The short answer is no, it won’t but it will definitely help.
Often when I’m working with parents they really want to talk about de-escalation and learn how to do it, thinking that it will solve all of their problems. Obviously, learning how to calm a situation and stop it exploding is really important and makes a significant difference to how we all feel. In itself it doesn’t stop it from happening again. De-escalation is an important part of NVR, but it is part of the jigsaw not the whole of the puzzle.
What does help reduce the meltdowns from happening in the first place is building a strong, connected relationship with your child. One where they learn they can trust you as their parents to always be there for them whatever happens. Where they learn it’s OK to talk to you about their worries and concerns and can be open about their feelings. I strongly believe we have to help our children to use their feelings in a constructive way. Acknowledging their feelings and helping them to understand them. That may mean getting them professional therapy or reading books that help them understand their emotions, whatever works for them. The behaviour may have many underlying reasons for it, such as early trauma, but it is not an excuse for violent or aggressive behaviour.
Fast forward to when your child is 25 and they have beaten someone up. In court, the judge isn’t going to say ‘Don’t worry it’s because you had a traumatic start in life’. Hopefully, it will be taken into account, but it won’t stop some sort of sentence being issued because it’s not an acceptable excuse.
For adoptive parents, we know the trauma that our children experienced has long lasting impacts on them. Making it even more imperative that we help them understand their feelings, manage their feelings, and develop positive self-esteem.
De-escalation is therefore part of the story. In an NVR context, it is important that we also use the other pillars of NVR at the same time. Looking after yourself emotionally and physically is essential. It is much harder to self-regulate and de-escalate if you’re really tired or stressed. Reconciliation gestures show your child you love them, irrespective of their behaviour. We all want to feel loved even if we act like we don’t. Reconciliation gestures help us as parents remember the love we have for our child and help the child know that they are loved. In turn that helps them develop and increase their own self-esteem and know that they are worthy and deserving of being loved.
As a parent, knowing how to de-escalate certainly helped me, but I put all my efforts into building a strong and connected relationship with my son. Continually reminding him I am there for him whatever and he can always talk to me. Learning to self-regulate myself made such a difference to our lives and how I felt.
So if you’re thinking ‘NVR might work for us as a family’, you’re probably right, but only if you are prepared to potentially change how you’re parenting and know that de-escalation isn’t the be all and end all, you need all the parts of the jigsaw for it to be really effective.
If you or your children are struggling at the moment, that’s ok. Please don’t feel isolated, help is available. Come and join my free Facebook group, it’s a lovely, supportive group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/connectiveparentingusingNVR/
If you need a little extra help from me, I can be a Sarah in your pocket for as little as £15 per month with membership to the Connective Parenting Hub. There are loads of useful resources there for you. www.sarahpfisher.com/connectiveparentinghub.
I’ve also been busy creating some new training videos, covering some of the topics I’m asked about most. The new ‘Pick and Mix’ classes are now available. The video trainings are just £5 each. I’ve also created a couple of bundles where you can grab 3 videos for £12.50. You have lifetime access to the training. If you’re a hub member you’re getting these for free included in your membership. You can find them all at www.sarahfisher.podia.com