Having grown up in a home that communicated poorly and I inherited those techniques, I found this book a breath of fresh air. Rather than just pointing out where I was going wrong with communicating with my children, this book gave advice on how I could go RIGHT! The methods in the book and the illustrations helped me to see where I was using a negative manner in trying to communicate my feelings with my child and turn them into a positive experience instead. I recommend this book to all parents!
I just finished How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I'm happy to say that it was excellent all the way to the end, and I want to give the authors a standing ovation. Sometimes I thought things like "That's so true, I actually used that skill to good effect," or "Yep, my parents made that same mistake with me, and I felt rebellious just like the kid in the example." Other times I thought, "Aha! That's a good way to deal with that situation. I always did feel my previous solution didn't solve the problem satisfyingly. Now I know what to do!" (I don't have kids of my own yet, but as the oldest of ten children, I got a lot of experience in dealing with kids.)
I definitely like the detail and clarity the authors use in describing how to use the skills they teach. The examples really drive the point home. It helps that there are so many of them and that they are real life experiences of the authors and people they worked with in their parenting workshops. I also like how comics are used to illustrate what to do and what not to do. They're cute, relatable, and to the point.
They also have a lot of empathy for parents new to using the skills, and often say things such as, "I know for myself the process of change didn't come easily. I'd hear myself using the old, unhelpful ways- 'What's wrong with you kids? You never remember to turn off the light in the bathroom!' Then I'd get annoyed at myself. I'd resolve never to say that again. Then I'd say it again. Remorse. I'll never learn this stuff... How else could I have said that? ... I know ... I should have said, 'Children, the light's on in the bathroom.' Or better still, 'Kids, the light!' Then I'd worry that I'd never have the chance to say it. I had nothing to worry about. They always left the light on in the bathroom. But the next time I was ready for them:'Kids, the light!' Someone ran and turned it off. Success!"
Help children deal with their feelings by listening attentively, acknowledging their feelings, naming their feelings, and giving their desires in fantasy.
Engage cooperation by describing the problem, giving information, summing it up in a word, talking about your feelings, or writing a note.
Instead of punishment, point out a way to be helpful, express strong disapproval without attacking character, state your expectations, show how to make amends, give a choice, take action, and/or allow the child to experience the consequences of misbehavior.
Solve disagreements by talking about your child's feelings and needs, talking about your feelings and needs, brainstorm together to find a mutually agreeable solution, write down all the ideas without evaluating, and then decide which suggestions you like, which you don't like, and which you plan to follow through on.
Encourage independence through giving children choices, showing respect for the child's struggle, not asking too many questions, encouraging children to use sources outside the home, and not taking away hope.
Praise is more effective when praiseworthy behavior is described instead of evaluated. Describe what you see, what you feel, and/or sum up the behavior in a word.
Free children from negative roles by looking for opportunities to give the child a new picture of himself, putting them in situations where they can see themselves differently, letting them overhear you say something positive about them, modeling the behavior you want to see, remembering and reminding them about special moments and things they do right, and stating you expectations when your child acts according to the old label.
I've been making my way through a number of parenting books with the plan of giving the best one or two to my sister and her husband for Christmas. (They have a 1-year old girl and are expecting a new baby next year.) How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids Will Talk is the best I've read yet. It doesn't cover every situation, but it is very effective at what it tries to do, and I recommend it to everyone who is a parent or expects to be one someday.
Many successful parenting workshops have been led by Faber and Mazlish. The book is written with a lot of dialog, role playing, and cartoons to illustrate their points. Well-written and a classic for parenting.
This is a great book. It's useful for parenting children of all ages, and really the techniques discussed work well with adult interactions as well. It seems to be Non Violent Communication techniques specifically geared to dealing with children. It was helpful to me with my toddler recently and I recommended it to a friend who was dealing with a very difficult older teen. Worked well for both ages. it's a quick read and has practical strategies.
Faber and Mazlish take parenting books to a fun and life changing level. I laughed and learned. It's a book I pick up whenever I see a good used copy... I love to share it with others. All of their books make great gifts for new parents.