I was unsure that I would get much out of this book when my librarian first recommended it to me. I asked the two librarians working for books on childcare and they laughed lightly but had an understanding look on their face. “We have a parenting section… Would that interest you?”
I said yes, because my job is more or less being a parent. And the librarian pulled off this tattered, dusty, almost 25 yo book (written in 1991) from the shelf and handed it to me.
“This one’s really good. It’s a little older, but the information is still very relevant…”
I was doubtful but I nodded and checked it out along with 2 other books on parenting and the psychology of children. I saved How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk for my last book to read in my short stack. Though I wished I’d read it sooner!
One of the, if not THE best part of this book was the cartoons. I say so because they depict real-life, very realistic scenarios that we CCPs (child care providers) deal with on an everyday basis.
Here are a few examples of some of the important child-rearing basics that this book covers:
#1 It’s not a CCP’s job to fix our kids problems.
Rather, we should provide them with tools they can use to solve them on their own.
This comic represents different ways to encourage our children to learn independently rather than relying on their CCP to do solve all of their problems (which are seemingly never-ending, might I add!).
It can be TOO easy to intervene in a situation and simply take charge rather than acknowledging the problem and/or providing tools for the child to solve his/her own problems.
#2 Dear Parents, all of your child’s emotions are acceptable.
This comic represents how by honestly acknowledging children’s emotions CCPs can help their child work through their emotional state and recover much more quickly. If the CCP takes what the child says personally, a battle has begun, and anger/tears/lashing out will ensue. Empathizing with the child makes his/her feel like you understand how much something means to them. It takes practice to talk to children this way, but it works.
#3 Free Your Children From Playing Roles
This book also has built-in exercises to complete in which the reader, you, plays the role of how a child might feel when certain things are said to them. For example:
“Johnny how many times do I have to tell you not to kick off your shoes right in the doorway? Do you EVER pay attention to what I say? You need to get your ears cleaned out. Your brother Mark listens, why can’t you?”
The child might feel attention-deficit, like a slow learner, less valuable/loved than his brother. The psychology of self-fulfilling prophecies say that the child will then go on to act out according to the labels which he has been placed.
The exercise would then have the reader write proper ways of relaying their feelings to their children without quickly blaming.
“Johnny, when your shoes are in the doorway, people can trip over them and get hurt. A better place to keep them is in the shoe room.”
This teaches the child that other are affected by his actions. This way of speaking takes the pressure off of the CCP, and the child learns that doing his part is important to the whole household.
Check out this awesome book by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish for more great materials on how to have a stable household and a better relationship with your children.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk