Book Meat – How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk


This week’s book meat comes from a great book that teaches parents the best ways to communicate with their children. Anyone who has kids knows this can be a challenge at times. We can easily forget that our little ones are not grown ups and they understand and see the world differently than we do. There have been many times that I have had to remind myself of this when communicating with my daughter. Below are some popular highlights from the book “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk is an excellent communication tool kit based on a series of workshops developed by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Faber and Mazlish (coauthors of Siblings Without Rivalry) provide a step-by-step approach to improving relationships in your house. The “Reminder” pages, helpful cartoon illustrations, and excellent exercises will improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with your children.


“Let us be different in our homes. Let us realize that, along with food, shelter, and clothing, we have another obligation to our children, and that is to affirm their “rightness.” The whole world will tell them what’s wrong with them—loud and often. Our job is to let our children know what’s right about them.”

“To Engage a Child’s Cooperation 1. DESCRIBE WHAT YOU SEE, OR DESCRIBE THE PROBLEM. “There’s a wet towel on the bed.” 2. GIVE INFORMATION. “The towel is getting my blanket wet.” 3. SAY IT WITH A WORD. “The towel!” 4. DESCRIBE WHAT YOU FEEL. “I don’t like sleeping in a wet bed!” 5. WRITE A NOTE. (above towel rack) Please put me back so I can dry.Thanks!”

“TO HELP WITH FEELINGS 1. Listen with full attention. 2. Acknowledge their feelings with a word—“Oh” . . . “Mmm” . . . “I see.” 3. Give their feelings a name. 4. Give them their wishes in fantasy.”

“But more important than any words we use is our attitude. If our attitude is not one of compassion, then whatever we say will be experienced by the child as phony or manipulative. It is when our words are infused with our real feelings of empathy that they speak directly to a child’s heart.”

“It’s hard for a child to think clearly or constructively when someone is questioning, blaming, or advising her.”

“Children don’t need to have their feelings agreed with; they need to have them acknowledged.”

“It’s much easier to tell your troubles to a parent who is really listening. Sometimes a sympathetic silence is all a child needs.”

“Resist the temptation to “make better” instantly. Instead of giving advice, continue to accept and reflect on your child’s feelings.”

“What people of all ages can use in a moment of distress is not agreement or disagreement; they need someone to recognize what it is they’re experiencing.”

“When we acknowledge a child’s feelings, we do him a great service. We put him in touch with his inner reality. And once he’s clear about that reality, he gathers the strength to begin to cope.”

“There’s a lot of help to be had from a simple “Oh . . . mmm . . .” or “I see.” Words like these, coupled with a caring attitude, are invitations to a child to explore her own thoughts and feelings, and possibly come up with her own solutions.”

“Life is a continual process of adjustment and readjustment. What’s important for the child is that he continue to see himself as part of the solution rather than as part of the problem.”

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