Last time I talked about NVR (Non-Violent Resistance) and how it has helped me to resolve disruptive behaviour in my family. This technique focuses not on changing the child, but on changing the way you interact with that child.

NVR is based on five ‘pillars’ of learning, in this post I’m going to cover the first pillar: ‘de-escalation’.

As a parent dealing with a disruptive child, you may well have seen your child arguing, expressing anger and making threats on a regular basis. The natural reaction of most parents is to attempt to control bad behaviour with threats or punishments. In most scenarios, this reaction does nothing more than fuel the anger of the child and the situation quickly escalates into a battle of wills and a refusal to back down.

This type of reaction will never help to pacify the child who has developed patterns of escalation because he (or she) is looking for your reaction. The more he provokes you into losing control, the more he will continue with it. When he doesn’t get his way, he’ll escalate his demands until you lose patience and give in.

The ‘De-escalation’ pillar gives the parent methods to shut down the power struggle and allow communication to resume between the parent and the child. Parents are taught how to avoid ‘being drawn in’ to battles. You can do this by avoiding lengthy explanations for your decisions and totally avoid making threats such as ‘If…then….’ which will only incite the child to threaten you in return.

Another crucial aspect of the de-escalation of aggressive behavior is called the ‘pause and postpone’ principle. This is where silence is the parents’ best ally! Instead of immediately responding to what your child is demanding or accusing you of, take time to plan your response or reply with ‘I do not like this and I’m going to think about it’, followed by a silence. Doing this will indicate to your child that you are able to behave independently from them and that they do not have the power to make you react in a particular way.

This principal also applies when you opt to ‘strike when the iron is cold’. This sounds counterintuitive to what you might have learned elsewhere, but in fact, by dealing with a heated situation at a later point in time (this might even be several hours later) you and the child have had a chance to calm down and you can be more rational and reasonable in your reactions to each other.

Try this out! I’d love to hear how you get on; let me know in the comments!

Best wishes,


p.s. On the 15th March I’m running a one day introduction to NVR, if you’d to come along, get in touch on 07817 544707 or click here.



About Sarah Fisher

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I am an adoptive parent of a gorgeous boy. We are doing well now, but it wasn’t always that way. I successfully used the NVR philosophy to build a bond with my son, help him to improve his self-esteem and understand his emotions. Gradually I have gone from a stressed-out, terrified parent to someone who feels in control and full of confidence.

I trained in NVR with the Partnership Project, led by Dr Peter Jakob. I’m using my training to deliver one-to-one coaching to other parents and a series of workshops designed to bring peace and order into your home.

I am passionate about showing other parents how to use NVR to improve their relationships with their children and to create a happier family life.


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