrate your child's, and your own, unique gifts on a regular basis! When things go awry, connect using NVC, and remember to act using your values as your guide. Be willing to learn with your child, they truly are your best teacher! And, finally trust that every situation can be resolved peacefully with a mutually agreeable solution, it just takes some work to get there.
I look forward to hearing your opinions and questions! Here are the book recommendations:
*Non Violent Communication: A Language of Life
*Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids