top of page

On the inside,
all people are 
more alike
than different.

need star
yellow star.JPG

Hello! I'm on a mission to help parents stay connected during the teen years. Through my own parenting journey I discovered how focusing on feelings and needs can bring us together in ways that sharing thoughts alone cannot. Inspired and encouraged by a teen I lived with and one whom I met, we wrote and illustrated a simple book for children and young families to introduce the basics of compassionate connecting.  I believe the visual symbols can help us remember basic truths... Thoughts come and go, feelings come and go, and deep inside we all have the energy of our emotional needs which connect to everything we feel and everything we do! This is as true for adults as it is for children.

It was the feeling of desperation and my need for support in my parenting that brought me to Nonviolent Communication in 2013.  
I credit this practice with repairing my relationship with my teen daughter and improving my marriage.  From the very first workshop I attended, I knew this learning would enhance my life.  I offer a free weekly practice group through Capital NVC and dream that these sources of support will multiply in response to the world's need for empathy for everyone.  My vision is that anyone longing for connection will know that these relational skills exist and that they will have access to learning them just as I did.

The book is available for FREE on TeachersPayTeachers .  The practice page and feelings and needs list are after 'The End' page.   You can use them to jump start your journey into connected conversations with the children in your life.

Need more parenting support?  I am compiling a list of coaches and organizations that are familiar with the beautiful simplicity available through a needs-based understanding of ourselves and others.

yellow star.JPG
yellow star.JPG

"The first time I used the nonviolent consciousness during a high stress situation with my daughter, I realized the potential this has to transform relationships and create peace. It worked for me and my child and I want to share it with every parent!  I wrote An Inside Story because I was frustrated that the simple concepts of NVC - which brought immediate relief to my relationship with my 13 year old daughter -  were not widely known or taught.  I spent years as a volunteer practicing this way of communicating in a middle school for girls. Showing compassion for what was happening in their hearts allowed the students to feel heard and seen and they could shift back to their roles in the classroom more quickly.  I am confident that children learn and embrace these teachings more easily than adults who have been educated away from the simplicity of needs and have been confused into believing that blaming and fighting are just human nature."

yellow star.JPG
yellow star.JPG
yellow star.JPG
yellow star.JPG
Heart to Heart: A manual for connecting with children's ability to
problem solve and transform conflict by Gina Simm:


Chris & Gina with Buddies and Cards

yellow star.JPG

"An Inside Story uses simple, accessible language and adorable art to call attention to the importance of what goes on inside us that we often hide. In an age of polarization it serves as a reminder of our human commonality despite our many differences." 

Miki Kashtan,

Co-founder, Bay Area Nonviolent Communication

What People are Saying!


As Alex experiences a fear of being teased about her glasses, she looks inwards to discover the true source of this concern: Her desire for love, acceptance, and authentic connection with others.  


Join Alex on a journey of self-understanding, as she realizes that her fears are only a reflection of what she wants and needs on the inside. As Alex begins to understand her inside story, watch as your child greatly advances their understanding of their own emotions and needs. Experience a healthier, closer relationship with your child as their nascent self-understanding empowers them to communicate clearly and effectively with others.


See what parents are saying about An Inside Story:


“An Inside Story shows the connection between how we think and what we feel.  A must read for all children and adults. It's the book that I wish I had read and understood as a child!”


-- JC

“Using very simple language and images, this book helps children ... and adults too ... understand how thoughts, emotions and physical sensations are driven by needs that we all share. More importantly, the book provides guidance on what to do to move forward despite the scariness and ickiness we might sometimes experience. I can't wait to share this book with my young grandsons, and will be sure to use the practice page and discussion questions to help them really connect with the book's lessons.”



--KZ, Grandmother Of Two

Meet Alex.JPG

Download a PDF Preview of the book!

Thanks for submitting! Check your inbox.

The Book



Cute two-sided empathy buddy designed for self-awareness and sharing Compassionate Communication with kids.. Each side has a pocket for holding need stars. Children can literally look for what they are needing inside the doll's heart pocket when they are feeling sad or mad. Use the buddy to help tell your own inside stories.

Each 6 x 4" buddy comes with a set of 10 laminated 'need' stars or can be used with Empathy Cards for Little Hands

Made from 100% wool and variations are to be expected.


What is Nonviolent Communication?

Kids Gardening

Nonviolent Communication highlights three modes of communication: honest self-expression, empathic listening, and empathic self-connection.

Learn more about Nonviolent Communication from Capital NVC.

Chris Hartstein Signature.png
The Dolls
bottom of page