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What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children Library Binding – May 17, 2010


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What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children + Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting + How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Bay Island Books; first edition (May 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965469425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965469425
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Holistic Moms Network

Because I said so.

Good job!

You'd better stop that by the time I count to three.

I can't believe you did that!

Do you have a young child? Do these phrases sound all-too-familiar? Have you ever sat back and considered the language you use with your children and its impact? HMN Member and author of What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children Sarah MacLaughlin has done just that—and has written a handy, thoughtful little book that every parent should read.

Some of the expressions we use with children are obviously counter-productive, as MacLaughlin points out. But others send subtle messages to our children about their behavior, self-worth, and how to operate in the world. Messages that are not serving them well. Good job is so easy to say but can lead to a dependence on adult praise and, as MacLaughlin explains, robs him of the opportunity to truly please himself, which is the foundation for gaining self-esteem and self-motivation.

Other catch phrases, drawn from our own childhood experiences or simply out of a moment of frustration, do not serve parents well either. Because I said so breaks the parent-child connection because it dismisses the child's feelings and may well lead to defiance and questioning as your child grows. You're driving me crazy, you scared me to death and I'm going to leave without you reflect the stress and frustration of parents but also create anxiety for our children. Fortunately, MacLaughlin is full of ideas and suggestions for alternatives. Instead of warning your kids that you're at your breaking point, how about presenting a new activity, refocusing attention or suggesting that he/she finds something calmer to do? Rather than threatening to leave, try giving an option such as let's hold hands and walk out together, or I can carry you.

Change is not always easy. But it starts with awareness and attention. Realizing what we are saying and how it impacts our children is a great starting point. Putting focus on our kids, understanding their unique temperament and developmental stage, as well as their environment and world view are all critical to improving communication and the narratives that we use for our children. We need to be patient not only with our kids, but with ourselves in the process. Reminding ourselves that parenting is no easy task is vital to success. As MacLaughlin writes:

Little kids are messy and silly, frustrating and wise. Raising a child, or just spending the day with one, can be a real adventure. Bring your flexibility and patience—and don't forget a sense of humor. These qualities, and using the right words along the way, will promote understanding and a peaceful atmosphere. And you will enjoy your time with children more.

Get a copy of What Not to Say and see for yourself.

Because I told you so ;-).     —Director, Holistic Moms Network

 

Reviewed by Mom

I just finished what has to be one of the most helpful guides for raising young children... What Not to Say: Tools for Talking With Young Children by Sarah MacLaughlinWhat Not To Say is a compilation of 66 common expressions to avoid using and why they don't work.  The author not only tells you what NOT to do, she gives you tips on what could potentially work better.

What Not To Say is geared toward parents or caregivers with children aged 1–6.  As the mother to twin 4-year-olds, I can appreciate the challenges of this age group.  This age group is wonderfully interesting and funny but can also be stubborn and reactive...my boys are certainly the toughest bosses I have ever had!  I could not wait to crack open this book!

Right away I recognized many of the common expressions listed as either something I have said or have heard another parent say to their child.  For instance, how about the old stand-by Because I said so?  This one doesn't really work, does it, but we all know someone who has said it or we ourselves have uttered it.  MacLaughlin explains that by using this we dismiss our child's feelings and close the lines of communication.  Sure, the steady fire of questions from a pre-schooler can be a bit draining at times but isn't it far more satisfying (for them and us!) to answer their questions rather than cut them off?  What about There's nothing to be afraid of?  Of course there are things in the world to be afraid of...aren't we all afraid of something (BEARS!!)??  Instead of dismissing our child's fears we should address them and find a way to navigate them.

Those are just two of the expressions addressed in this book but each and every one gave me pause and made me think about what I say to the kids and how I say it.  What Not To Say is broken up into easy to navigate sections and many of the common expressions include book suggestions for your child to help drive positive points home and address any tough times they may be going through.

What Not To Say earns huge points from me and I happily recommend this book for anyone with young children. This book really helps you to understand your child, understand how your words can affect him/her, and gives you pointers on how to make more meaningful connections. I think we all want our interactions with our children to be joyful ones and Sarah MacLaughlin gives some solid tips for helping you to do that.  A must read!    —mom blogger

Review

Midwest Book Review

“What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children” is a practical guide for communicating with children. Parents will find the mindful interaction style of intergenerational communication a very helpful model. Dealing with children ages 1–6 can be very challenging and stressful, but there are also rewards for the patient, sensitive, experimental, and determined parent. “What Not to Say” is also laced with humor, an invaluable asset. Topics covered include why wrong things are said, changing language to make it work, use of labels and nicknames, threats or bribes, handling emotions, the inner critic, conveying clear messages about our bodies, and avoiding the temptation to make contests over control issues. All information is conveyed in a clear, non-judgmental style, and refreshing hints of lack of perfection abound. Parents and teachers and child caregivers will hail “What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children” as a great resource and fount of ideas for good communicating skills with children.


More About the Author

Sarah MacLaughlin has worked with children and families for over twenty years. With a background in early childhood education, she has previously been both a preschool teacher and nanny. Currently, Sarah works as a licensed social worker with foster families at The Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, Maine. She also teaches parenting classes and consults with families. Sarah serves on the board of Birth Roots, a perinatal resource center, and writes the "Parenting Toolbox" column for a local parenting newspaper, Parent & Family. Sarah considers it her life's work to to promote happy, well adjusted people by increasing awareness of how children are spoken to today. She is mom to a young son who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice about What Not to Say.

