Lately, after reading a couple of books about non-violent communication, I can see what a benefit it is to understand how it works. An important aspect of the method is to ask, what is the objective? vIn other words, if your child is being disrespectful or defiant, decide if your objective is to punish the child, or create the quality of connection that will allow everyone’s needs to be met. As long as anyone thinks you have single-mindedness of purpose, no matter what age, they’ll probably resist. Or, if they don’t, and they do whatever it is you wish, you’ll most likely pay for it. I’m suggesting in order to create the quality of connection that will allow everybody’s needs to be met, I would start by emphatically connecting with the feelings and needs being expressed in the child’s actions.
According to Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. in his book “Teaching Children Compassionately”, he describes an empathetic conversation which disallows any accusations or making the child wrong. Rather, he connects with what the child is feeling and needing. He tells us, “when you do, the person has a wonderful opportunity to explore it all.”
Here’s how a conversation might go, according to Dr. Rosenberg.
Parent: I need to be clear that whatever I say is not intended to punish.
That is not my intent. My intent is to protect you. (you can add why you wish to protect and from what)
I have a need, if I see or hear you being abusive to another sibling or me, here is what I will do.
(And have it in mind what you wish to do).
I don’t feel comfortable being threatened or disrespected. If you choose that option, then I’ve just given you the consequences.
So, in this brief conversation, you are not denying the other person has a choice. But you’re letting them know the choice you will exercise.