I have had this argument with a lot of people, online and offline, over the years.
I met this guy at the park the other day. He is an active church member and works with young people.
He was insisting that we “have to” beat our children. In Africa, we beat our children – and "it works".
I confess I did not use my NVC skills during this encounter. I did not try to connect with his feelings and needs. I get very reactive when I see parents behaving in ways I don't like, and I particularly react, when people tell me we “have to” beat our children.
People also think it is part of our culture, but it's not. This is behavour that was learned and reinforced during slavery. Violent parenting, ruling by fear and intimidation, is NOT part of our culture. It is part of white culture. White people don't want us to know this. They don't want us to know and understand that we can have relationships, including parent/child relationships, based on trust, mutual understandin,g care and respecct.
“We have to” is a form of jackal speech, which Marshall Rosenberg terms “the language of no choice”. He points out that the Nazis used this kind of language to justify their actions.
For more about jackal speech, see “Transform Your Life with Nonviolent Communication”.
Also, check out my book, Success Strategies for Black People.
Nonviolent Communication also works.
Just because I have knowledge about NVC and I understand how it works, doesn't mean I always use it. I fall down. I make mistakes. It's called learning.
Jackals are very useful, as they point us to our unmet needs. I was experiencing a lot of unmet needs in this argument. Needs for kindness, care, respect and, most importantly, listening. A lot of parents tell me they are having problems with their children. “She's angry, she's slamming doors”, etc. But when I ask what unmet needs the child is experiencing, they tell me, “she doesn't have any”.
If your child is angry or upset, he or she is experiencing unmet needs. And you need to LISTEN to the child to understand what unmet needs he or she is experiencing.
We need to LISTEN to children, not beat them.
Please leave your comments below, and please share this with your networks.