Can you introduce yourself?
I now live in Bordeaux and am the mother of two teenagers aged 17 and 20. I knew the “Faber & Mazlish” workshops when they were 6 and 3 years old, at a time when I was experiencing a lot of conflicts with them, I was a very active volcano and I made them responsible for my anger, because before 'being a mom I was very calm! I met by chance in my village in Provence a mother, a school doctor, who was returning from the United States with this approach under her arm and I was part of her very first workshop in 2006. I went there with no bad resistance at first, looking above all for an excuse to leave the house, then slowly this approach revolutionized my life and embellished my relationships.
Can you tell us about the Faber & Mazlish method?
This is an approach that comes from the United States, founded by Haïm Ginott, teacher then psychotherapist, who looked at the difficult behaviors of children. He started from the observation that "when a child feels good, he behaves well". Convinced that children soak up their environment, he took an interest in the adults who accompany them on a daily basis: parents. He thus offered workshops to parents, in which Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, two mothers of large families living in New York, were able to participate. After the death of Haïm Ginott, they decided to compile the tools in a first book “Speaking so that the children listen, listen so that the children speak”. This approach offers us very concrete humanistic tools to better communicate with the family, to better understand the needs of each person behind difficult behaviors, with respect for others and for oneself, and thus to calm relationships.
We tackle the themes of the reception of the emotions of the child, how to arouse his cooperation, how to favor his autonomy, to nourish his self-esteem, to free him from the labels which one gives him ... Each topic represents a session of About 2h30, every two weeks, which allows you to practice at home. The group of 8 to 12 people thus benefits from each other's experiences, and travels together.
What is compassionate communication?
It’s a very buzzword today! and this is quite normal since it is highlighted by the discoveries of research in neuroscience and neuroimaging of the last twenty or thirty years, and from which we are fortunate to benefit, in particular on the brain development of children. We now know that kindness, empathy, respect, tenderness, hugs, listening, playing, taking care of others, all of this allows children to develop and learn better. , to then become an empathetic, conscious and responsible adult himself. We now know that a child in a stressful situation (screams, threats, humiliations, etc.) will have a cerebral maturity slowed down by the secretion of toxic hormones, and which, if their secretion is prolonged, prevent certain neuronal connections, induce synaptic dysfunctions, which can sometimes go as far as atrophy of certain areas of the brain.
Benevolent communication, I would say it is above all a posture, that of the accompanying adult, who can learn to be stable, available, sensitive, to listen to others and to listen to themselves. Of course, we are not all prepared to offer this posture, I am the first! It involves a deep work on yourself, to take care of your wounds so as not to project what has hurt us on the child we are accompanying. By taking care of our wounds, we avoid projections; thus we avoid expectations, therefore disappointments, and offer the child the freedom to grow up as a unique being, with his true nature and in a true and joyful impulse.
What are the tools for learning to welcome children's emotions?
Before listing the tools, I would say that we mainly lack information on emotions. They are a physiological reaction to an external stimuli. So I can't control them. There is no negative or positive emotion, the emotion is just pleasant or unpleasant, it indicates that a need is satisfied or not (need for trust, harmony, order, food, rest , peace, love, tenderness, evolution, .. all humans have the same needs at different times!).
The main tools are active listening (we talk too much, or we just listen to answer!), Non-judgment, empathy, to which is added observation: by being silent, I have the possibility of observing what is going on in me at this moment, which can already help to reduce my stress in the face of the situation. And finally, the tool that we learn is to be able to name the emotion. We haven't gotten used to saying what it feels like! The magic thing is that when I shut up, I give the other person space to express themselves. The "E-motion" is an outward movement. By naming it, shouting it or waving at me like little ones who don't yet speak do, the unpleasant emotion can come out so as not to impress itself on the body. The little child experiences a deluge of emotions because his brain is not mature. His limbic brain, the seat of emotions, takes up a lot of space, the child is "drowned" in an emotional uproar, there is no point in asking him to calm down. It is not a question of consoling or extinguishing the emotion, nor of finding a solution at any cost, it is a question of welcoming with a look, a supporting presence, words, by saying: "You really are angry there, what you are going through is difficult ”. Little by little, the child feels recognized in what he is going through, his emotional balloon decreases and he can once again have access to his cognitive abilities, to think, listen, elaborate, or just move on by being lighter.
