Ourselves, our kids? Nonviolent Communication and Neurobiology of Attachment

Have you ever wondered why, even despite our best intentions, our knowledge, the books and articles we read, our being part of parenting communities, our wanting the best for our children, nonetheless when we are under stress and pressure, our best intentions and knowledge sometimes fly out of the window? Have you, in your family, as a parent or a child, ever witnessed or experienced moments when you’d lose your temper? threaten? shout? or would even feel close to physically manhandling your child? Or maybe you have lost your temper with a loved one, a spouse or a friend? All of this, tragically, despite your best intentions and accumulated knowledge.

In this video interview, Sarah Peyton, an internationally renowned Certified Trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communications gives a brief and fun digest version of why this happens to us, despite our best intentions. I’d totally recommend watching this, as Sarah also shares what we can do to reduce the occurrence of such moments, as parents and family members.

Have you ever wondered why, despite your best efforts and knowledge, you find certain aspects of life with your child difficult, despite these things being important for you or said to be important by many parenting experts? Whether it’s playing with your child, or talking about his feelings – or not talking about his feelings – or supporting your child during difficulties with her friends?

In this interview, Sarah talks about how our early relationships with our caregivers (mothers, fathers, grandparents or nannies etc) shape our Adult Attachment type. That is, how we tend to relate to our children and loved ones. Did you know that, according to studies described in Daniel Siegel’s “Mindsight” your Adult Attachment type*  influences whether your child would have secure attachment to you, as a caregiver, or one of the types of insecure attachment? And, in turn, this may influence the formation of your child’s own Adult Attachment pattern. This, further, would influence how your child is with their own children, loved ones, friends and even at work, achieving their goals! And this would also reflect on how their nervous system and brain would form and perform (source: Daniel Siegel “Neurobiology of We”, Audiobook).

* (this can be identified, for example, via an Adult Attachment Interview, by Dr Mary Main)

As an example, an adult with secure attachment may have an easier time soothing their crying child, and supporting their child through difficulties more fully. An adult with avoidant attachment may say “Never mind!” and may leave their child to cry alone or would get irritated with the display of emotions, so the child would learn to tend to themselves and not rely on that adult in such situations. An adult with ambivalent attachment would sometimes try to soothe their child, and sometimes would loose their temper, so the child would not have reliability in their caregiver. An adult with disorganised attachment may fall apart emotionally when something occurs that reminds them of traumatic events from their past, so the child would be both petrified witnessing the adult’s state and also biologically driven to seek security with their caregiver. (Source: Daniel Siegel, “Parenting from Inside Out”)

The good news (and listen for more in Sarah’s interview) is that you can change your Adult Attachment type from insecure types to secure if you want to. You can start at any point, even now. It’s never too late. What you would get then would be “learned/earned secure attachment”. And you would be able to change your relationship with your kids too.

I hope you may enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed this interview!

Thank you Sarah for so generously agreeing to share your knowledge, skills and wisdom with us. You can look up Sarah’s articles, writings, lectures and training schedule at her website . Her next in-person training in Europe is in Munich, Germany, and she also offers a lot of online events . If you can make it at all, I highly recommend it!

If you have more questions on how our relationships with our kids shape theirs and ours brain and nervous system, you can pick my brain at the upcoming talk in Dublin on 24 March :). Or if you decided to take a plunge and get the skills for changing your relationships with your kids and loved ones, you can join us at the upcoming one-day NVC course in Dublin on 26 March.

NVC does work for bringing more joy, cooperation and peace into your family life, see the testimonials here :).

“The workshop has helped me hugely in identifying the needs behind my own emotions and reactions (following through is something I’m still working on!). It has been very beneficial in working with parents both as a breastfeeding counsellor and babywearing consultant and also in navigating difficult situations as a chair person in a voluntary organisation. And I am much more able to take a step back from situations with my own (now 3) children and being empathetic towards their needs and views of the world.” (Ina D, mother of three, breastfeeding counsellor, babywearing consultant)

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In memory of Marshall – an offer to you

Dear friends,

You probably know that Marshall Rosenberg has passed away on 7 February 2015. Since then, so many people have been mourning Marshall’s immediate presence leaving this world – and celebrating his work, the difference that it made for so many people all over the world, families, schools and hospitals, amongst other organisations. The difference that just reading one of Marshall’s book, which kickstarted my learning of NVC, has made an ENORMOUS difference to my family and to how I feel and what I do as a mother!