What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children won the Silver Medal in the "Family" category of the 2011 Independent Publisher Living Now Book Awards.

More about Sarah can be found at http://sarahmaclaughlin.com

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Some of them we know we shouldn't say, but somehow we do anyway, at least I do!
J. Mangan
This book really helps you to understand you child, understand how your words can affect him//her and give you pointers on how to make more meaningful connections.
K. Jordan
This book is broken into logical sections that are not lengthy to read but are packed full with advice and information.
dragonflymle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Waisman on May 28, 2010
Format: Library Binding
This book is packed with practical advice! The author provides guidance as to why some common expressions simply don't work with children. She breaks down each and one of them into clear explanations as to how a child may perceive parents' innocent and often well-intended phrases. As a bonus, there are many suggestions for children's books to reinforce positive communication.

Being a busy parent, I appreciate the relevance of the material and its organization. The book has certainly made me aware of the way I communicate with our child and of the way my words, tone and body language may be perceived. I also like that the book's premise is based on understanding a child's needs and on improving parent-child communication.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Gibel on May 27, 2010
Format: Library Binding
Sarah's book is simple, to the point and doesn't leave you hanging. Packed with stuff to get you through those days and connect with your children, not only does she help you through this verbal maze but also recommends children's reading material to go with it...genius!!! Even my husband read this one and that says a lot!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By summitbecky on November 12, 2010
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book and thank the author for both their incredible insight and also giving me ways to deal with situations that are respectful to my child. I've been practicing for the past couple weeks and have avoided what were regular power struggles. I am feeling like I am having good communication with my 4 year old, and she must too because she is responding with respectful communication! Thank you so much for helping me break an unproductive cycle of power struggles!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bwoodman on July 29, 2010
Format: Library Binding
A great book packed with information and examples! I really appreciated the references to books to read w/ your child on all the different topics. This is a book I will keep in close reach to look back at the areas as I encounter them in my parenting. I know there are some phrases and words I remember from my childhood and I know how much they didn't work for me. I enjoyed the open & honest approach to communicating with children and will be more mindful of what and how I say things to my little one and others that I have the joy of having in my life. Thanks to the author for sharing her knowledge and insights.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MaineSuperMom on July 27, 2010
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
This book is well done. A quick read for us busy moms. A great reference to go back to when your kids leave you thinking "what do I say about THAT?" or "how should I respond to THIS?" I bought this book for 5 of my friends who have small children and all of them agree....a must have book to keep handy in the house.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. on July 21, 2010
Format: Library Binding
Every parent has likely found herself repeating the phrases she heard as a child, all the while knowing those statements are meaningless, ineffective or, at worst, potentially harmful. What Not To Say helps explain why those oft-repeated sayings might best be banned from our repetoire, and gives us other options to use when we are at a loss for words. Although many parenting books offer lists of recommended reading for parents, this book stands out by following each section with a relevant children's book recommendation. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to parent in a mindful and respectful way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aunt Annie on June 22, 2012
Format: Library Binding
What Not to Say
by Sarah MacLaughlin

reviewed by "Aunt Annie" of Aunt Annie's Childcare- [...]

A few weeks ago I was asked if I was willing to review this e-book on my blog. Well you know me- I love to write about childcare, and any excuse will do!- so I popped over to Sarah MacLaughlin's blog at [...] to test the water and see if her views were compatible with mine before agreeing.

Given that Sarah's philosophy is so similar to my own, I had fairly high expectations of 'What Not to Say', and I haven't been disappointed. For example, the quote that opens the book encapsulates exactly why I started my own blog:

Let's raise children who don't have to recover from their childhoods.
-Pam Leo

As I've said many a time, the secret to a healthy relationship with our children often lies not in what 'method' we use, but in how much we're prepared to work on ourselves. It's way too easy to pass on the collateral damage that's been done to us as we grew up, without even realising we're doing it. And that is really what Sarah MacLaughlin's eBook is all about. No blame, no shame, but many words of wisdom to contemplate.

If we take the time to think about it, some of the things we say to our children are insensitive at best, and counterproductive at worst- not because we're actually trying to make things worse, of course, but because we're tired and stressed, we're surrounded by 'advice' which makes us doubt our judgment, and we've been programmed by our own personal histories to recycle mantras which are, um, less than useful. MacLaughlin's aim in this book is to help parents and early childhood educators to identify and replace some of the more useless knee-jerk responses that spring to our lips when children challenge us.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Wilkins-Deming, "Raising Maine" on February 26, 2011
Format: Library Binding
I had the pleasure of reviewing this book right before the Holidays and have picked it up periodically throughout my holiday preparations. Let me just say Chapter five REALLY made me think about my words and the possible consequences they could have as I am guilty of a few of the very familiar phrases. But let me back up for just a moment.

This sweet little book is a quick read containing nine chapters focusing on Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergarten aged children and how to relate to and communicate with them effectively. It acts as a guide to verbiage used specific to little ears. The guide points out well out how those words for little ears can have a BIG IMPACT and not necessarily a good outcome.

Bottom Line; it really makes you think hard about the impact your words can have on your own child, a friend's child, a neighborhood kiddo, your niece or nephew.....

Though I personally do not agree with every sentiment and point of view (being a seasoned Mom), there are some wise gems to be shared and lots of food for thought in the form of various references, such as Eric Carle's "The Grouchy LadyBug".

This is a nice book to p/u as a gift for the Mom to be, or the Mom of a soon to be Toddler. Happy Reading!!!
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