How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk - Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This is an excellent book.

I tend to want to read books to learn new skills, generally more than just learning by doing or whatever. I guess it's surprise that I haven't read more books on raising children, but first they were babies and I'd read a few baby books, and then time sped on... In the end, Caroline bought this book, and I picked it up and read it and am grateful for her good choice.

I read quite a few management books as I started managing, and this book is kinda in that vein. Like those books, there are a few stand-outs in the field, and this is one-such, having sold several million copies and got revised and extended each decade. As with those books, it focuses on a few core, key ideas, and discusses them in depth. Keep it simple, stupid.

Each of the ideas is communicated in several ways, through explanation, cartoons, examples, exercises, feedback from parents, etc. It gets the ideas across solidly, and is the epitome of clarity. Almost condescendingly so, but such clarity is useful when you want to think of some alternative to screaming at your child as you're at the end of your tether.

Fundamentally, it has given me ideas which will hopefully translate into skills that allow me to be the parent I wanted to be anyway. It has also helped me to think about my childhood. So much of the parenting approach seems to be passed on implicitly, and even without thought - you raise your children as you were raised. By critically thinking about it, you can gain insights. I'm glad to say my childhood was a good start to base things on!

So, what is the approach? Simply, it is to treat your child with respect - a small human being who hasn't really got the hang of their emotions yet, but who wants understanding, choices, freedom, motivation and all that. By tweaking the way we communicate, we can help show them that we want to give them those things. In summary, it's the best book on people management that I've read.

Posted 2013-08-27.