How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (30th Anniversary Edition)

( 52 )

Overview

The ultimate “parenting bible” (The Boston Globe) with a new Foreword—and available as an eBook for the first time—a timeless, beloved book on how to effectively communicate with your child from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors.

Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “are doing for parenting today what Dr. Spock did for our generation” (Parent Magazine). Now, this bestselling classic includes fresh...

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How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (30th Anniversary Edition)

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Overview

The ultimate “parenting bible” (The Boston Globe) with a new Foreword—and available as an eBook for the first time—a timeless, beloved book on how to effectively communicate with your child from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors.

Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “are doing for parenting today what Dr. Spock did for our generation” (Parent Magazine). Now, this bestselling classic includes fresh insights and suggestions as well as the author’s time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships, including innovative ways to:
· Cope with your child's negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment
· Express your strong feelings without being hurtful
· Engage your child's willing cooperation
· Set firm limits and maintain goodwill
· Use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline
· Understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise
· Resolve family conflicts peacefully

Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Will bring about more cooperation from children than all the yelling and pleading in the world.” –Christian Science Monitor

“An excellent book that’s applicable to any relationship.” –Washington Post

“Practical, sensible, lucid…the approaches Faber and Mazlish lay out are so logical you wonder why you read them with such a burst of discovery.” –Family Journal

“An exceptional work, not simply just another ‘how to’ book…All parents can use these methods to improve the everyday quality of t heir relationships with their children.” –Fort Worth Star Telegram

Tracy Grant
There's a reason that How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk…has a permanent spot on family bookshelves next to What to Expect When You're Expecting. The book, first published in 1980 and now lightly updated for the age of social media, calls on parents to be their best selves…I don't think How to Talk is a magic bullet that can be implemented verbatim with foolproof results. But it does offer useful nuggets…
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451663884
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 2/7/2012
  • Edition description: 30th Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 30
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 27,475
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish are #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors whose books have sold more than three million copies and have been translated into over thirty languages. How to Talk So Kids Can Learn—At Home and in School, was cited by Child Magazine as the “best book of the year for excellence in family issues in education.” The authors’ group workshop programs and videos produced by PBS are currently being used by parent and teacher groups around the world. They currently reside in Long Island, New York and each is the parent of three children.

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Read an Excerpt

1| Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings

PART I

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. Every morning I would tell myself, “Today is going to be different,” and every morning was a variation of the one before: “You gave her more than me!” . . . “That’s the pink cup. I want the blue cup.” . . . “This oatmeal looks like throw-up.” . . . “He punched me.” . . . “I never touched him!” . . . “I won’t go to my room. You’re not the boss over me!”

They finally wore me down. And though it was the last thing I ever dreamed I’d be doing, I joined a parent group. The group met at a local child-guidance center and was led by a young psychologist, Dr. Haim Ginott.

The meeting was intriguing. The subject was “children’s feelings,” and the two hours sped by. I came home with a head spinning with new thoughts and a notebook full of undigested ideas:

Direct connection between how kids feel and how they behave.

When kids feel right, they’ll behave right.

How do we help them to feel right?

By accepting their feelings!

Problem—Parents don’t usually accept their children’s feelings. For example:

“You don’t really feel that way.”

“You’re just saying that because you’re tired.”

“There’s no reason to be so upset.”

Steady denial of feelings can confuse and enrage kids. Also teaches them not to know what their feelings are—not to trust them.

After the session I remember thinking, “Maybe other parents do that. I don’t.” Then I started listening to myself. Here are some sample conversations from my home—just from a single day.

CHILD:Mommy, I’m tired.ME:You couldn’t be tired. You just napped.CHILD:(louder) But I’m tired.ME:You’re not tired. You’re just a little sleepy. Let’s get dressed.CHILD:(wailing) No, I’m tired!CHILD:Mommy, it’s hot in here.ME:It’s cold. Keep your sweater on.CHILD:No, I’m hot.ME:I said, “Keep your sweater on!”CHILD:No, I’m hot.CHILD:That TV show was boring.ME:No, it wasn’t. It was very interesting.CHILD:It was stupid.ME:It was educational.CHILD:It stunk.ME:Don’t talk that way!

Can you see what was happening? Not only were all our conversations turning into arguments, I was also telling my children over and over again not to trust their own perceptions but to rely on mine instead.