A small example that I can cite: I had a booth at a trade fair, there were people, noise, parents were accompanied by their children who had trouble staying attentive and calm. A mom approached my booth, she was holding a toddler girl, about 5-6 months old, who was squirming in her arms, showing her impatience and nervousness. Mum was trying to swing it while talking to me, and the little girl reared even more. I looked at the baby empathetically and said "oh my, I see it's hard to wait, with all this noise and commotion around!" ". She immediately stopped, staring wide-eyed at me, then having presumably understood my message, gave a big smile and huddled into her mom's shoulder, recognized in her stress and soothed.
In the workshop, welcoming emotions requires a 3-hour session and practice at home, it's a real learning process! This is where the others come from, because you can't relate to the child if you haven't connected emotionally with him first.
Does a routine bring comfort and a particular anchoring in the structure of children's benchmarks?
Definitely, especially with toddlers. In addition to comfort and grounding, the routine offers security, it is one of the first physiological needs of the newborn baby, even before food. He will seek security from his attachment figure, so that he can better explore the world around him. As a child grows their needs change, so the routine can change too. We can co-build it with him, he will be more inclined to cooperate by becoming an actor. Routine becomes a reassuring “framework”.
Can the daily use of ergonomic care contribute to the good physical and physiological development of children?
When the use is daily it is a chance! it can sometimes be experienced as a constraint if the child feels forced. There are children with great kinesthetic sensitivity (putting on a simple polo shirt with collar and buttons can be very uncomfortable on the skin!), It is sometimes necessary to identify and propose with gentleness and respect.
Generally speaking, during pregnancy, the child builds itself in its mother's womb with permanent physical contact. When he is born, it is important to keep this proximity thanks to eye contact, smiles, massages (we avoid tickling!), Physiological portage. This promotes attachment which is a powerful foundation for the development of the child.
How does learning to take care of yourself deepen your self-esteem?
A child learns by imitating. When the parent (or the siblings around him) takes care of himself and takes as much care of the child (while respecting his privacy or sometimes his refusals, because this is how the child will learn that his body is not an object available to the other), the child will integrate this resource and self-love. Loving yourself unconditionally is one of the three pillars of "self-esteem" (the other two being self-esteem and self-confidence). The unconditional gaze, the words and the attentions offered by the family and societal environment color relationships and will fill the child's emotional reservoir, making an indelible mark on the child's self-esteem.
More broadly, I would like to mention the fact that we are part of a chain: I learn to take care of myself if, from childhood, my entourage paid me this attention, and if I have also seen my parents take care of toddlers, animals, surrounding nature, etc. If the child sees an adult they love, beat a dog or angrily stomp on a column of ants, the message will become inconsistent: I can hurt smaller than me. What will happen to me if I am a child? Self-esteem can be damaged. Taking care of yourself requires a language that is consistent with everything around us.
What are some words that encourage children to compliment and become aware of themselves? (In mastering a care routine)
I repeat that it is important to model, the child needs consistency. You can't force him to put on cream if you don't already do it for yourself. As the little one learns by imitating the big one, the big one can show the child how pleasant and joyful it is to take care of himself. For example, through play (which is a very powerful engine for learning and for being connected), by talking about your feelings or what the treatment brings:
- "I feel really relaxed after this treatment, I loved it so much! ",
- "How I love this cream and taking the time to massage myself, it makes me love myself more! "
- "I like to wear this scent all day, it reminds me of you"
- "You give me a little massage on my arm with this cream?" "
- "Look, it's very sweet, it's like you, I love it"
- "A little sunscreen to protect my skin, she will thank me tonight!" "
- "I'm happy to give you this body milk, it's my way of telling you that you are important to me. »(To a teenager for example)
- "Thank you both for this little moment, it made me feel good, I'm going to start my day really well! ".
With these sweet words, the child learns to compliment and love himself.
With the toddler, let's try to provide some quality connection time during a massage, and if it's not every day it can be a weekend time.
With the older one, propose to co-construct a routine: "When is the best time for you? "," How do you want to go about it? "" Do you prefer to wear it in the morning or in the evening after washing? "You put it on my back and then it's me?
If we can live and transmit joy in these moments, we have won everything. Let's also agree to forget the session, to let go of the way the cream is applied, it's not about perfection but about experiences and connections!
Where can I find all the information about the Faber & Mazlish method to join a workshop?
The books and workshops can be found on the Aux Editions du Phare website: https://www.auxeditionsduphare.com
The workshops given in French-speaking countries are listed on https://www.rezoanimation.com
The first workshop is called "Speak so that the children listen, listen so that the children speak"- 7 sessions to learn the basics.
Then come: "Brothers and sisters without rivalry"
and finally for the teachers: "Speaking so that children learn at school and at home"
As for me, I run workshops in Bordeaux: https://www.anne-partridge.com