1,231 of 1,266 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 1998
A therapist recommended this book to me when my son was 4 years old and I was going though a difficult divorce. I read the book and actually photocopied the basic ideas of each chapter and taped them to the refrigerator for easy reference. The ideas are simple and effective. They build self-esteem and keep the avenues of communication open between parent and child. My son is now almost 18, and we still have a terrific relationship. I've been following the practices in this book for 14 years and I can tell you it has made all the difference. Wherever my son goes, I hear from people who tell me how wonderful he is, how well-mannered, pleasant and charming. They all want to know what ever did I do to raise him this way. I tell them about this book. The more I move through life and the business world, however, I am struck how the same techniques enhance communication between adults in all aspects of life. This book should also be listed in the Business/Management section. It says all the same things the high-priced consultants say -- treat people with respect, do not deny their emotions, state the facts (only) and shut up and listen. This book also talks about giving praise and recognition, which makes it another reason to use it in real life, inside the family AND outside in the "real" world.
827 of 880 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2002
As a preschool teacher and parent, I found this book to be the major influence in forming my communication style with children. In fact, this book has given me the skills to communicate more effectively with everyone... my friends, my husband, my boss, and even my mother-in-law! When I changed my approach in how I spoke to them, they often changed their behavior. The logical, respectful strategies really work! My only criticism is that the format of the chapters does not always fascilitate quick 're-read' referral. For example, when I recently wanted to quickly look up a whining, or biting, or mealtime strategy for three of my preschoolers, I became frustrated and confused as to where in the book I had seen the information. These topics were not listed in the index and I began to flip through the pages trying to find the stories and suggestions that I thought I remembered seeing somewhere. Therefore, I would also like to recommend another wonderful new book with the very same philosophy that is organized differently...for quick use on the spot for very busy parents. THE POCKET PARENT is literally a pocket-sized A-Z guide exclusively written for parents and teacher of preschoolers (2's, 3's, 4's, & 5's). It is loaded with hundreds of easy to find quick-read bullet answers (called 'sanity savers') to 40 common behavior problems of 2- to 5-year-olds. I recommend these two books for every mom and dad with a 2- to 5-year-old. Both books are permissive with feelings, but strict with behavior while preserving the dignity of both parent and child. Both books are full of humor and compassion from authors that have 'been there,' too. For help on the spot as well as long term understanding ...keep both books handy!
266 of 285 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2006
My husband bought this book when our oldest child was 10. We realized we weren't communicating well and were frightened that we would lose our relationship altogether when she hit her teenage years. Well, the book was a godsend. The authors basically teach you how to treat your child like a capable and worthy person, when you may be treating them as irresponsible, unimportant, or unlikeable. They first convince you to stop criticizing your children for what they think or feel, and to acknowledge how they might be feeling when they tell things to you. I know this sounds touchy-feely, but acknowledging feelings doesn't mean giving your kids any leeway in their behavior. For example, instead of saying "You shouldn't be mad at your brother, he's only three!" you say "I can see that it makes you angry when he messes up your things. But yelling is not allowed in our house." or, "He's too young to understand how special those are to you, so how can we keep your things safe?" You let your child know you are paying attention to how they feel, BEFORE you focus on solving the problem.
The second thing they emphasize is to make correcting behavior about the behavior, and not about the child. Instead of "Get your homework! You always forget things!" you just say, "Homework needs to go to school with you."
One thing we had a problem with at first is that the authors do not support time-outs. We had always been big believers in consequences for behavior, and had relatively well-behaved children with the time-out method. Well, we gave it a try, and were amazed. We found that we were fully able to correct our children's behaviors without time-out at all. And in fact, they were happier and less disobedient in general when they weren't constantly being sent away from the family in disgrace. We haven't even been tempted to put anyone in time-out for almost a year. Most surprising, our 3-year-old COMPLETELY stopped throwing tantrums within about two days of our stopping time-outs. It was a dramatic change for a child who had always been a little difficult to handle.
Our oldest was slower to respond (age has a lot to do with it, I think) and we found it much harder to implement changes for her. It was difficult to stop lecturing and blaming her. But we have, and we have a fantastic relationship! Other parents of kids the same age are surprised how well we communicate and how fun and friendly our relationship is. We still have the teen years to get through, but I'm much more confident they will be a success, as we know how to treat her like a capable, loveable, valuable person.
Buy this book. End of story.
