Parenting from Your Heart

Parenting from Your Heart

I recently revisited a favorite book of mine “Parenting from the Heart” by Inbal Kashtan and reflected on this compassionate technique for connecting with our children. Inbal offers her interpretation of Marshal Rosenberg’s work in Non Violent Communication and how we can apply it in daily life with our families. Connecting compassionately and working with my child is the vision I hold of a healthy, responsive and respectful relationship in which both of us trust the process and know we are valued in every interaction. At this point in my parenting it is still hit and miss and I find myself relying on methods of “power over” rather than “power with” from time to time. Yet they are less common now and my son has become an advocate for communicating with respect so that when I forget he is quick to remind me that, “I don’t want to be spoken to that way mom.”

“Parenting from the Heart” is a 45 page book full of practical suggestions on creating a relationship of trust with our children in which we ensure that all of our needs are recognized and held as valuable in all of our interactions with one another. The underlying principles of this book include taking the time to find out what everyone is feeling and needing, to connect with ourselves and one another, and finding a point of agreement that works for everyone. Inbal offers 10 exercises for the parents to work on as they come to understand the process of Non Violent Communication. From translating judgments and releasing habitual response patterns to mediating conflict this booklet provides parents with practical tools for working with their children for harmony and balance in the home.

I had the extraordinary pleasure of attending a weeklong workshop with Inbal and at least 60 other people of all ages. For one whole week I was surrounded by people putting forth their best efforts at connecting compassionately. I saw a reality in which everyone’s needs truly did matter, where resources, time and care were given to each issue as it arose. This family camp let me see that it is entirely possible to create a community in which human relationship is elevated to a place of honour and that all else takes care of itself when we take care of one another.

Two years later I continue to be inspired by both the book and the family camp that showed me the world which I long for exists every time I make the effort to relate to people compassionately. I began by creating a new form of communication with my son and I have taken that into all of my relationships. I look forward to the day that this process lives in me fully and I no longer miss the mark. To learn more about Inbal Kashtan and “Parenting from the Heart” visit http://www.cnvc.org/motherin.htm and check out Inbal’s work.