First I’d like to bring our awareness to the dangers of looking at children with a different quality of respect than we would an adult. The ideal states that all people are equal, it does not matter if you are 1 or 100, but is that what we really believe? Let’s say your neighbor comes over to your home and accidentally spills red wine on the carpet. Do you raise your voice and tell them to clean it up or do you say; its ok I’ll get it, I was going to get the rugs cleaned this week anyway. That is what I’m talking about. We say we love our kids unconditionally, we love them more than anything, yet if they spill grape juice on the floor…well you get the picture. Compassionate communication with our children is just that, respectful and compassionate. The same respect and compassion we would give our neighbor or spouse. Accidents happen, especially when your 3! Now that we’ve broken the ice and you’re seeing where I’m going with this, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of how to communicate compassionately with your children.

1. Look at your children as people; don’t dehumanize them because of their age.
2. Do not expect a child to behave a certain way, it threatens their autonomy.
3. Autonomy is a healthy human need; if it is threatened there will be resistance.
4. Needs are very important, what need is the child trying to get met?
5. How can you help the child get their need met?
6. Create the quality of connection necessary for everyone’s needs to get met.
7. Do not demand things from your children, request them.
8. Demands will always met resistance, they also make our respect and love conditional.

Number six is very important, let’s go further into understanding the importance of connection with our children. Creating the quality of connection where everyone’s needs can be met requires a shift. A shift away from the way we have been culturally trained; away from using coercion to get what we want or to resolve differences with our children. We want to shift away from evaluating children in a moralistic way; such as good or bad, right and wrong, into a compassionate way based on needs and desires. It might look something like this, “I feel scared when you hit or scream at your brother, because I need everyone to feel safe in our home,” instead of, “It’s wrong/bad to hit or scream at your brother.” This shift away from blame and or shame can be challenging for those of us who have been conditioned to accept that kind of language. It requires us to be present with our children, to validate and empathize when they are communicating with us.
Moving away from the habits of communication we have been taught by our culture will be challenging. I support you in continuing your journey toward the ideal of compassionate communication and strongly suggest surrounding yourself with a supportive community. If you need help or suggestions on where to find like minded people feel free to contact me @

Author's Bio: 

Tracy Liebmann is an experienced educator and Family Life Coach. You can learn more about Tracy and her coaching practice at