I’m so touched and moved knowing that the commemorative conference call for Marshall has been going for 50+ hours last time I checked. So many of us has been celebrating his work and life and mourning his death at the Facebook Group and lighting candles all over the world to say “good bye” to Marshall and remember him.

Just before finding out about Marshall’s death, I was talking with Micheal De Buitlear about offering an interactive talk for parents about reducing stress and increasing joy in their daily lives with NVC. During the past talks we demonstrated uses of NVC in such situations as negotiating household chores with your partner, getting your older children to bed and navigating disagreements on parenting with mothers-in-law! Remembering the talks brings to my mind the camaraderie and relief in not being alone in these predicaments in the group :).

Knowing that many of us who raise a family also face financial stresses amongst others, I do want to make NVC more accessible to everyone. As I know how much it helped me and my past course participants. For example, see this feedback:
“I don’t know if I can communicate effectively what an improvement NVC has made to my life (and by extension my family’s life)

I no longer take offense from people communicating their feelings, there is still shouting and noise but it’s not as extreme or as aggressive. I feel like I am finally modelling the behavior I would like my children to follow and discussions with my husband are so much more constructive and understanding.

At work I can give much more empathy and even if some of my work relationships have not improved I no longer lose any sleep over it.” (Catherine H)

So with this in mind, I’d love to offer you something that hopefully would make it more doable for you to attend this talk on 24 March. As a way to say thanks to those of you who have attended a course with me before, you are welcome to attend a talk at small contribution towards venue costs and refreshments, EUR5 per person.

And an early bird discount to honour Marshall:

For spaces booked and pre-paid before 12 noon 8 March, you can book two spaces at once for EUR15, that is, ONLY EUR7.5 per person. I believe that the value of this talk (comparing it to talks of similar value) is EUR50-150, so grab your spot(s) at this fantastic value price whilst it lasts.

For spaces booked and pre-paid before 12 noon 8 March, if you only want one space, you can get it for EUR10 per person.

And if you want flexibility, you can book your space (the size of the venue would only allow us to accommodate so many people at once) and give us EUR15 at the door (or you can pre-pay too).

If you are interested, whichever way you want to book, I recommend booking early as the spaces are limited. Here‘s more information on Dublin talk (6.30-8pm, Dublin City Centre, allocated parking is free – turn up 20 minutes before the talk and ask for the key for the car park at the reception).

As always, if you are on income support and would struggle to attend for financial reasons, please get in touch, book your space and just turn up.

I am also keen to offer this in a way that is sustainable for me and accessible to you because I (and my family 🙂 ) will be away from Europe on a work project for at least nine months, from September 2015 to May/June 2016. Rest assured, I’ll be back in May/June 2016 at least for a few months AND it will be a long time without you. Remembering everyone who I met in Ireland through my work (NVC and Trageschule), I feel absolute gratitude and would like to offer this talk and a discount (as well as an option for those on income support to attend it as a gift) as one way to show and say how much I value and appreciate you all 🙂 .

P.S. I am also offering an early bird discount for one-day NVC course “An Oxygen Mask for busy parents” (26 March), grab it whilst it is there :). I believe that it is FANTASTIC value – you get the skills that you can use every day and the whole day costs less than, say, a 1.5 hour mediation session (average cost is £75-£90+ for 1.5 hours, UK CNVC Certified Trainers) between you and your spouse/family member. Why I am comparing it with a cost of mediation call, because, in my experience, when you have and practice NVC skills, it goes a long way to reduce and alleviate the conflicts with those who matter most to you! I hope to see you there :).

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Thank you and farewell to Marshall Rosenberg, NVC Founder

лилии Hearing of Marshall Rosenberg’s passing on 7 February 2015, I am so sad and grateful. Sad that Marshall’s immediate presence is gone from this world. Grateful, for Marshall’s legacy, amongst which are the Center for Nonviolent Communication, Marshall’s writings, his influence on his “students”, including my fellow CNVC Certified Trainers, who share NVC around the world and help others to improve their life.

