No matter how old your children are, whether they are 2, 5, 10 or 15 years old, they have the exact same needs. True, strategies change with time, but the needs remain the same. Start meeting these needs today and watch your relationship transform.
Many parents I work with find it hard to believe that human beings of all ages have the exact same needs. But once we pass this initial barrier, something amazing happens. Parents are suddenly free to see their children as full human beings, they are suddenly able to relate to their children, and connect with them like never before. And moreover – they are suddenly able to forgive themselves, to treat themselves with compassion and empathy.
The Motivation of Love
I keep repeating (and will keep repeating) that connection and love are the greatest motivators of the human kind, and that no strategy to gain anyone’s cooperation will ever work better than the strategy of love and connection. And guys, this is proven. I see it every day. Children who were parented using the standard discipline methods and just wouldn’t budge, are suddenly cooperating, suddenly talking, sharing, letting their parents into their hearts. Children who were considered defiant and resistant, children who were labeled as difficult children, emerge in their full glory, in their love, compassion, and softness of heart, with a tweak to communication. Nonviolent communication.
The following 10 tips are the core to Nonviolent Communication and you can start practicing them today:
#1 Stop Hearing the Spoken Word
Children can say various things, but what they really mean, behind each word, is “mom, I need your help”. “Mom, I need to know you love me”. Start responding to the need for connection today, instead of hearing the blame, the anger, and the frustration. Your reaction is everything.
#2 Start Controlling Your Thoughts (Instead of Being Controlled by Them)
When we’re focused on the spoken word, we often translate it to blame. This is how we were brought up, and this is how we are bringing our children up. With a lot of guilt, and a lot of blame. Focusing on the content takes us away from the experiences, as in our thoughts, pure pain is translated to being “spoiled”, “manipulative”, “disrespectful”, or “defiant”. Our kids are neither of these, they just need us to talk to them differently, without these labels in our thoughts.
#3 Stop Labeling
When we use a static word to describe a person’s entire life experience, we diminish him and his life experience to a single moment. No word can ever include everything one has been through to reach a certain moment. And the worst part is, that us, human beings, we are controlled by adjectives. Once labeled, we will either do everything we can to resist the label, or do everything we can to meet that label. Either way – there’s no freedom in this choice.
#4 Start Controlling Your Anger
Anger is a secondary feeling, beneath it, there is always an unmet need. This need is ours, but the ones suffering from our unmet needs, are the kids. And this is not the way to make them do better, this is only a great way to make them feel worse.
#5 Stop Taking Things Personally
There are many things we do each day that make parenting so much harder, but taking things personally is probably the worst. Since we’re always focused on the spoken word, we take our children’s words into our thoughts and translate them to feelings, our feelings. But our children’s words are in the realm of their feelings – feelings we completely disregard when we are blown into our own feelings. Everything kids say has to do with them – not us.
#6 Start Coaching Your Kids to Emotions
I know, we weren’t parented this way. Our big feelings always sent us to our rooms where we had to deal with them ourselves and “only come back once relaxed”. This is why we can’t handle our children’s big feelings. Deep within our souls, we were taught that big feelings are not okay, and so we’re triggered by them. But big feelings ARE OKAY. Start talking about these feelings, investigate them with curiosity, welcome all feelings in, validate, problem solve. This is what your children need from you when they are having a hard time.
#7 Stop Being Untruthful
Untruthful is everything that has to do with anything that isn’t your needs or your feelings. When you ask your child to do anything, tell him why. The real why. Your WHY. That is your only truth. Anything else that you might say, things you’ve learned from society or your extended family, are not your truth. So while coaching your child to emotions, coach yourself, too. Children respond to needs and feelings with positivity you’ve never seen.
#8 Start Trusting Yourself
No one probably told you this today, but you are your child’s BEST MOTHER. And this doesn’t mean you can’t be even better tomorrow. You know it, and you know it’s true. But if you’re letting external voices mar your experience of motherhood – you are letting these doubts into your parenting, too.
#9 Stop Doubting the Power of True Love
This is me repeating it again – love and connection are the greatest motivators. Consider the following, a simple request from your partner to make them coffee. If you’ve had an amazing evening last night, a great talk, and a few cuddles, you’d make the coffee happily and serve it with a kiss. But, if you’ve had a fight, and some harsh words were spoken – you won’t be making any coffee today. Maybe only for yourself. You see, the request is the same, but the level of connection is what sets the reactions apart.
#10 Start Parenting with a Purpose
Let your WHY direct your words and your actions. Your WHY sets you apart from everyone else, and no – no one shares the same why. Ask yourself why you are saying certain things, why you are doing certain things, what is it that you really need, behind the words, underneath the deeds? The answer is your purpose to parenting.
I know, this sounds like a lot. And even though the title says you can start doing these 10 things to build an everlasting connection with your child today, actually doing it will be hard. So pick one, each week. Concentrate on it, explore it, live it. It will change your life. I know, because it already changed the lives of so many parents, and so many children.
And if you need help, I’m here. Your first session is always on me, and I would love to meet you and see if we are a good fit. You can also join my parenting support group on Facebook, happiness can be found there, too 🙂