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November 24, 2009 / allyo

How to yell and still get your message across

Dawn has a great post about how the book How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk and how it changed her life.  It’s working the same type of magic on me but for slightly different reasons. It affirms the way that MD and I already instinctively parent and gives us actual tools to use to stay true to our ideals and to Jamie. The tools are open ended – the book is laid out like a workbook with fill-in exercises and cartoons – so it doesn’t lead you to a foregone conclusion that the authors have decided is the right one.

But the thing that I can’t get over is that it gives you, as the parent, the permission to have feelings. The stories about parents using these technique aren’t about perfect automatons that parrot back the approved statements. They yell! But they do it constructively. They find creative and non-threatening ways to tell their kids to leave them alone so they can make dinner or dammit, I’m having a really bad day!

This is so freeing for me. I have a loud voice (MD does too). And when my patience runs out, I yell. I feel as though I have the right to the occasional bad day, and that my child should know when he’s skating on thin ice. The flip side is, there are ways of dealing with your kids that  help to minimize the yelling and this book does that too.

For MD it’s finally conveyed the message that it’s important for the parent to acknowledge the child’s feelings before saying it’s ok, don’t be so upset, etc. This has been a big issue for us because he moves straight to fixing before the Jamie (or his wife, heh) is ready to hear it. What he doesn’t realize is that all it does is add to the stress levels of the person upset. That’s another thing this book does, it asks the parents to think about what their children are actually hearing and whether it is the same message that the parent is trying to convey.

It’s just an awesome book all around and I’d say it’s appropriate for those with kids as  young as 2. I’ve known about it since it came out but for some reason I always thought it was for older kids. In fact, as Dawn’s post illustrates, it works with interactions between adults as well.




Leave a Comment
  1. LittleWit / Nov 24 2009 3:25 pm

    Sounds like a good book. 🙂 Glad to hear it’s helping.

  2. dawn / Nov 24 2009 6:35 pm

    Best book EVER!!!!

  3. FriendD / Nov 25 2009 3:58 pm

    I learned the other day about a technique of parenting that is all about feelings. Rather than giving a command of what you want them to do (or stop doing), you tell the child how you feel about what they are doing. For example: “I am scared that if you climb up on that table, you could really hurt yourself.” I’ve been trying it and it actually kind of works, for example: “It makes me want to go do something else when you yell at me while I help you do your homework.” Anyhoo, its an approach I hadn’t really thought of and it kind of works.

  4. FriendD / Nov 25 2009 3:59 pm

    oh yeah, the thought behind it is encouraging kids to police themselves and make the right choices so they think its their idea.

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