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Listening Deeply: A Sample Daily Meditation from Peaceful Living
By Mary Mackenzie
 
Love and compassion don’t recognize right or wrong, good or bad. If you’re struggling in a relationship, try not to judge it. Rather, focus on what you both want. Keep reading this article below >>
 
Transforming Children's Anger in the Midst of
Sibling Rivalry

By Inbal Kashtan

What parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle has not experienced a surge of protectiveness when an older child hurts their younger sibling? Our cultural training calls on us to immediately take two roles: the judge, determining who did what wrong and what the consequences will be, and the police officer, enforcing the consequences. Keep reading this article below >>

 
 
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Inspiration

"When people need empathy the most, they are likely to ask for it in a way they are least likely to receive it."

- Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

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Share This Inspiring 10-Minute Video With Your Social Media Friends

Go to the video now and select the "Share This" link in the right corner to post to your social media profile and share with others.

World-renowned author, peacemaker, and conflict resolution expert, Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. talks about the keys to prevent all forms of conflict and violence in this 10-minute video.

 
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Sample Meditation, continued

What is the important thing behind both people’s words and actions?

If someone says, “You don’t care anything about me,” what do you think she really wants? I’m guessing she wants to be valued and cared about. She might also want her needs to be considered.

If you focus on her words, you may recall all the times you’ve done a caring thing for her. Or you might argue about whether you care or not. This type of argument results in more anger and contempt because it doesn’t demonstrate that you’ve heard the other person, or that you care about them.

A more effective response could be focusing on the underlying needs you’re hearing behind the words, such as, “Sounds like you’re bummed and you’d like to know that I value you. Is that right?” You might not agree with the person’s statement. You don’t have to. All you are doing is acknowledging her feelings. Once she feels heard, you have set the stage for a full conversation to resolve the situation.

Commit to connecting to the feelings of at least one person today.

Mary Mackenzie is a Certified CNVC Trainer and author of Peaceful Living: Daily Meditations for Living with Love, Healing and Compassion. She holds an MA degree in Human Relations and is a trained mediator. Mary is the co-founder of the NVC Academy and the executive director of the Flagstaff Center for Compassionate Communication. She teaches NVC to individuals, couples, and families, and offers retreats and workshops to help organizations strengthen their productivity and success.

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Transforming Children's Anger, continued

These are thankless jobs that usually result in frustration, resentment, pain, and separation between the adult and child and between the children themselves. Sadly, our actions do not really contribute to our deepest yearnings: peace, connection, trust and love in our homes.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) invites you to explore a different paradigm when we face challenges with and between the children in your lives: a paradigm of connection and compassion for all, of mutual care and the possibility of contributing to everyone’s needs. Perhaps most importantly for these troubled times, this paradigm supports children with models and skills for making peace in our world.

How does this paradigm shift work in real life families who practice NVC? Here is a story from one mother of three boys, who participated in BayNVC's family camp in 2004:

“My 13-year-old son, David, was really angry one day and about to hurt one of his twin younger brothers as they sat near each other on the couch. So, I did what I now do whenever physical violence is about to happen between them and got in the middle of the two. David was breathing heavily and had his fists clenched as he sat in a chair next to me. His brother was on the other side of me on the couch. I went with habit and started to tell David about anger management and how he needed to go for a walk or go to his room until he cooled off. He continued to breathe heavily and clench his fists.”

Then his brother said something like, “David did you just want to be included?” I realized then that what David needed was empathy and started guessing, too. My first guess simply echoed what his brother already guessed: “Are you needing to be included?” I saw David’s fist relax just slightly. I guessed again: “Are you needing to feel that you belong?” His fist relaxed even more and his breathing began to slow down some.

Then I guessed that his need for belonging had been unmet for a really long time with his twin brothers. David’s fist relaxed more along with his body. Then I guessed that maybe if his need for belonging were met his need for love would be met, and tears began to roll down his cheeks.

I will be forever grateful for the tools of NVC for allowing me to get to this place of awareness and healing with my son.

I celebrate this mother’s honesty about her struggle to remember to turn to connection. Like most of us, she has habits that point in another direction. Yet she is willing to be awakened by her son’s initiative and remembers to return to the focus on the heart. This reinforces my trust in the possibility of transformation for all of us. We can always be reminded and can always choose to return to connection.

I also celebrate this mother’s modeling for her sons. It’s her dedication to trying, again and again, to focus on holding everyone’s needs with compassion and care that made it possible for her son to do the same when she could not.

My heart abounds with hope when I hear stories like this — and I hear them from many parents, as well as from grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other adults with children in their lives.

Inbal Kashtan is author of Parenting From Your Heart, and serves as the director of the CNVC Peaceful Families, Peaceful World project. A mother of an 8-year-old son, Inbal facilitates workshops and retreats, co-leads an NVC leadership program and creates NVC curricula.

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