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How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

Updated on April 13, 2013

A Parenting Classic

"The parenting bible" is how the Boston Globe describes How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. As I read parenting books, and even taught parenting seminars, this book was the one that came up over and over in quotations and recommendations. I wish I had read it sooner because this book is wonderful! The co-authors, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, are parents themselves, excellent yet humble writers, and clearly experts in their field.

The book helped me to recognize some ineffectual (okay destructive) communication patterns I had with my children, like lecturing and nagging, and to replace those patterns with more loving, effective ones. The authors offer practical suggestions, thought exercises, role plays, and answers to frequent questions and objections. I recommend this book for all parents, teachers, and caregivers. The communication principles transfer well to other relationships too--spouses, adult relatives, and coworkers.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk is an excellent communication tool kit based on a series of workshops developed by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Faber and Mazlish (coauthors of Siblings Without Rivalry) provide a step-by-step approach to improving relationships in your house. The "Reminder" pages, helpful cartoon illustrations, and excellent exercises will improve your ability as a parent to talk and problem-solve with your children. The book can be used alone or in parenting groups, and the solid tools provided are appropriate for kids of all ages. (from the review)

A Tip from "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen" - Give Children Their Wishes in a Fantasy.

Lisa VanDamme shares about putting a principle from How to Talk So KIds Will Listen into practice.

Your thoughts

What do you think about How to Talks So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk?

"I was a wonderful parent

until I had children."

Table of Contents - for How to Talk So Children Will Listen and LIsten So Children Will Talk

The quote above is the first line of the book. Fortunately for millions of parents, the authors' worked on their parenting skills and shared what they learned. Here's the table of contents for How to Talk So Kids Will LIsten and Listen So Kids Will Talk. There is also an afterward with reflections on the book's twenty-year history, letters from parents, and suggestions for further reading.

  1. Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings
  2. Engaging Cooperation
  3. Alternatives to Punishment
  4. Encouraging Autonomy
  5. Praise
  6. Freeing Children from Playing Roles
  7. Putting It All Together

Between Parent and Child - The Inspiration for How to Talk So KIds Will LIsten

The authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen repeatedly acknowledge a debt of gratitude to Haim Ginott, the noted expert on communication with children. His workshops, which the authors participated in, provided much of the material for their book.The following serve to illustrate Dr. Ginott's communications approach from the wikipedia article Haim Ginott:

  • Never deny or ignore a child's feelings.
  • Only behavior is treated as unacceptable, not the child.
  • Depersonalize negative interactions by mentioning only the problem. "I see a messy room."
  • Attach rules to things, e.g., "Little sisters are not for hitting."
  • Dependence breeds hostility. Let children do for themselves what they can.
  • Children need to learn to choose, but within the safety of limits. "Would you like to wear this blue shirt or this red one?"
  • Limit criticism to a specific event-don't say "never", "always", as in: "You never listen," "You always manage to spill things", etc.
  • Refrain from using words that you would not want the child to repeat.

Magically Improve Yourself as a Parent

Of course it takes more than magic, but if you could get rid of one bad parenting habit, what would it be?

See results

How To Talk: Audiobook CD

Are you a busy mom or dad who doesn't have time to read? Listen to the book while you are working around the house. Pop it into your car stereo or synch it to your iPod and listen while you are out and about.

Professional authors and speakers on parenting are wonderful, but it's also great to hear from ordinary parents. (Extraordinary parents are welcome to comment too.)

Share your parenting parenting tips and advice. - Or just what you think of this page or the book.

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Parenting is a journey that we take. The biggest lesson I have learned in life was that I set the way my children grow up - Children learn by example. If I do not listen, my children will also not listen.

      This has opened my eyes and made parenting a much easier task.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      It's just plain difficult to be a parent at times. I'm glad there are people who are able to express their successes to those like me who are learning more every day. : )

    • MisterJeremy profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Virginia Allain: Yes, that's a good one! It's based on her poem of the same title. The chapters of the book are actually titled with the lines of the poem. See the table of contents.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I'd also recommend the book by Dorothy Law Nolte called Children Learn What They Live.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have noticed that entering into a bit of fantasy thinking and talking has been very helpful now and then to have a peaceful and fun day with my granddaughter. We have the power to change! Well done, Mr. Jeremy!

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 

      7 years ago from California

      I suspect this book would work for talking to adults as well.

      Psssst. Check your lens title!

    • jp1978 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great tip on the Youtube video! Must remember that next time.

    • ZablonMukuba profile image


      7 years ago

      nice one

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely lens. 5 stars.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great start on your first squidlit lens.

    • CCGAL profile image


      7 years ago

      Communication is important, of that there is no doubt. Trusting your instincts has a place, too. Babies don't come with instruction manuals, and each one is a miracle and unique. One size does not fit all.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I used to read a lot of parenting books -- back in the day. My kids are all adults now.


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