How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
Whew! I had to read this book again after having some frustrating moments with Tania and her schoolwork. I was on the verge of turning into "Mommy Dearest" because Tania's whining and complaining has been driving me crazy. Everything is, "Do I have to do this now?" and "Why do I have to do that?" I just want to bring back the old-fashioned beating sometimes. But since the law wouldn't be on my side, I have to find a better way. (Obviously, I'm kidding. I wouldn't beat Tania because I love her, not because there are any legal barriers.) I read this book a while ago, but had fallen out of the habits encouraged in it, so here I go again.
I guess the basic premise of the book is that children react to the way that we treat them and speak to them. The book gives four important tools to use when your child is talking to you: 1) listen with your full attention (turn off TV), 2) acknowledge that they are saying something (mmm..., mm-hmm, oh...), 3) name the feeling that the child is feeling (I bet that made you feel angry), and 4) offer a fantasy (I wish I had a magic wand that could fix your broken toy). These tools actually do work. It's just hard to keep up the habit of using them, so I am again trying to incorporate them into our lives. I used them today, and things went a lot more smoothly than they do when I yell and give completely useless time-outs.