Friday, April 17, 2009

How to Talk, How to Listen

So I read Faber and Mazlish's How to Talk So Kids WIll Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. I had heard a lot about this book and lots of praise for it. And overall, it definitely adds some techniques to your bag of tricks. I liked the examples of writing down children's concerns and working them out with them and a lot of the suggestions were compassionate. Lots of good little tips spread through out the book.

But at some points this book drove me crazy- particularly its suggestion to use notes- especially since the examples were just too passive aggressive to me.

As a child who's been on the receiving end of a parent's passive aggressive note, I feel that the note was an attempt to manipulate me. It felt demeaning to me; I would have much rather been treated like an equal and just spoken to instead of manipulated with a note. In the book, the example of a note on a mirror, "Help! Hairs in my drain give me a pain. Glug, your stopped up sink" was just too reminiscent of this site. If I had been on the receiving end of that note, I guarantee it would have been ignored and I would have been thinking up some sort of passive aggressive retaliation. I do think notes would work with children if it was agreed upon ahead of time such as, "I don't think you like me nagging you about everything, would it be better if I left a note of what I expect when I go run errands on Saturday?" In that way, the child is still spoken to directly and treated with respect. But the passive aggressive aspect of some of the examples- no thanks.

This is probably a book I'll have to look at later and review it again at that time- most of the suggestions wouldn't work for a child under the age of 5 or so and not having an older child makes me at a disadvantage to rate some of the techniques. And just like most parenting books, take what you want and leave the rest.


  1. I agree about the notes too. I really like alot of the book and some of it not so much. The good parts are definately good enough for me to want to buy it.

  2. I just got this book along with Unconditional Parenting and Punished by Rewards. I was disappointed with this one upon leafing through it. Most of it seemed like common sense and some of it seemed rather harsh and damaging. I did leave it for my mother to read though and I may pick it up when I finish the others. I'm loving unconditional parenting :-D

  3. I'm looking forward to reading Playful Parenting after I read Annie's review here. I think it'll fill in the gaps I found in How to Talk.

  4. I spent some time of my life feeling like my parents didn't do the right things raising me. It's hard. But I have come to realize that harboring negative feelings toward my parents was destructive to me. Now, instead of saying "my parents did this terrible thing" (which in retrospect was the best they knew, and they definitely improved on what their parents did) I have decided to say "I didn't like it I will not do that." Or, just realize we have different views about how children can/should be raised. I HIGHLY recommend "Raising resilient children." I haven't finished it, but it's all about the importance of really understanding where your child is coming from, how they feel, and validating their feelings. No parenting book is a cure-all of course, you learn as you go. But if you are not the "do what I say when I say because I said so" type of parent, then this is a good book to read.


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