I sit here contemplating how Marshall’s work improved my family life and my work life. Thanks to NVC, in my family, we now have more ways to keep building trust and understanding. Where we’d shout or give each other silent treatment before NVC, now we can find ways to hear each other and win-win solutions that help avoid conflict. Or, if the conflict happens, now, with NVC, we have more means to repair it and remember how much we value each other. I remember the occasions when my kids suggested that we use “Feelings and Needs Cards” (a part of my NVC teaching toolkit 🙂 ) in a tight spot to help us understand each other and find a way out :). And also, the skills that I learnt from Marshall’s books and trainings with his students help me to help other parents to improve their family lives. And the same skills allow me to help those who work with families to enable them to support these families more fully.

So I am writing this in great awe and humility of what Marshall has left us. NVC, the Center for Nonviolent Communication, his writings, the mediation and conflict resolution work that he did in various places (including Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine).

You can read more about Marshall’s life and passing below (quoted from here  , by Dominic Barter, President, Center for Nonviolent Communication ).


It is with great emotion that I write to tell you that Marshall Rosenberg passed from this life 3 days ago, on Saturday, February 7th.

He passed peacefully at home, with his wife Valentina – who shared the news with me a few minutes ago – and all his children by his side.

I know no way to describe the impact this man had on so many people —for his work and for his being, and for the extraordinary power the balance between these two unleashed. He was a beloved teacher to countless people on every continent, people whose hearts were touched and shone with the possibility his work made tangible.

To many of you reading he was also an inspired and inspiring colleague who changed the course of your lives and brought an inestimable sense of meaning and the potential for transformation to every area of your world. And who, at each moment, did this with utmost simplicity, humility and humanness.

In great mourning, and with the most profound reverence and soaring gratitude for the spirit he released in us, and whose light we carry forwards,

Dominic, President, CNVC Board


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Gift Webinar, Nonviolent Communication, Russian language

Sorry, this entry is only available in English

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Kinaesthetics Infant Handling – booking form – registration until 6 January 2014

For those of you who have been interested in Kinaesthetics Infant Handling booking form, here it is 🙂 : booking form KIH 2014

If you want more info about the course, check this out :).

Kinaesthetics is amongst other disciplines that work with imparting embodied understanding of body mechanics, so that we can make the most effective and comfortable use of our bodies, whether moving or resting. This is especially important for those of us who are parents! If you have ever had a sore back from moving, picking things up and putting them down or resting in a certain way, and were not able to look after your baby or older child due to that, you can totally relate to the importance of staying comfortable and at ease as a  parent!

I look forward to hearing from you and also to your joining us on the course 7-9 January :)!

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Kinaesthetics Infant Handling training – more comfort and ease in movement, for you, your baby and the others!

I’m excited and delighted to finally announce a Kinethetics Infant Handling (KIH) Course, London, UK, Fri 7- Sun 9  February 2014. The venue in Islington is to be confirmed.

I have been particularly excited and delighted about the opportunity to attend this course as I have heard so much about the benefits of Kinaesthetics Infant Handling from fellow Babywearing Consultants in Germany and further afield since I first trained as a Babywearing Consultant. I have been very lucky to have been able to attend a tester workshop by Sabine at Trageschule Dresden Babywearing Consultancy mini-conference 2013 (Dresden TrageTage). This, and also the amazing and inspiring feedback on Sabine’s courses from my colleagues at the conference, meant that I got motivated even further to do what I can to enable us (and our babies, children and clients) in the UK to benefit from KIH knowledge :).

This course is a fantastic CPD event for those of us who work with parents and children, as witnessed, for example, by many trained Babywearing Consultants in Germany and Austria who have done this course already over the last years.

Here is more information about (KIH): Information_sheet_What_is_Kinaesthetics. The foto_kinecourse facilitator, Sabine Hartz, a qualified Trainer with Kinaesthetics Institute. She is a co-author of ‘Baby in Balance’ .

During the course, you’ll be able to learn what are the ways of picking up and putting down a baby, and supporting a baby’s movement (including baby’s going into a sling and out of it) that are biolgically optimal. What’s more, you’d be able to learn how a certain way of moving may make a major difference to how comfortable we feel in our bodies. This knowledge may make a difference for you and your clients and their babies, whether you are offering one-to-one support or workshops that involve parents’ or babies’ movement of any kind.

The course offers a balanced mix of theory and practice blocks. Sabine will teach the course in English. The course materials will be in English too. The certificate is awarded pending successful completion of the course.

