If you answer yes to at least one of the questions below, then this course may be key to building the relationship you want with your children:
- Do you know in your bones that you want to build a relationship in which both your needs and those of your children are fully included?
- Are you tired of seeing yourself time and again using methods to get your children to "cooperate" that you don't actually subscribe to?
- Do you struggle to imagine how to find enough hours in the day to collaborate for real with your children?
- Do you brace for any conversation with extended family and community who criticize you for being too soft with your children?
- Do you often feel all alone and wonder if you are actually on the right path?
Miki and Arnina are sisters to Inbal Kashtan, who deepened and radicalized the NVC approach to parenting started by Marshall Rosenberg (you can read Inbal's article in Mothering Magazine, 2002), which was based on her own commitment to collaborative parenting along with her wife Kathy. Inbal died when their son, Yannai, was 16. You can see an interview that Miki did with Yannai in 2011, when he was 11, about what it was like to be raised in an NVC household. This was a household in which everyone's needs mattered.
This is the dream they want to support you in moving as close to as you have the inner and outer support to do. It will include three core components:
- Clarity about why shaming and obedience are so central to patriarchal socialization, and why it's so hard to transcend them
- What you can do as an individual, adult human being to recover from your own socialization and align yourself with a collaborative approach to life
- What you as a family can do to create sufficient trust and creative problem solving to be able to navigate the near-impossible challenges of parenting in the modern world
In support of learning and fun, they have asked Lisa Rothman to join them. Lisa has been parenting two boys for thirteen years, and has a gift for storytelling. During sessions, Lisa plans to add content and to share vignettes from her life that augment and illustrate the concepts they are teaching. During breakout time, Lisa will also be available for coaching and role-plays informed by her firsthand knowledge of where she and her family sometimes get stuck and how they've transcended that.
What You Can Take Away
This is a short course, and the territory we want to cover is vast. We anticipate a fast pace with lots of content, as well as deep engagement with issues that can be quite painful. We are doing this because we are hoping you will receive many benefits. Here are some we can imagine:
- Breaking out of isolation: so many parents, especially those trying to live a collaborative paradigm, feel alone and lack support; here you will find others whose struggles are similar;
- Compassion for yourself through understanding why your capacity may lag so far behind your commitment and what you can do to bridge the gap;
- Compassion for your children as you understand better what life is like from within their own experience rather than from the outside looking in;
- Surge in energy that you can put into new conversations with them designed to make agreements that are based on the truth of where you all are rather than on any "should;"
- A glimpse of life beyond right/wrong thinking as you release yourself from both the old concepts of what is right, such as "an obedient child" and the new concepts of what is right, such as "a parent who never loses it;" and
- Actual tips and stories about parenting, which Lisa Rothman will bring forth from her many years of parenting two boys using the methods outlined in this course.
Given the level of interest in Miki's and Arnina's courses across the globe, we are scheduling this course at a time that is most likely to be accessible to people in multiple continents: Sunday at 7:30am Pacific time, which is early afternoon in parts of South America, afternoon in Europe and Africa, evening in much of Asia, and later in Eastern Asia. We hope you will choose to support this commitment to global reach by waking up early if you are in the Pacific time zone.
July 19: Why Collaborative Parenting Is Difficult THIS SESSION IS FREE!
A bit of historical perspective and a lot of tenderness will be the backbone of this session. We plan to focus on the key role that socialization plays in sustaining any social order. We then look at:
- What socialization needs to be to sustain social orders based on scarcity, separation, and powerless, the triplet foundation of patriarchy;
- How, given we are all products of this socialization, so many parents find it difficult to sustain a commitment to collaboration because of both external and internalized challenges.
We plan to sprinkle empathy and self-empathy wherever necessary so as to counter the heavy dose of right/wrong thinking that we are so often steeped in, particularly intense in relation to parenting.
