Someday I hope to be able to stay in tune with all of our needs more of the time. Until then, my kids are likely to hear. "I've said yes to too many requests without noticing how hungry or tired I am. I wasn't as patient
as I wish I'd been. I can see now that you want to be heard....or you want help....." With that opening, they usually let me know more about their feelings and needs and we can get the clarity and respect we both value that makes us all feel more connected, heard, and understood. I get the opportunity to contribute to their needs or help them find strategies to get their own needs met. This is what I've heard NVC trainer Bren Hardt call the broom and dustpan approach. It is an opportunity for me to clean up the mess and practice NVC. I believe this "after the fact practice" helps me find the words and ways to pause and be mindful and patient so I can have more moments I am being the parent I want to be. It also allows me to model how we learn from our mistakes. If I can be honest, humble, and sincere in wanting to have deep, compassionate connection with them even in the middle of a regretful situation, then I am modeling for them a healthy, healing way to learn from regrets (what I try not to call failures). This also models for them that our own needs are as important as others' needs. They can see first hand that it is difficult to care for others when we do not care for ourselves adequately. I am finding that since I started catching myself and having these types of cleanup discussions after I've lost my cool, the kids are more and more understanding with me when I am tired or frustrated which also helps me catch myself before I explode. Isn't it wonderful that our kids can begin modeling compassion even when we are not doing as well as we'd like? This is why when recently asked for a tagline for my parenting work I answered, "given that we learn from our mistakes, I'm an expert."I never thought learning from regrets (mistakes) could feel so good but thanks to the basis of connection with our kids using NVC, it is very important and fulfilling for this mama.