Readers of my blog will know that I LOVE the original book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk. The book focuses on communication strategies that parents will find both practical and commonsense. I have always been a fan of these authors and their philosophy of clear and empathic approach to talking with your kids. I believe at the heart of any challenging parenting encounter, effective communication is always half the battle.

How this book differs from the first one

If you read the first book, this book may feel a little bit of a repeat in some respects. It does highlight HOW TO use these core strategies with teens.

The authors wrote it from the angle of teaching a group of parents and sharing a new topic each week. The teens of the participating families were invited to group for a few sessions without their parents. It is packed with quotes, stories and questions from the participants.

Bringing the teens into the group means there is a chapter that focuses on teens’ insights about being a teenager and things that go well or things they wish would go differently when talking with parents. In another chapter, she introduces the concept of how words can hurt others even in the context of friendships. She then circles around to the way kids talk with their parents. Towards the end of group, she brings the teens and parents together. I think this is particularly effective to highlight how using these strategies is doable and models effective talk from both parties.

Highlights from the book

  • Feelings are to be acknowledged (parent and teen) -Describe, describe, describe!
  • Communication should strive to be respectful if we want cooperation
  • Say what you feel
  • Say what you expect
  • Teach your child how to make amends rather than simply punishing
  • Problem solving is an essential skill that can be taught
  • Invite your teen to give their point of view

When it comes to sex and drugs, rather than one “big talk” use every day moments to bring it up naturally, such as when watching a movie or TV show or while in the car. Use yourself as a role model for handling situations.

I have had clients read the original book or the companion book, How to Talk so Little Kids will Listen by Joanna Faber and have really enjoyed it. I always pick up a new tidbit here and there when I re-read or listen to it via audiobook.

As always, if this is the first time you are reading any of these authors’ titles, I recommend that you get your hands on an actual copy because of the comic strips included and space to write your own thoughts.

The book itself is easy to read given it has 8 main chapters and 191 pages.

Bottom Line:

If you have read the original book, I don’t think you necessarily need to go out and buy this one since the same core communication principles still apply. However, its a good reminder of HOW to think about these strategies if you need a refresher or if you need real life examples. The strategies outlined are not magic, but will provide grounding for a healthy relationship with your teen, based in respect and collaboration. These strategies could be used with partners and spouses too. I like all the practical examples and personal stories to show readers how it went when trying these strategies at home. Not every story is perfect, but that is life. It is messy! I also appreciate every chapter ends with a summary call out page with key strategies summarized.

Overall, will still be one of my go-to books I recommend for my private practice clients, especially those with pre-teens or teens.

So, ready to get your copy of the book?

If you have a lot of books sitting on your nightstand then you might prefer to have someone to guide you through the book and hold you accountable!

August 2020 Parenting Book Club Book Review

If this book piqued your interest, readers can sign up to join my FREE Parenting Book Club, no matter if it is months or a year later.

How does the Parenting Book Club work?

If you sign up, all you have to do is get a copy of the book, check your inbox and join my exclusive private Facebook group. You will get 2 emails a week over the course of the month. Emails will pace you through the book and provide some thought exercises and tips to consider as you read and practice the strategies WITH YOUR TEEN.

However, having taught parenting groups, I know that the REAL learning comes from DOING and then SHARING HOW IT GOES. You can read a book and it sounds so simple but then try it out, it may not go quite so well.

That’s where the Facebook group comes in because you’ll be able to ask your questions, share your stories and get and give support from other readers of the book.

Here is the link to sign up for THIS book club pick! Hope to see you in group so we can read and grow together!

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Written by

Nerissa Bauer

I am a behavioral pediatrician, consultant, child advocate and blogger. I am a wife, mommy to 2 amazing children and 2 golden retrievers. Love cooking, travel, reading, tap and creating.