How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish

Audio CD(Abridged)

$14.99 View All Available Formats & Editions


The ultimate “parenting bible” (The Boston Globe) with a new Foreword—and available as an eBook for the first time—a timeless, beloved book on how to effectively communicate with your child from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors.

Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “are doing for parenting today what Dr. Spock did for our generation” (Parent Magazine). Now, this bestselling classic includes fresh insights and suggestions as well as the author’s time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships, including innovative ways to:
· Cope with your child's negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment
· Express your strong feelings without being hurtful
· Engage your child's willing cooperation
· Set firm limits and maintain goodwill
· Use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline
· Understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise
· Resolve family conflicts peacefully

Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743525084
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio/Nightingale-Conant
Publication date: 09/01/2002
Edition description: Abridged
Pages: 1
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 5.37(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish are #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors whose books have sold more than three million copies and have been translated into over thirty languages. How to Talk So Kids Can Learn—At Home and in School, was cited by Child Magazine as the “best book of the year for excellence in family issues in education.” The authors’ group workshop programs and videos produced by PBS are currently being used by parent and teacher groups around the world. They currently reside in Long Island, New York and each is the parent of three children.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings

Part One

I was a wonderful parent before I had children. I was an expert on why everyone else was having problems with theirs. Then I had three of my own.

Living with real children can be humbling. Every morning I would tell myself, "Today is going to be different," and every morning was a variation of the one before. "You gave her more than me!" . . . "That's the pink cup. I want the blue cup." . . . "This oatmeal looks like 'throw-up.'" . . . "He punched me." . . . "I never touched him!" "I won't go to my room. You're not the boss over me!"

They finally wore me down. And though it was the last thing I ever dreamed I'd be doing, I joined a parent group. The group met at a local child guidance center and was led by a young psychologist, Dr. Haim Ginott.

The meeting was intriguing. The subject was "children's feelings," and the two hours sped by. I came home with a head spinning with new thoughts and a notebook full of undigested ideas:

Direct connection between how kids feel and how they behave.

When kids feel right, they'll behave right.

How do we help them to feel right?

By accepting their feelings!


Parents don't usually accept their children's feelings; for example: "You don't really feel that way." "You're just saying that because you're tired." "There's no reason to be so upset."

Steady denial of feelings can confuse and enrage kids. Also teaches them not to know what their feelings are—not to trust them.

After the session Iremember thinking, "Maybe other parents do that. I don't." Then I started listening to myself. Here are some sample conversations from my home—just from a single day.

CHILD: Mommy, I'm tired.

ME:     You couldn't be tired. You just napped.

CHILD: (louder) But I'm tired.

ME:     You're not tired. You're just a little sleepy. Let's get dressed.

CHILD: (wailing) No, I'm tired!

CHILD: Mommy, it's hot in here.

ME:     It's cold. Keep your sweater on.

CHILD: No, I'm hot.

ME:     I said, "Keep your sweater on!"

CHILD: No, I'm hot.

CHILD: That TV show was boring.

ME:     No it wasn't. It was very interesting.

CHILD: It was stupid.

ME:     It was educational.

CHILD: It stunk.

ME:     Don't talk that way!

Can you see what was happening? Not only were all our conversations turning into arguments, I was also telling my children over and over again not to trust their own perceptions, but to rely upon mine instead.

Once I was aware of what I was doing. I was determined to change. But I wasn't sure of how to go about it. What finally helped me most was actually putting myself in my children's shoes. I asked myself, "Suppose I were a child who was tired, or hot or bored? And suppose I wanted that all-important grown-up in my life to know what I was feeling . . . ?"

Over the next weeks I tried to tune in to what I felt my children might be experiencing; and when I did, my words seemed to follow naturally. I wasn't just using a technique. I really meant it when I said, "So you're still feeling tired—even though you just napped." Or "I'm cold, but for you it's hot in here." Or "I can see you didn't care much for that show." After all we were two separate people, capable of having two different sets of feelings. Neither of us was right or wrong. We each felt what we felt.

For a while my new skill was a big help. There was a noticeable reduction in the number of arguments between the children and me. Then one day my daughter announced, "I hate Grandma," and it was my mother she was talking about. I never hesitated for a second. "That is a terrible thing to say," I snapped. "You know you don't mean it. I don't ever want to hear that coming out of your mouth again."

That little exchange taught me something else about myself. I could be very accepting about most of the feelings the children had, but let one of them tell me something that made me angry or anxious and I'd instantly revert to my old way.

