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How to Talk so Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish


Published: 2006
Price: $24.99 GST inc.
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Description

Internationally acclaimed parenting experts Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish have helped millions of families with their breakthrough, multimillion-copy bestselling books How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk and Siblings Without Rivalry. Now, they return with this lively, down-to-earth guide that tackles today's tough issues. Within these pages you'll discover the innovative Faber & Mazlish approach to maintaining a candid, open, mutually respectful dialogue between parents and teens, and learn how to:

  • Listen and respond helpfully to your teenager's concerns
  • Express your irritation or anger without being hurtful
  • Take action without punishing
  • Encourage your teen to assume responsibility
  • Work out problems together
  • Talk about sex and drugs without preaching or alienating.
A book for: Parents of Teenagers

happychild's Review

You’ve got to love a book that opens with the line: "I was a wonderful parent before I had children." Yes, we’ve all been there. Prior to having our own kids, we observed, pursed-lipped, as mums and dads seemed to get it wrong time after time. We would be different—better—parents, we thought... until our own children came along and we found out they were individuals with minds of their own, not pliable little pieces of clay, willing to be moulded as we saw fit.

Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish’s book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk , was first published way back in 1980, but is still doing the rounds. It was recommended to me by a psychologist after I confessed I was having difficulties managing my relationship with one of my teenage sons. A parenting book that has been continuously in print for thirty years, and is recommended by professionals must be good, mustn’t it?

The answer is a resounding yes. It is that good. In a nutshell it’s a ‘how to’ book about communication skills for parents, the premise being that if you change your communication style you can reduce family conflict, encourage co-operation, and teach your kids some healthy self-reliance along the way.

There are seven chapters in all, each one building on methods discussed in the chapter preceding it: Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings, about properly listening to and validating your child’s feelings; Engaging Co-operation, which demonstrates how to engage co-operation without resorting to blame, threats or sarcasm; Alternatives to Punishment, which argues that problem-solving is more effective than punishment; Encouraging Autonomy, about allowing children make their own choices and resisting the urge to do everything for them; Praise, which teaches how to offer meaningful praise, not empty platitudes; and, lastly, Freeing Children from Playing Roles, about resisting the urge to assign roles to our children, such as the ‘selfish child’, or even the ‘good child’.

Of course, it’s not enough to simply read the book—you have to apply the methods taught within. With that in mind, the authors have included lots of examples, cartoons, written exercises, and ‘quick reminder’ boxes to refresh your memory. I had so many light bulb moments whilst reading this book it’s a wonder I didn’t blow a fuse.

The more I analysed my communications with my ‘difficult child’* (the role he’d been assigned in our household) the more I saw that the way I spoke to him only aided and abetted his behaviour. I have since modified my communication style and—so far, so good— my son’s behaviour and manners have improved and, more importantly, he seems much happier, although I’m sure we will both have an occasional slip-up in the future.

If your children are younger than mine, lucky you; your bad habits will be less entrenched. If your kids are very young, even better! Faber and Mazlish’s real-life examples demonstrate that their methods work with children as young as two or three.

I sincerely believe that if you’re prepared to adopt the philosophies of  How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk your home life will prove more peaceful. And if, along the way, you can teach your children that their opinions really matter, and that they are competent human beings who can solve their own problems, you will be sending them out into the world full of confidence in their own abilities. Can you think of a better gift?

By: Benison O’Reilly is a Sydney-based writer. She is a published novelist and co-author of the Australian Autism Handbook (available on this website). She is currently co-writing Beyond the Baby Blues. The Complete Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Handbook, to be published in June 2011.

*Not my child with autism. I’m an exemplary parent to him!

Highlights/Quotes

" There's no quick answers, not with teenagers. You can't protect them from all the dangers in today's world, or spare them the emotional turmoil of their adolescent years... but if you create the kind of climate in your home where your kids feel free to express their feelings, there's a good chance they'll be more open to hearing your feelings. More willing to consider your adult perspective. more able to accept restraints. More willing to be protected by your values."

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