We celebrate receiving positive feedback after trainings we’ve conducted, which reflects that we’ve successfully connected educators with some Nonviolent CommunicationSM concepts .

We recently received this letter from one of our trainees, who gave us permission to post her testimonial:

Dear Jim and Jori,

I wanted to email to thank you for the help and guidance that you provided to my partner and me.
It was helpful for our marriage, but it was also very helpful for relationship with my daughter.

I used to spank her. I wasn’t proud of that behavior, but I thought it was normal parenting. According to the World Health Organization, in the U.S. and much of Europe it is normal. But, I now realize that it’s not the only way to teach self-discipline, and not the best way to teach self-discipline.

The turning point for me was during one of our sessions. Jim asked me two or three times if I spanked our child, or applied corporal punishment to her. Each time I answered “Yes”.  Jori then asked if I was spanked as a child, and I replied “yes”. Both my partner and I had been spanked. I hadn’t ever questioned the spankings. I thought that they were a necessary tool to teach children, as my parents had done to me.

 In the days after Jim had asked me repeatedly if I spanked our child, I thought, “Well that was odd. I wonder why he asked me so many times and seemed distraught.” As I thought about the interaction I began to wonder if Jim was concerned about our child’s health and safety. I started thinking about all the people in my life and wondering if they had been spanked. I knew that a couple of my friends had never been spanked and they developed into wonderful, contributing members of society. My parents had taught me that children who were not spanked would turn into spoiled brats and would be like that for the rest of their lives. (I don’t know if they truly believe this, but it is the message that I received from them.)

As I reflected on the spankings that I received I recall the unfairness and resentment that I used to feel. Sometimes I felt so humiliated. I believe that no child deserves to feel this way. I do not want my own daughter to experience this anymore and I want her to learn better ways at expressing her frustration and sadness, which means that I have to learn and practice better ways at honoring and expressing my frustrations.

Two years ago I committed to a peaceful home, which meant that I would need to find another way to teach self-discipline to my daughter – not through physical or emotional punishment.

Making this commitment has pushed me to grow and change so much. It has been very painful to accept responsibility for my own emotions and reactions. I am proud of the commitment I made and that I have been able to honor it even in very challenging moments both my child and my partner. I believe that it has created more peace in our home.

Thank you for spreading peace to our home.

A mother

Below is some feedback we received after a 2016 training for University of Hawaii Maui College of Early Childhood Education students:

“When a child is acting out it is because a need is not being met. As a teacher it is important not to jump to conclusions and to try and understand what is going on with the child and to figure out what need is not being met.  I also thought that when she said ‘feelings are caused by state of one’s needs’ it was very interesting because it seems like a simple concept but it’s something that you don’t really think about.”

“One thing I learned from NVC was that feelings are caused by the state of a person’s needs. I’ve never thought about it this way, but it makes complete sense.”

“It was very interesting to me that Jim said that language gets in the way.  The way you feel is dependent on you and not other people…It is your choice to take it in a way, or have it affect you in a negative way. So when dealing with my preschoolers at my work, I can make sure to phrase it in a way w/o laying blame on the child for making another child feel a same way. It’s about helping children figure out the underlying need/lack of need after figuring out a feeling, w/o laying blame. How you decide to use language will model and teach the preschoolers a simple form of nonviolent communication.”