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Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

As a parent, have you ever wondered what could be a better solution to your child's tantrums? Do you frequently come across situations where the child asks for something and you deny it, and this keeps on repeating for 10-15 minutes until either you give in or make the child cry for another good 15 minutes till she gets distracted?

"How to Talk..." is a must read book on parenting; though it's focused more on the parents of 5-10 year olds, the advice is applicable to all sorts of dependents, in my opinion---even 25 year olds who have not started to live independently.

Look at the situation in the picture below, and compare with how the mother deals with it in a later picture in this post.

The book suggests that you deal with the situation of conflicting desires between you and your child by helping children deal with their feelings. The first step is to listen quietly and attentively to your child's concern, and thus, acknowledge their feelings. If a child is feeling hurt, he/ she _is_ hurt; denying this feeling is not a good strategy. In fact, you should give a name to their feeling so that they can understand themselves better. Without utter denial, assure the child that you understand how they feel and then follow up with other strategies.

The book is based around a set of strategies for dealing with 5 different areas: 

1. Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings
2. Engaging a Child's Cooperation
3. What to do Instead of Punishment
4. Encouraging Autonomy
5. Freeing up Children from Playing Roles

It serves you by providing lots of "case-study" sort of situations and a good collection of cartoons to help you absorb the material. Though definitely it's not without flaws, these strategies are better than making up your own--which could be several years from now (and thus, would apply only to your grandchildren).

[1] The book on amazon.com