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In any happy or difficult situation, what we all want first of all from the person experiencing it with us is for them to look at and speak to us warmly. Non-violent communication teaches us to find a certain degree of warmth and empathy through which we can express ourselves.
Nonviolent communication is a very powerful tool. It has four steps: facts, feelings, needs and action. Imagine a teenager arrives home having failed five subjects at school. You didn't think they would fail so many subjects, and it looks like they didn't either. However, their report card clearly shows that they have failed a lot of subjects. Five in all, and they're the most important ones. So, as with any family dispute, you find yourself at a crossroads. Which road will you take? Will you choose the route littered with obstacles that will mean you'll have to waste an enormous amount of energy to achieve the outcome you want? Or, will you go down the more compassionate road that leads to an in-depth discussion of what's happened involving empathy and honesty? You can use threats, punishments or try to bribe your child by offering them a reward, or you can judge them by telling them they're lazy or irresponsible. You can give them a long lecture on why, at 14, it's important for them to pass these subjects for their future career prospects. You can give them advice. 99% of the time, we give our children advice in positive or difficult situations when they haven't asked for it. It's also not what they need from us at the time. They need listening, understanding, acceptance. They often actually don't need advice. And, the few times they do want our advice, they want to feel listened to and understood first. We can ridicule them and even remain silent by using emotional blackmail. We can make them feel guilty for annoying us.
Just like your body, relationships need nourishment. Throughout the day, you can eat things that are or aren't nutritious. Just because you've eaten something that isn't nutritious, that doesn't make the foods you've eaten that are nutritious any less valuable. The same thing happens in communication. We experience all types of situations and we have to try to resolve them as best we can. After all, we are only human. Given the speed at which we live our lives nowadays, I don't think anyone truly resolves all the problems they have with either their children or anyone else using compassion, attention, understanding and empathy. With children, it's a lifelong task that never ends. You have to continue working on it forever in order to reap the rewards. You have to stop and use your energy to try to find out what's going on with your children. What might they be experiencing? What might they need? What might be important to them? And when we make that effort to stop, to contain the impulse that sometimes leads us to let ourselves be led by our heads, we enter another path. The result of doing this is wonderful. Furthermore, every time you take this road and obtain a wonderful result, it becomes easier and you become more motivated to do so in future because you realize that it's worth the effort.