390 of 438 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2001
I just read this book and -- though it it's right on the money in its attitude towards childrearing -- it doesn't describe the mechanics of how the "listening" and "talking" skills work as well as Thomas Gordon's Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.). P.E.T. has a chapter called How to Listen so Children Will Talk and another called How to Talk so Children Will Listen. I wonder how the autors of this book got away with borrowing the title for their book straight out of some chapters in another (the original P.E.T. was published years before -- the one at stores now is a new edition).
Lest it sound like I'm slamming this book, truth is it's not a bad read at all. But for an in-depth explanation of how these skills can be put to daily use, I'd go for P.E.T. Better yet, read both.
Even better yet, first read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman to get an idea WHY these skills are so important to a child's development, then follow it up with P.E.T. and this book.
267 of 302 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2001
If I could entice every new parent to read just one book, this would be it. Thousands of children's lives have been improved, and in some cases transformed, as a direct result of their parents reading this book and practicing its kid-tested, nonpunitive approaches to discipline. The authors have little time for abstract theorizing, concerning themselves with down to earth practical issues of parenting, using sensitivity, empathy, communication skills, and humor. This book is crammed with invaluable suggestions, techniques and ideas for parents committed to raising great kids without resorting to discredited, harmful, pain-and-fear-based methods of the past.
This book is in its twentieth edition for a reason: these methods WORK. I personally know a mother who formerly used the harsh, punitive methods of James Dobson, only to find that her problems with her daughter became worse and worse over time rather than better. After she read "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk" and put its suggestions into practice, she literally threw Dobson's volume into the trash. And after a year and a half, she told me her relationship with her daughter had improved so much that she'd previously had no idea that it COULD be that good. The fact that the problems she'd been having had vanished now seemed almost an afterthough compared to the deepening of their parent-child bond. Their communication had improved profoundly, opening up previously unguessed levels of richness in their relationship. "She is such a terrific kid," my friend once told me, and with genuine incredulity added, "I can't believe I actually used to HIT her!!"
Another acquaintance of mine, who is raising two great kids using nonpunitive methods of the sort Faber and Mazlish recommend, summarized her entire philosophy in just one sentence: "I don't want obedient children, I want COOPERATIVE children!" I think the great majority of parents, if they thought about it, would realize that this is what they too would prefer. Faber and Mazlish show the way.
This book appears at first glance to be a collection of nonpunitive discipline techniques, but it is actually much more: a whole new way of thinking about the parent-child relationship which transcends the permissiveness vs strictness continuum with an approach to parenting based on neither punishments nor rewards. Authoritarian methods use coercion to make the child lose and the parent win, while total permissiveness makes the parent lose and the child win. Faber and Mazlish's methods, on the other hand, show the way towards families in which everybody wins.
75 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2003
It's only a few weeks and my daughter has responded so positively to this method of parenting.
Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge since it's been such a short time, but I'm just so excited I feel like I found a pot of gold.
It's not like my daughter was such a problem child before. She is almost five. She has been a little on the hyper side since she was born. As she has gotten older it has been getting more and more difficult to get her to cooperate, participate, or communicate at home or in preschool. I was desparate to find something that might reverse the trend before it became a real problem.
Just as one example... It has always been difficult to get her to clean up after herself. She loves to use scissors and she makes a mess with scraps of paper ending up all over the house and in the baby's mouth. Yesterday, I watched as she cut out a circle from a piece of paper. She put the paper with the hole in it on the table and brought the circle to me to look at. After I admired the circle I said "I noticed you put the piece of paper you cut this from on the table. That was very tidy of you." She smiled and ran back to the table. She noticed there were a few pieces of paper on the floor she had dropped previous to this. She picked them up and put them on the table. She's never done that before without me telling her and usually having to repeat myself over and over! She didn't even look back at me to see if I was watching.
In general she seems more relaxed (i.e. not as hyper), happier, and much more confident. I even noticed this morning when I took her to preschool she at once ran over to play with her friends, rather than hanging back shyly and waiting for one of them to come to her like she always has in the past. That was always painful for me to watch. Today, it was so beautiful, I had a lump in my throat.
It's not that I think that my parenting style before this was so terrible. For example I always tried to be understanding before, but this book explained to me that some things I did that I thought were understanding were actually not.