Once I was aware of what I was doing, I was determined to change. But I wasn’t sure how to go about it. What finally helped me most was actually putting myself in my children’s shoes. I asked myself, “Suppose I were a child who was tired, or hot or bored? And suppose I wanted that all-important grown-up in my life to know what I was feeling . . . ?”

Over the next weeks I tried to tune in to what I thought my children might be experiencing, and when I did, my words seemed to follow naturally. I wasn’t just using a technique. I really meant it when I said, “So you’re still feeling tired—even though you just napped.” Or “I’m cold, but for you it’s hot in here.” Or “I can see you didn’t care much for that show.” After all, we were two separate people, capable of having two different sets of feelings. Neither of us was right or wrong. We each felt what we felt.

For a while, my new skill was a big help. There was a noticeable reduction in the number of arguments between the children and me. Then one day my daughter announced, “I hate Grandma,” and it was my mother she was talking about. I never hesitated for a second. “That is a terrible thing to say,” I snapped. “You know you don’t mean it. I don’t ever want to hear that coming out of your mouth again.”

That little exchange taught me something else about myself. I could be very accepting about most of the feelings the children had, but let one of them tell me something that made me angry or anxious and I’d instantly revert to my old way.

I’ve since learned that my reaction was not that unusual. On the following page you’ll find examples of other statements children make that often lead to an automatic denial from their parents. Please read each statement and jot down what you think a parent might say if he were denying his child’s feelings.

I. CHILD: I don’t like the new baby.

PARENT: (denying the feeling)

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

II. CHILD: I had a dumb birthday party. (After you went “all out” to make it a wonderful day.)

PARENT: (denying the feeling)

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

III. CHILD: I’m not wearing this stupid retainer anymore. It hurts. I don’t care what the orthodontist says!

PARENT: (denying the feeling)

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

IV. CHILD: I hate that new coach! Just because I was one minute late he kicked me off the team.

PARENT: (denying the feeling)

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

Did you find yourself writing things like:

“That’s not so. I know in your heart you really love the baby.”

“What are you talking about? You had a wonderful party—ice cream, birthday cake, balloons. Well, that’s the last party you’ll ever have!”

“Your retainer can’t hurt that much. After all the money we’ve invested in your mouth, you’ll wear that thing whether you like it or not!”

“You have no right to be mad at the coach. It’s your fault. You should have been on time.”

Somehow this kind of talk comes easily to many of us. But how do children feel when they hear it? In order to get a sense of what it’s like to have one’s feelings dismissed, try the following exercise:

Imagine that you’re at work. Your employer asks you to do an extra job for him. He wants it ready by the end of the day. You mean to take care of it immediately, but because of a series of emergencies that come up you completely forget. Things are so hectic, you barely have time for your own lunch.

As you and a few coworkers are getting ready to go home, your boss comes over to you and asks for the finished piece of work. Quickly you try to explain how unusually busy you were today.

He interrupts you. In a loud, angry voice he shouts, “I’m not interested in your excuses! What the hell do you think I’m paying you for—to sit around all day on your butt?” As you open your mouth to speak, he says, “Save it,” and walks off to the elevator.

Your coworkers pretend not to have heard. You finish gathering your things and leave the office. On the way home you meet a friend. You’re still so upset that you find yourself telling him or her what had just taken place.

Your friend tries to “help” you in eight different ways. As you read each response, tune in to your immediate “gut” reaction and then write it down. (There are no right or wrong reactions. Whatever you feel is right for you.)

I. Denial of Feelings: “There’s no reason to be so upset. It’s foolish to feel that way. You’re probably just tired and blowing the whole thing out of proportion. It can’t be as bad as you make it out to be. Come on, smile . . . You look so nice when you smile.”

Your reaction:

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

II. The Philosophical Response: “Look, life is like that. Things don’t always turn out the way we want. You have to learn to take things in stride. In this world, nothing is perfect.”

Your reaction:

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

III. Advice: “You know what I think you should do? Tomorrow morning go straight to your boss’s office and say, ‘Look, I was wrong.’ Then sit right down and finish that piece of work you neglected today. Don’t get trapped by those little emergencies that come up. And if you’re smart and you want to keep that job of yours, you’ll make sure nothing like that ever happens again.”

Your reaction:

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

IV. Questions: “What exactly were those emergencies you had that would cause you to forget a special request from your boss?”

