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How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Farber and Elaine Mazlish. Initial thoughts and comments.

It’s much more helpful for an unhappy youngster to hear, “I see something is making you sad,” rather than to be interrogated with “What happened?” or “Why do you feel that way?” It’s easier to talk to a grown-up who accepts what you’re feeling rather than one who presses you for explanations.

Faber, Adele; Mazlish, Elaine (2012-02-07). How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (p. 28). Scribner. Kindle Edition.

As Waterclaire continues to grow, our priorities and interests focus slightly. As you know from a previous post, I’m interested in the whole democratic school method. Some may call it free school too.

In my reading and researching of the topic of Summerhill, democratic schools, and other freedom-based schooling I found this book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. Actually recommended by one of the few schools in California that follow the democratic school ideals, Play Mountain.

CC image credit: Makelessnoise.

According to Kindle, I’m about 14% of the way through the book, so really I just got started but I wanted to put down some comments and thoughts about it so far.

I’m reading the Kindle edition, $9.00 at Amazon. The book is easy to read so far, the authors don’t use any big academic terms or pedagogical definitions, or language. It would be easy for any parent to read through it.

The book was written to be accessible and easy to follow, and the introduction of the book, called A Letter to Readers explains how to read through the book. Some places in the book call for you to talk out a scenario and other sections are illustrated with a cartoon that explains a “typical” response and a “suggested” response.

The book is also part workbook because it contains sections where you are supposed to jot down your answers. You can’t really jot down the answers to the exercises on the Kindle edition, but it wouldn’t hurt if you just wrote them down on a separate piece of paper, or a journal… or your own blog!

The whole book focuses on understanding the feelings of kids and helping them develop the understanding of their own feelings. By encouraging them to tell us about their troubles, woes, and emotions we allow them to learn about them.

One bone I have to pick with the book, is that personally I’m not the type of parent that would answer the way the book describes. For example, the book explains many situations that should mimic certain interactions between parent and child.

That’s all great, but in my case, the answers the authors propose are simply way off. I can totally see the need for this book and I wish more parents read it because although I don’t react the way the authors assume most parents do, I know there is some truth to this. Some parents just are not good listeners, but they can become.

This book is perfect to improve your listening skills. And yes, it is geared towards communications with kids, but the principles I’ve learned so far can be applied to conversations with adults or children alike. It really is about resolving conflicts by talking.

All in all, I’ll be reading this and should be finished with it soon. I’ll report back on it but if you’re looking for something great to read that will improve your relationships, this is a good place to start.

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