Friday, July 15, 2011

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.

Faber, Adele. Mazlish, Elaine. (1980). How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Summary / Analysis:
A series of stories that illustrate basic principles of interacting with children.  Much of the book is suggestions of specific language to consider using.  There are activities to do, including writing your own (imagined)words down, and also cartoons that show scenarios that have gone well and that have not gone well. The authors suggest reading the book carefully and putting it down between chapters, in order to begin practicing the language and responses.  It is mostly themed around the idea of using empathetic words and attitude to handle situations. The suggestions and advice are very practical, and would be greatly useful for teachers to use in every day interactions with their students. The authors have also written a book entitled How to Talk so Kids Can Learn, At Home and At School.

Relevant Quotes / Concepts:

“But more important than any words we use is our attitude. If your attitude is not one of compassion, then whatever we say will be experienced by the child as phony ot manipulative.  It is when our words are infused with out real feelings of empathy that they speak directly to a child’s heart” (18).

“Often what makes us repeat ourselves is a child who acts as if he hasn’t heard us.  When you re tempted to remind the child about something for the second or third time, stop yourself.  Instead, find out from him if you’ve been heard” (78).

“Parents told us that once their children became more accustomed to problem-solving, they were more able to work our their differences with their sisters and borthers.  This was a big bonus for the parents.  Instead of having to step in, take sides, play judge, and come up with a solution, they restated the problem and put it right back where it belonged – in the lap of the children.  The statement that seemed to activate the children to take responsibility to resolve their own conflicts was, ‘Kids, this is a tough problem: but I have the confidence that you two can put your heads together and come up with a solution that you can both agree to’.“  (132).

 “To Free Children from Playing Roles (that adults have assigned them unwittingly)
1. Look for opportunities to show the child a new picture of himself or herself.
2. Put children in situations there they can see themselves differently.
3. Let children overhear you say something positive about them.
4. Model the behavior you’d like to see.
5. Be a storehouse for your child’s special moments.
6.  When your child acts according to the old label, state your feelings and/or your expectations” (205). 
Annotations by A. Worrall

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