I've since learned that my reaction was not that unusual. On the following page you'll find examples of other statements children make that often lead to an automatic denial from their parents. Please read each statement and jot down what you think a parent might say if he were denying his child's feelings.

Did you find yourself writing things like:

"That's not so. I know in your heart you really love the baby."

"What are you talking about? You had a wonderful party—ice cream, birthday cake, balloons. Well, that's the last party you'll ever have!"

"Your bite-plate can't hurt that much. After all the money we've invested in your mouth, you'll wear that thing whether you like it or not!"

"You have no right to be mad at the teacher. It's your fault. You should have been on time."

Somehow this kind of talk comes easily to many of us. But how do children feel when they hear it? In order to get a sense of what it's like to have one's feelings disregarded, try the following exercise:

Imagine that you're at work. Your employer asks you to do an extra job for him. He wants it ready by the end of the day.

You mean to take care of it immediately, but because of a series of emergencies that come up, you completely forget. Things are so hectic, you barely have time for your own lunch.

Customer Reviews

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How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
RRCA More than 1 year ago
This book was actually suggested for my son who is a Special Needs Child to improve communication with him. But this book has made me to improve my communication with my daughter who is 9 years old. A very good book which I would suggest to be read by every parent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This classic book clearly explains the difference between positive discipline and punishment. The authors feel that punishment usually does not serve to change the child's behavior and they give many positive alternatives that often work better. I found their many specific examples in simple cartoon form as well as in the text to be extremely helpful giving me the exact words to try with my 2 children, aged 3 and 8. The true to life anecdotes are the best part of this book and they refer to challenging situations with children of all ages, like sibling rivalry, tuning us out, homework, disrespectful attitude, chores, backtalk, tantrums, etc. If you have a toddler like me, I also recommend 'The Pocket Parent' written in a bulleted A-Z format for parents with a 2, 3, 4, or 5 year old. This book has similar, specific anecdotes for toddlers that whine, bite, refuse to eat or go to bed, lie, hit, etc. We refer to both books again and again to get options to try as situations arise...Practical, very parent-friendly and resonably priced guidance equally appropriate for both moms and dads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Raising a child can be tough in this day and age. What children never come with is a handbook. This book is about as close to a "handbook" that every parent wish for. If your child is one day to twenty-one pick it up. For anyone who feels bound by their anger, guilt, hurt or pain, I also recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score." I thought that the book was just about forgiveness, I soon learned, it was about so much more than that. I was about how you should deal with friends, family and yourself and more importantly, how to keep these relationships strong when things go wrong. As a parent, I have learned raising children will bring unearth a lot of the emotions you felt in childhood. Having read it, I feel like a better person. Maybe because this book spoke to me and not down to me. I have read a lot of books that was written like I didn't know anything. What the author of "When God Stopped Keeping Score" does is talk to you like a friend. I needed that. You will understand why when you read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a child and adolescent Psychiatrist, I believe this book helps parents obtain a level of success and peace of mind that no other parenting book can provide. It is easy to understand and it works. But watch out! The book will require you to be an active participant in your child's life and learn to see them with respect and joy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When our kids are younger, we read magazines and books on their upbringing. But as they reach the "difficult" years we tend to rely on friends' strategies to guide us along. This book is a great resource for the those years! It's kinda like a workbook with different scenarios for all situations you encounter as a parent of teens and tweens. It's really amazing as you read the book how many situations you can apply to your family. It seems the author was studying my family before he wrote the book! It's very easy to read and the information can be applied immediately. I can see my attitude change as well as the attitudes of my kids. It's great!!
kooikermom More than 1 year ago
I used this book when my now thirty-something children were little. I also recommended it to parents throughout my teaching career because it describes the "active listening" technique in an easy to remember way and has illustrations of the main points to aid remembering them. I bought the latest version for my daughter when my granddaughter was little and it was very helpful to her. I required a teacher-intern who was having difficulty relating to her students to buy the book and bought the latest copy to be able to discuss it page by page with her. I think that the authors have a great book for many uses. The techniques described also work with spouses and co-workers and in any social situation. Active listening helps you be a more genuine person to your children and not only "works" as a discipline technique, but also helps you have a genuine, loving, and cooperative relationship with them.
NYCat64 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for every parent, every teacher, and anyone who works with children. This book was recommended to me by my son's Speech Pathologist. Since I have a slight hearing problem - I tend to speak loudly. This book as helped me to lower the volume of my speech. It has also given me the tools to choose my words differently which has yielded more patience in dealing with my special needs child. I highly recommend this book for every parent, but it is especially helpful for parents with kids that have sensory issues. Anyone with a sensory child knows how challenging it can be to teach their child to be aware of other people and things. This book is a great tool. I think anyone who gives this book a negative review is actually looking for a book on how to punish their children and not a book on speaking and listening respectfully.
