Benevolent Communication, a tool for more family peace

” You annoy me ! “” BECAUSE OF YOU, we’re late ALL THE TIME. »« I can’t take YOUR CAPRICES anymore! Do you also find that your words go beyond your thought? Compassionate Communication is a “communication technique” that aims to teach us to express ourselves with more respect and empathy. Also called Non Violent Communication or NVC, its objective, as its name suggests: “communicate with benevolence” to create within the family a serene atmosphere conducive to cooperation!

Caroline, mother, mother-in-law and grandmother of 4 children, talks to us about Benevolent Communication, the fruit of her research for a peaceful, joyful and respectful relationship within the family.

Why use Compassionate Communication as a family?

I don’t know about you, but as a rule few of us have been brought up in a nonviolent mode of communication. Until recently (the advent and understanding of behavioral neuroscience), classical education, (and the communication which ensues from it) tended to privilege orders and advocated obedience, in a submission-domination relationship.

Marshall Rosenberg, the father of the non-violent communication, worked on another voice, respectful of the two interlocutors: self and the other.

The goal of communication is to change the paradigm: instead of accusing the other of being the cause of our ills, this process invites us to take back our responsibility. It’s not the other that annoys me, but what the other does that awakens something in me. (“So it wouldn’t be my son who decided to build a kapla tower -in front of the door- at the time of departure that annoys me, but my fear of being late for work ?!)

The goal is not, in the immediate future, to obtain what we want from the other, but tobuild relationships based on empathy and sincerity that will meet everyone’s needs. Nice program, right ?!

By integrating this into our exchanges with our children, it allows us to take a small step back and to formulate our words differently, without attacking them.

The benefits of Caring Communication

The non-violent communication used with our children – and even generally in all our relationships – has three major interests:

1- This is the opportunity to point the camera on us before addressing each other: what am I feeling? Is there a need that is unmet for me? What will I need in this situation?

2- Feel less attacked by the other’s words. By understanding that the other is different from me and that he too has emotions and needs that do not belong to me, it allows us to react less to his remarks about the other as an aggression, but to understand that a need is not satisfied in him.

3- In leading by example empathetic and caring communication increases the chances that our child will be able to deploy this skill later in his interactions with others.

While the theory is easy to understand, putting it into practice is not always easy. Because when we are under pressure, it is sometimes difficult to go through the different stages of benevolent communication 😋.

Moreover, you will be able to find plenty of concrete cases on “how to adopt a benevolent communication, when our child does not do what is asked of him…! in our pack “how to make him cooperate (without shouting)!”. Indicate your email below, we will send it to you for free … 👉

Here are the 4 steps of Non-Violent Communication …

The 4 stages of Benevolent Communication

To be able to take the small step aside, Nonviolent Communication recommends 4 steps.

To illustrate, let’s take an example: it is Monday morning, 7:56. I asked Noah, my 7 year old son, to put on his shoes (3 times already in less than 10 minutes 😉!). He decided to build a launching track for his cars in the living room. I have an important appointment for work that I don’t want to be late for. Can you imagine the scene? 🤯

  • Observation of the facts 🔍 without judgment or evaluation. Like a camera, it is about looking objectively at what is happening: “Noah didn’t put on his shoes. He built a tower for his cars. ”
  • The expression of feelings 😨 where we try to put words to our feelings: “That makes me angry”, “I feel worried”.
  • Take awareness of the need Who is not satisfied for us: “I need to be on time for my meeting. “
  • Make a request 💬 or propose to find a solution together that meets the needs of both participants:“Can we leave the tower until tonight and I’ll help you put your shoes on?” “. It could also be “What solution can we find together in relation to this? “, but there, I did not have too much time 😉.

In short, taking a step back, I was able to formulate “I see you didn’t put your shoes on and you built a great tower. I feel worried because I really need to be on time for my appointment. Do you think we can put your shoes on faster than lightning to get me on time? We leave the tower and you will find it again this evening?! ”. (I reassure you, I had to relive the scenario a number of times to succeed in reacting like this. On the other hand, I can also assure you that it is much more efficient and faster than a kick in the turn> which triggers a seizure> which makes Loulou no longer want to move> which makes me scream> etc. 😨)

If you want examples of practice, do not hesitate to take a look at our article “7 situations where NVC saved my life (and that of my child)”.

And in communication, there is “talking” (in CNV mode), and “listening”! And that’s why, active listening is a key element of success!

Giraffe and Jackal: how to implement benevolent communication at home?

To illustrate the two ways of thinking of classical communication vs NVC, Marshall Rosenberg chose two puppets: the jackal and the giraffe.

The Jackal

The jackal represents the classic face of communication. He is convinced of hold the truth, from know how to distinguish the true from the false. The think you’re right and may use blackmail, judgment or threats to lobby on his interlocutor. The jackal therefore expresses himself in a peremptory manner and does not value feelings very much. The world is therefore Manichean: there is winners and losers.


Marshall Rosenberg chose the giraffe to embody NVC because it is the animal with the biggest heart, and its long neck allows it to gain height. The giraffe’s communication momentum so comes from the heart and some willingness to be in touch. She expresses herself with kindness while being turned towards the other.

She is attentive to recognize their emotions and needs, like those of his interlocutor. The giraffe is aware that behind every emotion * and feeling lie unmet basic needs. This allows him to not feel personally questioned when the jackal addresses her.

* etymologically, an e-motion comes from e-movere, “to set in motion”, “to shake”: it is therefore there to give us momentum to move forward!

So, want to take a step back and try to move towards more benevolent communication with your child (ren)? Personally, I slowly learned to use it: at the beginning, it is not natural (a bit like when you learn to drive, you have to think about the pedals and the gear change), and little by little, to force to try, we take more and more the fold (in short, we switch to automatic driving). And this has greatly eased the tensions in my family: everyone feels taken into account and empowered, and that is already a lot! Afterwards, of course, like everyone else, sometimes I miss, I stumble, I explode… Nothing serious, it’s an opportunity to take stock, to apologize and to apply to do better. 🤗

Because the only certainty is that “if we don’t change anything, nothing will change”. 😉

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