For example, sometimes my daughter doesn't like some clothes in her closet, even if she helped me pick it out. In the past, I'd say sweetly "You don't like it? It's such a pretty dress. You told me you liked it before. That's why I bought it for you. I don't understand. Tell me why don't you like it now?" I thought I was being very undertanding because I would say it in a sweet pleasant voice and give her the opportunity to explain her side to me. But the end result was always that she would become agitated and she wouldn't wear the dress that day and not for a long time until she forgot she told me she didn't like it. Now I say something like "Oh, you've decided you don't like it anymore. Do you remember when you helped me pick it out? You liked it then, but I see you've changed your mind. Well, I still like it. I think it is so pretty. Maybe you'll change your mind again one day and you'll like it again. So I'll just put it back in the closet just in case." Sometimes the very next day she declares to me that she has changed her mind and she wants to wear the dress that day.
Similarly, I always tried to praise whenever I caught her doing something well, but this book has taught me more effective ways to praise and how not to criticize (which I realize only now how much I was doing).
I'm so excited, I went out and bought a few other books that explain this type of parenting, like "Parent Effectiveness Training." I haven't read them yet, but when I do, I'll try to write a review.
59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2005
As the mother of a 4 year old and trying 3 year old I had reached the absolute boiling point. At night as I replayed the day's events, I realized that all I had done was scold and yell all day. It was exhausting and depressing. I know better than that, but somehow I just couldn't figure out how to 'do' better than that. This book is clearly written and very specific in teaching you ways to interact with your child. You can take statements verbatim from the text and use them in real life. My unbearable younger child has been transformed into a sweet, inquisitive child, and I have been transformed into a tolerant, patient mother who ends each day with a smile.
Perhaps, like me, you're sceptical that any resource (let alone a book) could make such a difference. If you feel as worn down and frustrated as I did when I bought it, what do you have to lose?
* One note about using the book for reference later. There are 6 pages that have reminder notes with subject headers and bullet points. The book suggests that you copy them and put them where you can see them. I actually did this. I refer to these cheat sheets constantly when I'm looking for the right thing to say or a refresher on a particular concept.
52 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 1999
I first heard Adele Faber talk at a college near my home when I was pregnant with my first child. Everything she said made such sense! She really struck a chord with me. I immediately went out and bought this book, and read it cover to cover. I parent by the principals of this book, and I'm convinced my child is socially and emotionally happier and healthier because of it. I re-read it at least once a year, and always give it as a gift to new parents. This book is the "holy grail" of parenting, and anyone who influences a child's life, including teachers, babysitters, etc. should read this book.
71 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 1999
I am a psychologist and mother, with a 6 year old autistic son. I first read this book when he was about 18 months old, and I waited patiently and eagerly for him to begin talking. He didn't... and didn't... and didn't... because one of the hallmarks of autism is a language delay. It would be another 3 years before I really knew what his voice sounded like. Nonetheless, this book was a godsend for us, because, really, it teaches parents how to read and respond to their children's emotions, no matter what modality they use to communicate them. And what my child needed more than anything else was to have someone who could understand how he was feeling, and give words to those feelings, because he could not. "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" gave me the tools to hear him and help him, even though he was not talking.
Now, at age 6, he is talking a lot, reading even more, and is a happy, joyful, confident child, far from the stereotype of his disability. I believe that much of his positive emotion and self-esteem comes from knowing that his feelings are understood and respected, despite the communication barriers we face. Those are gifts I was able to give him because of the strategies I learned from "How to Talk..." We still have a long road to travel, but so does every parent. But rest assured, ALL of Faber and Mazlish's books will be making the journey with us.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2007
This is an excellent book that teaches parents how to think about parenting holistically rather than simply providing a one-size-fits-all disciplinary approach (e.g. counting 1, 2, 3,... or naughty spot or time outs or whatever). So you have to be open-minded, imaginative, and disciplined enough yourself to fully appreciate its brilliance. We purchased this book after it was recommended by our daughter's Montessori school. I didn't begin reading it, though, until after a particularly publicly humiliating battle in a grocery store parking lot with my 3-yr-old daughter. It took effort and thought to apply the techniques described in the book, but within a few days of that episode my relationship with my daughter drastically improved. I quickly learned that she has far more smarts and creativity than I gave her credit for and that she can be a delightful companion when given some autonomy and a chance to think for herself. The people who reviewed this book negatively seem to prefer the "my way or the highway just because I said so" techniques to behavior modification (as a way of proving that they are in charge). These also work to an extent, I suppose, but they don't foster the independence, self-reliance, and self-esteem that will result in a kid who can solve real world problems and compete effectively. This book teaches that by respecting your kids and encouraging their independence, you will achieve better long-term results for yourself and for them. It provides tips, techniques, and examples, but be prepared to think for yourself how to appropriately apply these ideas to a specific problem at hand. I now have much less need to "discipline" my kids because they choose for themselves to behave well.