SunshineRS More than 1 year ago
I have purchased this book for friends and family. I totally recommend this book for those who have kids/children.
HEWC59 More than 1 year ago
Practical insight into both sides of communication. No matter your age the parents are just "old" to a child. Listening and being heard are difficult traits that most people need to refresh on. Read this book and be a better parent and person!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book should be required reading for all those who are parents or who hope to be--as well as teachers and others who interact with children. The guidlines for communicating effectively based on love, mutual respect, preacticality and reason can be used with adults as well. This book takes theories of "tough love" and "natural consequences" to a user friendly level. Eliminating power struggles and heated arguments that go nowhere is facilitated by understanding the premise of Faber and Mazlish' work. And I find that using their methods actually builds respect, accountability and ease of communication on many levels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a preschool teacher and director for the past sixteen years, mother of three, grandmother of three and aunt of 22, I can tell you that the 'tricks' in this book saved many hours of frustration. I am thrilled that the message here is to treat children with respect and to speak with respect. I have recommended this easy-to-read book to parents for the twenty years that I've used it. I wish I could give it 10 stars!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have used this book for over 20 years! The key to learning to use this book is to take 'baby steps' doing one technique at a time so you don't get overwhelmed and neither do your kids. I first took a class on parenting that used this book when my now 23 year old son was 2 years old and being very oppositional(he is now in law school)! I have gone back to it many, many times. I have found it very helpful in getting my kids to talk when I know something is bothering them (even now at ages 23 and nearly 18), and also the techniques help to keep the lines of communication open when they are telling me about a problem they are having (even when I really want to say--but don't--'why did you do something so dumb!' ha). I recommend it to parents all the time. It also helps you to talk with adults, especially your spouse!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've ever read on getting kids to open up and communicate, especially for the child of two to six. It will make a big diference in your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book, making it required reading for kiddo's Dad, Grandparents and all major care givers to help create a consistent environment after an awful experience with a school having an opposite approach.  I needed this book to help me create a solution plan that creates a healthy situation for adults and kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every one that has children should read this book! It may just change your life for the better of everyone that has contact with you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book that has practical advice that you can start using immediately. Great examples of how to apply method. Wonderful for all parents, not just those having difficulties with their children. Respectful parenting that works!
knull9 More than 1 year ago
Best parenting book I have read out of many. Lets face it, parenting books are usually quite boring and too long-winded, or too abstract to be useful in actual parenting. This is no page-turner either, but what makes this different is that it gets right to the point and offers solutions that are well explained and constructive. It is easy to understand, but the explanations are very insightful and applicable. So it is great fun to read and right away put into practice what one has learned - and, with my kids, successfully. I feel like this has informed me greatly in how to talk with my kids (and also my spouse!). If everyone would read and live by the advice given in this book, human communication would be so much less stressful and fraught with misunderstanding.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My children are much calmer.This book helped us find many ways to understand each other.
R_Tomio on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This should be a mandatory read for all parents. It really made me think and start to change the way I interact with my children. I borrowed this book from the library but plan to purchase a copy so I can refer to it as the children go through there phases.
richardbsmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book when my son was young. He's 28 now. The book helped me. Its recommendations have application outside of child rearing. Highly recommend this for anyone's reading. Very surprised at the few ratings below 3. This is an excellent and helpful book.
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A blameless way of communicating. Concrete tips on how to deal with difficult and ordinary situations; suggestions on how to break negative cycles; and assurances that both children and parents have needs! A definite recommend.
dchaikin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brilliant and simple parenting ideas, especially for non-confrontational discipline. Well, at least it seems that way, but I'll have to see how it works. So far I've used it quite a bit with my 3-year-old and had significant success, some absolutely startling. It's just amazing what you your child will do when you give them a chance to think things through themselves. There have been a few failures. And it feels a bit awkward to strategically think through whole conversations.What was strange was that while reading this sometimes I would be on brink of tears. I would read the "bad" example and the consequences and realize that's what I've been doing. I've been pounding away at her self-esteem, and I've done it thinking I was teaching a good lesson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EthicalMagician More than 1 year ago
I used the methods in this book to help raise two boys who have become outstanding wonderful men because they listen with empathy to others and be patient to find time to give their story.  Faber and Mazlish have given parents a way to understand their children and to develop a good relationship with their parents. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago