Communication is one of the most important tools in strengthening our relationship with our children. Oftentimes, however, this is also the most challenging and most difficult parenting skills to learn and to master. How we talk to our children has a great impact on their ability to listen to us, their parents. But we need to understand even more that communication should never be a one-sided affair.
International bestselling authors Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, once frustrated mothers themselves – provide insights to help parents improve and enrich their relationships with their children through their book, How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk. Their approach is simple and easy to follow since they based their points on practical issues of parenting. Despite both authors’ years of experience in child psychology, what I liked best is that most of the tips and techniques they shared were not theorized; rather, it was presented thru real-life situations which any ordinary parent can relate with.
As mentioned in the book, their methods of communication –- illustrated with delightful cartoons showing the skills in action –- offer innovative ways to solve common problems such as: - Coping with your child’s negative feelings - Expressing your anger without being hurtful - Engaging your child’s willing cooperation - Setting firm limits while maintaining goodwill - Using alternatives to punishment - Resolving family conflicts peacefully
The first chapter of the book begins with helping children deal with their feelings. I think that this is a very clever starting point in learning how to talk to our children. I have learned that parents need to understand their children first –- what they’re feeling and guiding them to deal with their emotions –- in order for us to gain their respect and cooperation. “When kids feel right, they’ll behave right. How do we help them feel right? By accepting their feelings” (Chapter 1, Page 2). It’s never easy to talk to our kids when emotions and stress are extremely high but showing them that we understand where they are and that we know where we want them to grow will give both the parents and the kids a valuable sense of dignity and respect for one another.
The topics of the next chapters practically take off from this very foundation. We can learn how to avoid common arguments, affirm rather than criticize, substitute confrontational methods of punishment, and teach your child how to amend for negative actions, to name a few. This book also contains pages of worksheets where parents can practice and apply insights they got from the various topics.
I honestly gained so much practical parenting wisdom from this book. It somehow changed the way I perceived communication and discipline. I used to think that as a parent, children should always be at the listening end since they are still learning so many things. But after reading this book, I was able to appreciate that listening on my part is equally important.