The course hours are 10 am to 5pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with lunch breaks and tea/coffee breaks.

_DSC5678Babies in arms are welcome in the workshop. If you have a baby who can crawl/cruise/walk/move around otherwise, past workshop participants who would want for their independently mobile baby or an older child to be nearby would usually bring a friend or a family member to look after the baby/child.

Sabine asks for £400 for the three full days of the course, including your training pack (in English).

If you have any questions or want to book, please do get in touch with Olga (who helps Sabine to organise the course) at hearttoheartconnection@gmail.com .

I’m looking forward to your joining us in London 7-9 February :)!

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Links to resources for NVC/Compassionate Communication Practice groups

PansiesIt’s been a long time since my last blogpost. So much has happened here, including:

– us getting snowed out from the retreat venue in March (it’s a separate story! 🙂 ), and

– interested fellow NVC practitioners and otherwise interested people coming together to start a practice group locally, which I’ve been happy to support. (I’m unsure whether you’d want to be named – and thanks to everyone who’s been a part of organising it).

So, I was asked about different options/ different things that people usually do at NVC practice groups. If you’ve been wondering about this too, please read on :).

Here are a few resources (out of many) that I have used in the years of supporting NVC Practice Groups:

– obviously, the workbook by Lucy Leu 🙂 (we have used it at the both previous NVC Practice Groups locally)

– this list of practice groups exercises http://en.nvcwiki.com/index.php/Practice_group_exercises

– Holley Humphrey’s workbook ‘Practice, Practice, Practice’ (I have a copy and I have appreciated different exercises there) http://www.empathymagic.com/products/

And simply because I believe that these radio programmes by Miki Kashtan illustrate different uses of NVC itself beautifully, here’s a collection of podcasts of these http://en.nvcwiki.com/index.php/Media .

If you want more suggestions, one option is to ask for others’ ideas at one of the many NVC Facebook groups, Yahoo groups, and other Internet places.

Hope this helps :)!

P.S. I’m linking to those resources in the spirit of contributing – and if one of the links is yours and for some reason you are not happy to see it here, please do get in touch!

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Last few spaces available on NVC retreat in Hebden 28 March – 1 April

I’m so much looking forward the the upcoming retreat – seems like it’d be very soon :)! crociWe do believe that this retreat is a brilliant opportunity to learn NVC whilst keeping your children close and learn it at a more relaxed pace, flexed to suit your needs. This also includes an option for a slot with a facilitator for one-to-one work or for NVC work with couples, amongst other possibilities.

If you want to join us to have fun, to enjoy the beauty nature and tranquility of the setting, to connect with others who may share the same values, to sample Ellen’s yummy food and to learn NVC, we have the last few spaces available, more information is below.

We have very limited residential spaces for adults without kids available (overnight accommodation in a shared space with other adults without children).

We also have last few ‘day ticket’ spaces for adults with children. If you are local, it may appeal to you to stay at home and commute to the retreat every day (very roughly, the day would last between 10am and 6pm, with lunch and breaks throughout). As yOlga mountainou’d be sleeping ‘off-site’, with lunch included (please inquire when booking about the possibility to join in with the evening meal), we offer a discount of £40 off the retreat fees for both adults and the children for the ‘day ticket’ option. That would bring the retreat fees on a ‘day ticket’ to an absolute bargain of £155 (vs £195 incl. accommodation) for adults and £25 (vs £65 incl. accommodation) for 1-16 year olds.

If you are interested or want to book, please contact Olga at hearttoheartconnection@gmail.com or Clare at clarepalmer@btinternet.com or 07954 385847.

We are very much looking forward to the retreat, and to seeing everyone there :)!

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Happy Mother’s Day :)!

snowdropsHappy Mother’s day to all mothers out there… I wish you much love and appreciation (if this is something you’d enjoy 🙂 ).

I remember the mothers who I have met through my life – and am feeling touched and inspired by the love and care that I have experienced around you :).

“The thought “mother” cannot be separated from that of “love”. Love is sweet, tender, and delicious. Without love, a child cannot flower, an adult cannot mature. Without love, we weaken, wither.” (Thich Nhat Hanh, A Rose for Your Pocket : An Appreciation of Motherhood).

