“Peaceful Parenting” Lecture Aims to End Power Struggles,Â Teach Parents How to Connect To Their Own Hearts, and ConveyÂ Unconditional Love to Their Children
(Caldwell, NJ) â€“ Raising children today can be challenging. ParentsÂ often struggle with discipline and communication issues that can beÂ frustrating and stressful for everyone. Â Often, we judge or blame ourÂ children and feel angry when they don’t do what we think they “should”Â be doing. Â Then we tend to judge ourselves for judging them; we startÂ to feel guilty or ashamed. Â In a last-ditch attempt to coerce ourÂ children into doing what we want them to do, we try to use rewards, or
punishment. Â The latter can include grounding, time outs, spanking,Â and threats. Â Some parenting experts believe that power struggles areÂ often the result of the use of punishment. Indeed, children will oftenÂ react to punishment with rebellion, retaliation, fear, and/or passiveÂ resistance. Â In the case of the latter, children submit to theirÂ parents at the expense of their own needs. Â So what can parents do toÂ avoid power struggles that lead to harmful forms of conflict?
Proponents of love-based parenting and non-violent communicationÂ (NVC), like Dr. Stephanie Mattei, believe that the principles of NVCÂ can help parents to raise their children without relying on the threatÂ of punishment or promise of rewards.
Mattei will be a featured Breakout Session speaker at the HolisticÂ Moms Network’s 2008 Natural Living Conference, Saturday, October 18,Â 2008 from 8:30am to 4:30pm at the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel, 1Â International Boulevard in Mahwah, New Jersey. The Conference isÂ expected to attract several hundred people as well as sponsors andÂ exhibitors from across the country.
NVC proponents say that power struggles are generally about unmetÂ needs on both sides â€“ needs for love, acceptance, empathy, andÂ understanding. Â Both parents and children need to be heard and haveÂ their concerns and feelings validated. Â “Children don’t reallyÂ misbehave,” says Mattei. “Behavior is a communication: children act inÂ the best way they can under the circumstances, with the sole intentionÂ of getting their needs met. Once the underlying needs and feelings ofÂ the child are recognized and validated, the conflict often dissolves,”Â says Mattei.
Mattei became a certified parenting instructor through the BeyondÂ Consequences Institute (BCI). BCI prepares parent educators toÂ translate the latest findings in neuroscience and child developmentÂ into practical parenting recommendations about how to nurture,Â protect, enrich, educate, and heal children â€“ especially thoseÂ displaying severe behaviors due to trauma, abuse, and foster care andÂ adoption experiences. Â Mattei has two biological children – boys -Â aged 11 and 7, and one daughter, aged 3, who joined the family throughÂ adoption.
The Center’s philosophy is based on a few key elements: ObserveÂ behavior (rather than judge it) and look for the needs behindÂ challenging behaviors, prioritize connection with your kids at allÂ times, practice listening and expressing feelings without judgment,Â and share power instead of using overt or subtle authoritarianÂ strategies.
Today, Mattei views parenthood as an opportunity for personal healing,Â inner growth and social transformation. “Since I was pregnant with myÂ first son, all I wanted to convey to him was unconditional love,” sheÂ says. Â “NVC gives me the tools to parent my children without fear,Â guilt, or shame-inducing techniques. Â It also gives me the tools to
heal my own wounds, so that my love can truly be unconditional.”Â Instead of getting angry with our kids, Mattei says, we can choose toÂ stop, identify our judgmental thoughts, and become aware of our ownÂ unmet needs. We can then choose constructive ways to express ourÂ feelings, and transform our anger into an opportunity for buildingÂ connection and trust with our children.
For the past 10 years, Mattei has facilitated parenting support groupsÂ and consulted mothers about breastfeeding issues for La Leche League.Â She leads workshops, writes articles, and offers counseling servicesÂ based on the teachings of NVC, neuroscience, and love-based parenting.
With Keynote Presentations and Breakout Sessions on health, theÂ environment, parenting and education, and an Exhibit Hall featuringÂ healthy and eco-friendly products and services, attendees of the 2008Â Natural Living Conference will learn about the myriad ways in whichÂ they can help protect the Earth and improve their family’s health.Â Tickets to the Conference are $100 for non-members before OctoberÂ 10th, and $110 at the door. Â Online registration is available at www.holisticoms.org. Lunch â€“ with a vegetarian option â€“ is includedÂ with the price of admission. Conference sponsors include OrganicÂ Valley and Kiwi Magazine.