It appears that despite NVR being a well-formed and well-practised parenting approach, there are a few misunderstandings around. Below are some frequently asked questions with answers that will hopefully clear up any remaining misunderstandings.
1) Can you use NVR at the start of a placement?
Start as you mean to go on – a well-known phrase which is completely relevant to NVR. Children and young people that have experienced trauma and/or loss in their lives need to be parented differently to other youngsters because they have often have disrupted attachment to the primary care-givers. As a result, standard parenting techniques, such as rewards and consequences have little, or time-limited, effect on changing negative behaviours.
In addition, NVR is not about changing the child or young person, it is about changing the adult and their approach to parenting.
2) Is NVR just for managing violent behaviour?
Whilst NVR is extremely effective for managing violent behaviours, it has at its core, the aim of building (or rebuilding) relationships between parents and children/young people and within the family as a whole. By increasing parental presence in the home, all members of the family feel calmer, contained and supported. Therefore, other problematic behaviours, such as swearing, destruction of property, self-harming and general anxiety respond well to the NVR parenting approach.
3) Isn’t NVR about disconnecting from your child if they are being aggressive?
Not at all. It’s more about connecting or reconnecting with your child despite the fact that they are being aggressive. By giving your child or young person small but regular reconciliation gestures, you demonstrate to them unconditional love irrespective of their behaviour. Over time, and alongside the other aspects of NVR, a change of emotional ‘temperature’ pervades the relationship between family members. This in turn leads to a decrease in both the frequency and intensity of aggressive incidents.
4) Doesn’t NVR shame children?
Far from it. NVR builds on the positive qualities (some of which are hidden under the façade of coping that some of our children put on) of all members of the household. NVR starts (and continues) with relationship-building between you and your child and young person. It is only when trust has been established that the ‘tougher’ components of NVR are implemented. Even when the tougher components are underway, we continue relating positively with our children and young people; this negates the potential of shame as it is the behaviour that is being targeted not the child or young person him/herself.
5) Does it teach safehold?
No, absolutely not. Whilst at the beginning of the NVR journey, there may be times for parents to hold/restrain a child or young person in order to maintain the safety of all those involved, this is only carried out in emergency situations. In the long term, it is the aim of NVR to rely on the improved relationships to resolve issue between family members without the need for physical handling. Indeed, in most cases, this is the natural outcome of undertaking the NVR parenting approach.
6) I don’t have any supporters, so NVR won’t work
Having supporters is but one of several aspects of NVR. It is possible for NVR to work without supporters.
However, even though many parents find that friends and family members who could be supporters ‘drop by the wayside’ when problematic behaviours arise, there are many other ‘official’ potential supporters. These could be (carefully selected) professionals at school or in the community such as Teaching Assistants, Police Officers, etc. Have an open mind and supporters will appear.
7) It doesn’t work!
That just isn’t true! However, it is hard work. You will be undertaking tasks that are counter-intuitive and counter-cultural, it is not parenting like many of your friends – but remember, your children have had different life experiences. And, you may well find that you are asking yourself to react in a counter-biological fashion! However, you would not be contemplating NVR if the way you are parenting now was working!!