Nonviolent Communication (NVC): A Tool for Getting Clarity in Conversation

 In Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Parent Peacefully, Uncategorized

My 3.5 yo said to me on the potty this morning:

“That feels hard for me when I want to go on a boat down a slide like we did and you say no I can’t.”

I had asked her if she wanted to go to the playground with her friend. The playground with the merry go round and the tall rope ladder tree. (The one that almost gave me a heart attack when my then under 2 yo went to climb way over my head beyond my reach.) The playground where we wear our swimsuits and play in the spray from the spray dragon.

“No, I don’t want to go to that one. I want to go to the one where I can go on a boat on a slide.”

[We’ve had this conversation multiple times already yesterday. I decide to take a new path and start to say what it means to go on a plane ride to that waterpark she went to, the plane ride she didn’t like, when she starts up again…]

“I want to go in a real boat and move it myself and go down a slide and go move the boat to that place where all the boats go on a lake.”

[Finally understanding…] Ohhh, are you wanting to go on a real boat and go on a lake AND you liked going down the slide in a boat and you are feeling frustrated and angry and sad when you hear me say no you can’t go on a boat to that place where you want to go.

“Yes. That is what I mean.”

Ahhh, clarity.

Now I realize that there are indeed many options to fulfill this boat need. Before I we were stuck in a back and forth, yes-no match. I tell you, speaking with another human, whatever their size, does not always seem to progress in a linear fashion. There are many opportunities to fall into confusion. Indeed, I find myself saying more and more often, “I feel confused.”

Clarity rolls in like cool water on a hot day, quenching the thirst both of us felt for understanding, connection and cooperation. Yet one more moment out of the infinite number that I feel deeply grateful to have the tool of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in my life.

Now, we know what our needs are, and we can work together on a solution.



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