July 26: Shaming and Obedience – How Internalization Works
Once domination was established, maintaining it can never be sufficiently assured based on coercion alone. Every system of domination requires its own internalization as "the right way" in order to sustain itself. This is because life resists domination. It's easy to see with each new child, never willing to be controlled; never accepting the norms of society without struggle. This is why patriarchy's core value, when it comes to children, is obedience. That, and shaming are two forms of training us to go against our needs.
Our focus in this session is on showing the intricate mechanisms that lead the majority of us to split our needs into two bundles – freedom and security – and to give up on freedom in order to get belonging. The commitment to collaborative parenting, then, can be channeled into two pathways. One is reclaiming your own full humanity, integrating all your needs, bringing tenderness to your patterns and habits, and finding courage to shift behaviors towards yourself and towards your children. The other is opening your heart in full to your children and their struggle to maintain their own fullness in the context of patriarchy's assault on their being.
August 2: Healing and Transformation for Parents – Why Collaborative Parenting Is Possible
The deepest premise of our work, both with parents and elsewhere, is uncompromising faith in the human heart. Despite thousands of years of patriarchy and all domination forms that emerged from it; despite all we've been told about human nature for so long; despite seeing massive destruction of human and other life in the hands of humans – we continue to hold fast to the fundamental premise of Nonviolent Communication: that everything anyone ever does is motivated by a finite set of needs that we all share; and that none of us would ever do harm to anyone else when our needs are met. The radical implication of this premise is that all of us are redeemable, and that children don't need to be controlled.
Collaborative parenting is possible because you can restore your capacity to operate from choice instead of powerlessness; togetherness instead of separation; flow instead of scarcity; and, overall release the right/wrong straitjacket and embrace trust in life, and, centrally, in children's capacity to be full human beings at any point in life.
August 9: Seeing the Humanity of Our Children – Same Needs, Different Stories
Embracing collaborative parenting means including children's needs as fully as adults' needs in making decisions about everything. This means, first of all, seeing their needs, even and especially when their behavior makes no sense, when they appear to not care about anything or anyone, when they make choices that frighten you, or when you are under-resourced. Over time, this means being able to stay present and engage fully even in those most difficult moments of "no", tantrums, or the teenage distance.
Seeing their needs through their eyes is different from seeing their needs as you understand them. It means:
- Being with their present experience rather than your future concerns about their well-being into adulthood;
- Offering them verbal acknowledgment of their experience, even when you are the one they are upset with;
- Remembering that their struggles are just as significant for them as yours are for you, and offering them empathy first and foremost, before or even instead of telling them how to solve their problems or diminishing their struggle.
Learning to put children's needs as they see them at the center of your attention is the cornerstone of what this session is dedicated to: the commitment to nurture all of your children's needs, so that, unlike so many generations before them, they won't have to choose between freedom and belonging. This then serves as the foundation for what we want all humans to know how to do: to care for their own needs alongside others' needs.
August 16: The Basics of Collaborating with Children – Needs, Impacts, and Resources
Until and unless systemic support for collaborative parenting is in place, collaborative parenting requires a deep commitment to live now as if the future is already in place. To even begin to do this, you will need much more support than parents usually receive, so that you can care sufficiently for yourself, your children, and those who challenge what you are struggling to implement. This means:
- Dialogue instead of telling them what to do;
- Supporting children to find choice;
- Making decisions together with them based on looking at all the needs;
- Checking in about all known and anticipated impacts; and
- Bringing to bear all available resources for which there is wholehearted willingness.
The gap between this vision and how human societies now function is big enough that a core practice to sustain this is compassion for yourself for all the times this simply isn't possible to implement. With that basis, you are likely to:
- Grow – over time – your capacity to remain empathic with your children even in challenging moments;
- Be fully transparent about your own needs as natural limits;
- Engage proactively with your children to create supportive agreements based on everyone's true capacity; and
- Accompany them on those harsh encounters with the current realities of the larger human life.
The result, to whatever small degree you are able to do this, is more freedom for all of you and more trust between you than you may have imagined possible.