A friend of mine (another mom) asked me today for a recommendation for a good book on disciplining her kids, and I just love it when I get that request! Why? Because I love the answer: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (photo courtesy of Amazon.com)
This book is and has been my saving grace, my go-to book and the bible of play therapy. It just about sums up how to be a great parent, which will lead to happy kids!
What ages is it for? Well, it's a good start for parents that can be applied at the toddler stage all the way up to teenagers, and hey, I even use them on my husband too! Yes, it works with adults because we all know, when someone is empathic and understanding to you (which the book teaches) you feel so much more understood and communicate better! I have even started using the tips in here early with my non-verbal child so that we can get a running start and is good practice for us too.
Let me explain how it became the best parenting book of all time. The authors are 2 women who took a parent guidance class back in the 1970's from a famous psychologist, Dr. Haim Ginott, PhD and then took his principles and their every day experiences with their children, and created this step-by-step book. It's a classic because it's real moms with real stories, not just some research study on how to get kids to listen. It's filled with cartoons and really easy to read guidelines in it- definitely NOT a boring textbook.
I love the first few sentences of the book in Chapter 1:
"I was a wonderful parent before I had children. I was an expert on why everyone else was having problems with theirs. Then I had three of my own." "Living with real children can be humbling and every morning I would tell myself, 'Today is going to be different,' but every morning was a variation of the day before: 'He punched me', or 'this oatmeal looks like throw-up'..'you gave me more than her', etc.
And they go on to explain how they then decided to take a parenting class and it changed their relationships for the better with their kids.
Now, I read this book way before I had kids but was so glad that I did. It helped me empathize more with my parent clients and I used the book's techniques with them to help them with their children at home. I would assign them to read each chapter a week at a time and then I would go over it with them so they could apply all of the suggestions to their own situations at home. We always got such great results with it, that I could not wait to use it when I had kids of my own.
To give you an idea of what the book has to offer, here are the chapters:
Helping Children Deal With Their Feelings
Alternatives to Punishment
Freeing Children from Playing Roles
Putting It All Together