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Moms and dads can't wait for their kids to start talking-it's one of the greatest thrills of our parenting lives. But I'm sure you'll agree that when the never-ending questions start coming, we sometimes wish our precious children had never learned the meaning of the words "why" and "what"-not to mention all the other words in between that seem to end in a question mark, strung together to form a question that doesn't even make sense all the time.
But guess what? While I absolutely acknowledge that the questions of preschool- and early-elementary-age children can be tedious, annoying, and relentless, during this stage of development your child's questions begin taking on a deeper value that can help you to understand his or her dreams, wishes, fears, and hopes-if only you can find the key to unlock their meaning.
By paying close attention to your child's questions, you can often learn how to scratch below the surface. Then, once you really have a great understanding of your child's questions, you can learn to respond to them in a way that will encourage your child to share even more with you, rather than end the conversation. In this way you are planting the seeds for a lifetime of excellent communication between you and your child.
Parents often tell me that they are frustrated because they don't know how to communicate fully with their children; they wish their kids would talk to them more. By learning how to respond to your child's questions differently, you will open up these lines of communication beginning now, while your child is still very young. You will then be able to build on this growing bond as your child gets older. By the time your child is a teenager, you will have nurtured a wonderful, close relationship-it doesn't get any better than that!