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What is NVC? NVC for parents? Resources and links…

books howthI was asked about my favourite resources that give you an idea of ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of Nonviolent Communication (NVC, Compassionate Communication) for parents, children and families. Here are a few that I really enjoy, for the reasons of clarity, simplicity and real-life examples being part of some of them.

I want to say that in my experience, the written materials/videos do help to further one’s understanding of NVC/learning of NVC AND also, if you’re finding implementing those simple-sounding principles into your life tricky, I’d encourage you to find ways to learn it in a one-to-one or group setting with a support from experienced NVC practitioner/facilitator. In my experience (and with what I observe in other people’s learning NVC), reading books, watching videos, listening to podcasts really helped up to a point, and based on that, practicing NVC, getting support, feedback and guidance on that during a course or practice group or empathy exchange was where the transformation of my habitual patterns really happened! In short, what I’m saying that these links and resources are more ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of NVC, rather than ‘how-tos’ :)!


If you enjoy reading, I really love these articles by Inbal Kashtan at Natural Child Project. They both give general idea of NVC and parenting AND also offer some examples, and further resources to explore. I feel deep appreciation and gratitude thinking of Inbal as I have benefited a LOT from Partnership Parenting Peer Leadership Programme at Bay NVC designed (and led for the first years) by Inbal. And also I think she is one of the founders of (and definitely first active posters on) NVC Parenting Yahoo Group, which has provided support for so many people. So, here are the articles – all by Inbal Kashtan…

Grabbing Our Way to Peace: Responding to Tugs of War and Other Battles of Daily Life

Meeting Long-Term Needs: Parenting with Empathy, Expression, and Self-Empathy

Compassionate Connection Attachment Parenting and Nonviolent Communication

Down the Slide, or Up the Anger Escalator?


If you prefer videos, here are a few…

I LOVE this video, as it features the interview with Yannai Kashtan, Inbal Kashtan’s son, and his telling how it has been for him to be parented with NVC. I remember feeling warm and touched watching it and hearing his recollections and inspired once again to keep walking this NVC path with my children :).  Conflict Hotline – June ’11 (2 of 4), Parenting II .

If you like this one, I’d suggest checking out other Bay NVC/Miki Kashtan’s videos on parenting as they also feature roleplays/specific examples that many find helpful.

Below are a few short talks by Victoria Kindle and Sura Hart of Kindle-Hart Communication/No Fault Zone . Their ‘Respectful Parents Respectful Kids’ is probably the most frequently borrowed book in my parenting/NVC books lending library.

NVC cardsMy special reason for loving this book is the pictorial Feelings and Needs cards that are at the back of the book helped me and my older daughter (from her 3-4 years’ old onwards) to figure out so many tricky situations, debrief and reconnect, and work out some win-win solutions. I have a vivid memory of a car journey that turned out to be seven hours, and with everyone in the car feeling extremely miserable and upset, and M crying and not talking to me. Then when we arrived home, the cards were one of the first things that we have reached for, and after asking my daughter if she wanted to look at the ‘wishes and needs’, I used them to guess her needs. At some point, after she felt heard, she NVC cards2relaxed and sighed a large sigh of relief and we reached out to hug each other.  After that, the cards have been with us on many trips and outings, to help us connect and reconnect :).

So here are a few videos:

Parenting Tip to Learn Together as You Go

Key to Understanding Children’s Behavior – Universal Needs!

The Benefits of ‘A Language of Respect’ for Parents & Children

Create Safety, Trust and Belonging at Home for Children to Thrive

Why it is Important to Put Parents’ Needs First…

I hope some of this helps. And if you decide that you’d like to explore NVC further, do check out all-ages retreats and courses that I offer. Or get in touch with me at hearttoheartconnection @gmail.com (delete spaces) to bring a course to an area close to you.

P.S. I hope that if you are the author of the above, you are happy with me linking to your work – and if you are not happy, would you be willing to get in touch with me at hearttoheartconnection @ gmail.com (please delete spaces) :)?

P.P.S. The books photo has some books in it from my lending library, visiting my Compassionate Communication Course in Dublin, Howth in June 2012 (stay tuned for this lost blogpost to come back on :)!). The photo of the Feelings/Needs cards has a picture of smaller deck of black-and-white pictorial cards in the middle… the yellow and red cards with words are a full deck of ‘word’ cards (not included in the book – got them from No-Fault Zone website).

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