Emotional Intelligence | Encouragement | Parenting | Friends of EQI

Jolette Jai
Peace of Mind Parenting


Somehow I found Jolette's website on non-violent parenting. It caught my interest and I watched this video she made about emotions, emotional intelligence and kids:


In it she mentions my website and the list of feeling words.

Here is one of her articles (I am awaiting her permission to post it entirely, but for now I assume it will be okay with her)


Letting Go Of Resistance: Finding the Yes Behind the No
Jolette Jai
Peace of Mind Parenting

As I emerged out of the bathroom last night only to find my son climbing and jumping from my desk, I let out a small shriek of surprise. There were a lot of glass objects right around where he had decided to play Tarzan and just the sight of that jump had my nerves standing on end.

But it was my reaction that really caught my son by surprise. And a big ol’ ’NO!’ slipped out of my mouth.

I’ll never forget my son’s reaction, which will forever be ingrained in my memory.

For after I told him that the desk was dangerous for him to jump off of, he turned to me with the most innocent, big questioning eyes and said, “Do you still love me?”

I had to ask him to repeat the question again because, honestly, I had never heard him ask me that before.

And he repeated, ‘Do you still love me?’

Wow. His words pierced right through to my heart. ’Yes! Of course I still love you!’ I replied grabbing him and hugging him. ’I will always love you!’ In hearing this, his smile beamed from ear to ear. You could feel his fulfillment and pure joy in that moment.

As I wondered more about this ‘No!’ that I was so quick to react with, I was quickly reminded that my reaction/response to my child has nothing to do with my child and everything to do with me! So, I engaged my son with our nonviolent tools of communication and we talked about what just happened, how we were both feeling about my reaction, and any future solutions we could come up with when he felt the urge to climb.

Normally, we have a different practice around here instead of me just saying ‘no!’ when my child does something that I don’t enjoy. Yet, last night, my nervous feelings got the best of me in that particular moment and I reacted with my big ol’ ’No!’

As parents, we’re often so quick to say ‘no’ to our children. After all, we know all the ‘rules’ and it’s our job to enforce them. Right?

Well, ‘no’, maybe not.

Have you noticed that your child may react to your ‘no’ with resistance? And my experience with resistance is that ‘resistance begets resistance.’ So, you may find yourself and your child engaged in some sort of battle of wits with all of the ‘no’s’.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some secret of connection that would head off this downward cycle before it even starts?

Well, guess what? There is.

There is a secret that will instantly connect you with your child and lay the foundation for future cooperation. The secret?

There is a ‘yes’ lurking behind the ‘no’.

Finding the ‘yes’ doesn’t mean that you acquiesce to your every child’s request. Quite the opposite. You are actually holding true to your ‘no’, your limit, yet, at the same time, you are acknowledging your child’s feelings and desires whenever he/she makes a request. Finding the ‘yes’ behind the ‘no’ lets your child know that his/her feelings do matter, builds your child’s emotional intelligence and does worlds for your child’s self-esteem as well.

So, how does it look?

Let’s say it’s just after dinner, and your child has just thrown his ice cream all over the floor.

Instead of immediately responding with your ‘no’, you can validate your child’s desire for play and how throwing the ice cream makes your child feel. Here’s an example:

“Ice cream is really slimy, huh? It seems like it’s really fun to throw! You have a need to play, huh?

(hint: this is the ‘yes’) but we don’t throw ice cream because…..it makes the floor slippery and somebody may fall (or whatever your reason is…this is the ‘no’, your limit and should be in line with your personal/family values.)

Your child will either be ok with your explanation or he/she may have big feelings around your limit. And here’s where it’s helpful to remember the 3 reasons from my good friend and colleague, Marion Badenoch Rose:

‘When kids do things that we don’t enjoy, it’s because of 3 reasons’:

He/she has an unmet need

A need for information

A need to release painful feelings related to stress or trauma.

You may often experience your child’s tantrums or big feelings as causing some disconnection with you yet, your child is really trying to express something that lies deeper within and could actually cause a deeper connection and understanding between the two of you.

Finding the ‘yes’ behind the ‘no’ and validating that ‘yes’ first allows for the connection and understanding between you and your child. You can still hold the limit and then use any of our Nonviolent parenting tools to honor your child’s big feelings and maintain the connection between you and your child, even during your child’s biggest emotional ‘storm’.

If you haven’t yet received our free 3-part video series on how to handle tantrums/big feelings using 5 Nonviolent Tools, go here:

And have fun with that ice-cream floor! I hear it’s great for skating

Steve's suggestion and comments



Mom says after the NO!...

I'm sorry I scared you hunny, but I felt so scared myself when I saw you jumping near those pieces of glass. I'm really afraid, like 9.9 that you will cut yourself and I feel really protective of you, like 10+ I love you so much and I don't want you to hurt yourself. And I feel responsible for keeping you safe. I'd also feel guilty if you did cut yourself.

If the parent isn't able to put all her feelings into words like that, maybe the child could say:

How are you feeling, mommy? Were you afraid I would cut my feet on the glass? It looks like you were really afraid. How afraid were you, from 0 to ten?

I find this kind of direct communication of emotion, along with the levels of intensity, very useful! And kids seem to pick up on it extremely quickly.

I also believe its normal, natural to just scream out. We can't and shouldn't always calmly state our feelings. When there is a real danger it is good to create the connection in the brain for the child. But what we don't want to do is teach the child to be afraid of *us*.

I believe a hug and saying how you feel with feeling words after initial shouting will create bonds of love and security while leaving in place the fear of the dangerous situation.