Honoring Greatness with the Nurtured Heart Approach®
Tammy (Small) Fisher, M.Ed. and Certified Advanced Nurtured Heart Trainer
Overview of Howard Glasser’s Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA):
                          (Howie and Tammy at Advanced/Renewal Training January 2009)        
For further background on this nationally recognized approach go to: www.difficultchild.com
The Nurtured Heart Approach teaches significant adults how to strongly energize the child's experiences of success while not accidentally energizing his or her experiences of failure. It is a strategic systems approach designed to turn the challenging child around to a new pattern of success. The approach has also been found to produce substantial success in helping the average child flourish at higher-than-expected levels of functioning.
Most approaches, because they were designed for the average child, get stretched beyond their capacity when applied to challenging children. Traditional approaches for parenting and teaching can easily backfire with highly intense children: they inadvertently reward children by providing more energy, involvement and animation when things are going wrong. Challenging children wind up being very confused because they perceive a high level of incentive for pushing the limits and for negative behaviors and little incentive to make successful choices. Often, the harder adults try applying these normal methods, the worse the situation becomes, despite the best of intentions.
The approach is now used in hundreds of classrooms nationally, and its strategies have been adopted with substantial success as the school-wide discipline plan in dozens of schools nationwide.  
“The excellent news is that The Nurtured Heart Approach has been proven to create the transformation very quickly and in an enduring way. Instead of believing that one gets a great deal more from adults through negativity and that positive choices are a less certain bet, the child is moved to believing that he or she can fully invest energy and intelligence in successes”
  1. Howard Glasser, Founder of Children Success Foundation and author of Transforming the Difficult Child:  the Nurtured Heart Approach
A Recap:  The Nurtured Heart Approach Basics for Educators
(excerpt from The Inner Wealth Initiative:  The Nurtured Heart Approach for Educators, by Tom Grove and Howard Glasser, 165-66, c.2007)
The Nurtured Heart Approach is a social curriculum that transforms students’ character and spirit, giving them a deep conviction that they can cope with problems and succeed socially and emotionally.  We refer to this personal power as inner wealth.
Basic Perspectives:
  1.   Difficult children are seeking intense relationship.
  2.   Difficult kids quickly learn that they can readily engage and control others through negative behavior.  These children can become almost addicted to the rush of this kind of relationship.
  3.   Ordinary parenting and classroom discipline methods make things worse with children like this, because most normal methods demonstrate more relationship and energy when things are going wrong – and in contrast, little energy and relationship when things are going well.
  4.   Children who possess sufficient inner wealth do not need negative relationships, because they can sustain themselves by connecting to the world and to themselves through successes.  The more inner wealth, the greater the resiliency.
  5.   There is no way to avoid teaching a social curriculum.  We are always sending some message.
Basic Principles:
  1.   Create a rich relationship by creatively energizing success.  We call this “time-in.”
  2.   Create an empty, boring “time-out” that consists of the child missing out on life’s energies and relationships.  The child is out of the loop; you are refusing to give energy and relationship to negativity.  Instead, you are giving an unceremonious consequence.
  3.   Have a clear line between time-in and time-out.
  4.   Always work toward a positive future time-in.
  5.   Always let students be fully responsible for their problems.  Don’t deny them the result of a poor choice – a consequence – when a rule is broken.
  6.   Always treat them as though they are fully competent, RIGHT NOW.
  7.   When interacting with students, control your mood and the direction of conversations.  Do not leak negativity by giving energy and relationship to poor behaviors.
  8.   There is nothing we can do to stop bad behavior, but we can consequence or celebrate whatever behavior occurs.  We have exquisite control when we are strict (consequence for any rule broken) and positive (create and celebrate successes and acknowledgment and recognition) and when we avoid leaking negativity.
 (To explore these concepts further, contact me via email at tammy@nurturedheart.net, or purchase one of Glasser’s books on the Nurtured Heart Approach – and start nurturing greatness in everyone you touch immediately!)