How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

Updated on September 07, 2013
J.S. asks from Chandler, AZ
13 answers

Last week or so, someone made a comment about the book "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen". I later googled it, and found "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen, And Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. Has anyone read this book, and did you like it? I am interested, but it's checked out at the library and I'm thinking about purchasing and downloading it to my phone. In the past I've read 1 2 3 Magic and Love and Logic. Does it go with their methods?

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I find 1 2 3 Magic and Love and Logic to be insulting and very disrespectful of children. I didn't get more than a few pages in because there was no way in the world I could swallow their approaches. I would much prefer How to Talk So Kids.... And yes, my son is generally respectful and nice because we model that behavior and treat him how we would hope to be treated. We get plenty of compliments on his attitude and behavior from teachers and strangers, so it's not just my opinion.

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answers from Sacramento on

Love Love Love this book and recommend it to people often. They have another called Siblings Without Rivalry that is also excellent.

I don't think it's much like Love and Logic. I know a lot of people get a lot from that book, but I didn't like the way it was written and I didn't agree with some of the methods for my own family.

Another book that is good is How To Behave So Your Kids Will Too...

Bets of luck!

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answers from Detroit on

I had how to talk so kids will listen and foudn it very helpful. My mom heard about it and got it for me before I even had children of my own because I am a teacher.

Easy read, realistic ideas.

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answers from Washington DC on

I did it as a study with other moms and felt that it gave me some good tips. Not everything works with all ages or kids, but a lot can be applied to various situations. One mom has a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old and implemented tips in different ways. One was old enough for lists, for example, so she could have him write down steps. I often find that if I can be calm enough to get to the bottom of it, we can avoid a blow up. I don't always remember, but I am better about getting DD to use her words...because I try to.

Now, I will say that some of the book is "dated" but it still overall applies to modern families. Natural consequences still work in 2013.

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answers from Abilene on

Hi J.,

To me it is a lot like Love and Logic. I haven't finished reading it yet, but I am enjoying it.


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answers from Minneapolis on

It's a quick book to read and the techniques work! I recommend it often. There is a teenage version, too.

I have not read Love & Logic or 123 Magic, so I can't compare them.

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answers from Washington DC on

I'd definitely recommend it. I've actually not read THAT one, but the follow-up book for teachers "How to Talk So Kids Can Learn" was the primary texts for one of my college courses in classroom management, and I've loaned it out to several new teachers over the years with good results.

Should be a pretty easy read, and the strategies (if it's anything like the teacher book) are clear and actionable with good examples.

Hope this helps.

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answers from Portland on

I don't think that the other books would be inconsistent with "How to Talk... "
it's just that How to Talk will be looser than 'when your kid does this, do this' type books.

How to Talk is not a book on discipline, it is a book on interpersonal communication, triggers, reasons kids (and spouses) turn off their ears and ignore us.... I loved this book and I do think it's worth buying, just to have on hand years down the line.

For me, this book was a real game-changer in how I worked with my preschoolers and I utilize the concepts in this book nearly daily. What I love about it is that it really helps parents of older (five and up)kids help their kids figure out how to solve their own problems through opening up those conversations to their ideas as well as our own. This also allows the children to take ownership and investment in their own solutions to regular challenges, which is less 'doing to' our kids and more of a 'doing with' approach. This does, sometimes, challenge us as parents to let go in some areas and however, I have found that sometimes our kids have unconventional solutions which work for them (ones we as adults might not have thought of) and resolutions better all around.

I think the other piece of this book I appreciated was the focus on the child's internal reality. This book opens kids up because it guides the parents in giving active validation to our child's ideas and feelings.

For what it's worth, I think 123 Magic and Love and Logic are both very effective, but just want to warn that we still want to parent authentically, and there will be times when following the book for the sake of following the book is actually counterproductive in our relationships with our kids. And consider getting the book copy, as there are fun little 'comic strips' of how their techniques are utilized; I found that I used a lot of sticky notes to mark pages, etc.

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answers from Williamsport on

It's a very nice book for anyone who wants to maintain the most positive style of communication possible which can be helpful in smoothing family stuff for sure....HOWEVER. It is NOT manual for discipline. The style described in the book will not FIX behavior in a child with very bad behavior-especially a very young one. It's good for communicating with older kids and teens and even adults. So you have to take it for what it's worth and realize that if things are awry with small kids, you will also need firmer resources, and that nothing is "wrong" with your child if you are talking properly and acting properly and your child is still acting very badly. I have lots of "How to Talk" fans for friends, and believe me, their kids aren't nice and respectful just because their parents are or just because their parents phrase things nicely most of the time. Sometimes you do need to just lay down the law and demand respect without such a negotiation and team effort about everything-though it may suffice for some. I like the book too and usually communicate in a similar way, but I will resort to much firmer discipline when needed so that I'm ABLE to maintain the peaceful positive household and respectful tones. So get it, but be aware it's not a discipline manual-especially for difficult kids. I think the trouble with taking these books too much to heart is that people are led to believe that kids will act well if you are kind and lead by example. This is not always enough even though it's great to be that way.



answers from Los Angeles on

Haven't read it but just read magic 123


answers from St. Louis on

They are excellent books!


answers from Phoenix on

J., I have all 3 and got them at Goodwill for just a couple bucks each. Good luck.



answers from San Francisco on

It's definitely worth reading.

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