Show 70 – Hearing the ‘Yes’ behind the ‘No’

“NO!” The dreaded word has been spoken. You asked your child to do something reasonable, like put on sunscreen on a hot, sunny day. Wash his hands before a meal. Put his shoes on so you can get out of the house. Pick up the toys he left scattered in the living room. Brush his teeth before going to bed. Go to bed.


Yet your child—at a year, two, three, four or older—has a mind of his own. You love that mind of his, his growing independence and assertiveness, his desire to decide what he wants to do and when. But you wish he would be reasonable! You wish he would do, without so much fuss, what you want him to do.


Negotiating the gap between what we want and what our children want can strain our patience and skill level to their limit. Parenting books attest to this, as one after another focuses on how to get our children to do what we want them to do—whether through “effective discipline,” rewards, punishments, or dialogue.


Nonviolent Communication (NVC) offers a perspective and skills that take the dialogue approach further and deeper than any other process I’ve encountered. The premise underlying NVC is that all human actions are attempts to meet our human needs, and that understanding and empathizing with these needs creates trust, connection, and more broadly—peace. This premise is translated into a very concrete and practical set of tools for communication that increases our ability to recognize and empathize with our own and others’ feelings and needs. When used consistently (or even occasionally!), NVC can create deep connection, trust and cooperation among family members of all ages.

…read more of this article by Inbal Kashtan


Cathy Bucher, mother of 2 boys ages 9 and 12 years, joins us on Family Matters Radio to talk about Hearing the YES behind the NO and why, as parents, we don’t have to take ‘no’ for an answer.


What difference does hearing “yes” make to resolving family difficulties? What does it mean to hear the yes behind the no? What can parents do when they hear their kids say that dreaded word ‘no”?


Aired live: Sunday, September 4th, 2011 0800-0900 Eastern Standard Time on CFRU 93.3 FM, Guelph, Ontario, Canada


Listen to Podcast (click to listen or right click to save to your computer)


Another article written by Inbal Kashtan:

An article about NVC and parenting by Grace Maina:

More about the Family Heart Camps we talked about:



About Wendy McDonnell

3 Responses to “Show 70 – Hearing the ‘Yes’ behind the ‘No’”

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  1. Wendy says:

    Sometimes people send us emails rather than writing on the blog, so I wanted to share these with you.

    “I wish I could have used your approach when my kids were growing up. My philosophy was “Do it or else”. I never quite knew what the “or else” would be. I admire you very much.”

    “It has taken me a few days to listen to your interview. Thanks for sharing it.
    I loved hearing your voice! The story at the end about connecting with your son’s no about going to preschool was super sweet and inspiring.
    I’m working with my son about doing homework with fun and ease, we are trying all methods. Certainly getting him involved in the process has the best success and is more fun for me too.”

    “Thanks for sending that link. I listened to the program and really enjoyed it. We try to do this already, but you gave some very helpful information regarding kids and transitioning to new activities. I’ve been employing that now with my son and it works way better than what we were doing before. For instance, when I come to get him at school, he is of course reluctant to leave, so I sit next to him and check out what he’s doing. I don’t even have to say “time to go” now. He finishes what he’s doing, fills me in on what he’s done and then gets up and starts gathering up his things. Before, we always had a lot of strife around that transition — usually with me thinking he was wasting my time. It was helpful to be reminded that kids are INTO what they are doing, and literally get torn away from it without an appropriate – for them – completion point. So thanks for that.
    I also very much enjoyed the story at the end of the piece where you talk about your older son not wanting to go to daycare. That was beautiful. I sent it along to a friend of mine who has a two year old and is about to give birth to her second child — both boys, by the way.”

  2. Wendy says:

    Cathy Bucher is also featured on the radio show “Road Scholars” Sep 23rd, 2011 KDRT 95.7FM in Davis, California

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