“Didn’t you realize he’d be angry if you didn’t get to it immediately?”

“Has this ever happened before?”

“Why didn’t you follow him when he left the room and try to explain again?”

Your reaction:

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

V. Defense of the Other Person: “I can understand your boss’s reaction. He’s probably under terrible pressure. You’re lucky he doesn’t lose his temper more often.”

Your reaction:

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

VI. Pity: “Oh, you poor thing. That is terrible! I feel so sorry for you, I could just cry.”

Your reaction:

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

VII. Amateur Psychoanalysis: “Has it ever occurred to you that the real reason you’re so upset by this is because your employer represents a father figure in your life? As a child you probably worried about displeasing your father, and when your boss scolded you it brought back your early fears of rejection. Isn’t that true?”

Your reaction:

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

VIII. An Empathic Response (an attempt to tune into the feelings of another): “Boy, that sounds like a rough experience. To be subjected to an attack like that in front of other people, especially after having been under so much pressure, must have been pretty hard to take!”

Your reaction:

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

You’ve just been exploring your own reactions to some fairly typical ways that people talk. Now I’d like to share with you some of my personal reactions. When I’m upset or hurting, the last thing I want to hear is advice, philosophy, psychology, or the other fellow’s point of view. That kind of talk makes me only feel worse than before. Pity leaves me feeling pitiful; questions put me on the defensive; and most infuriating of all is to hear that I have no reason to feel what I’m feeling. My overriding reaction to most of these responses is “Oh, forget it. . . . What’s the point of going on?”

But let someone really listen, let someone acknowledge my inner pain and give me a chance to talk more about what’s troubling me, and I begin to feel less upset, less confused, more able to cope with my feelings and my problem.

I might even say to myself, “My boss is usually fair. . . . I suppose I should have taken care of that report immediately. . . . But I still can’t overlook what he did. . . . Well, I’ll go in early tomorrow and write that report first thing in the morning. . . . But when I bring it to his office I’ll let him know how upsetting it was for me to be spoken to in that way. . . . And I’ll also let him know that, from now on, if he has any criticism I would appreciate being told privately.”

The process is no different for our children. They too can help themselves if they have a listening ear and an empathic response. But the language of empathy does not come naturally to us. It’s not part of our “mother tongue.” Most of us grew up having our feelings denied. To become fluent in this new language of acceptance, we have to learn and practice its methods. Here are some ways to help children deal with their feelings.

TO HELP WITH FEELINGS

1. Listen with full attention.

2. Acknowledge their feelings with a word—“Oh” . . . “Mmm” . . . “I see.”

3. Give their feelings a name.

4. Give them their wishes in fantasy.

On the next few pages you’ll see the contrast between these methods and the ways that people usually respond to a child who is in distress.

© 1980 Adele Faber

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 1, 2009

    A useful book to improve communication with kids

    This book was actually suggested for my son who is a Special Needs Child to improve communication with him. But this book has made me to improve my communication with my daughter who is 9 years old. A very good book which I would suggest to be read by every parent.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2006

    Wonderful Examples of Better Communication with Children

    This classic book clearly explains the difference between positive discipline and punishment. The authors feel that punishment usually does not serve to change the child's behavior and they give many positive alternatives that often work better. I found their many specific examples in simple cartoon form as well as in the text to be extremely helpful giving me the exact words to try with my 2 children, aged 3 and 8. The true to life anecdotes are the best part of this book and they refer to challenging situations with children of all ages, like sibling rivalry, tuning us out, homework, disrespectful attitude, chores, backtalk, tantrums, etc. If you have a toddler like me, I also recommend 'The Pocket Parent' written in a bulleted A-Z format for parents with a 2, 3, 4, or 5 year old. This book has similar, specific anecdotes for toddlers that whine, bite, refuse to eat or go to bed, lie, hit, etc. We refer to both books again and again to get options to try as situations arise...Practical, very parent-friendly and resonably priced guidance equally appropriate for both moms and dads.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This Is Handbook That Every Parent Asks For!

    Raising a child can be tough in this day and age. What children never come with is a handbook. This book is about as close to a "handbook" that every parent wish for. If your child is one day to twenty-one pick it up.

    For anyone who feels bound by their anger, guilt, hurt or pain, I also recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score." I thought that the book was just about forgiveness, I soon learned, it was about so much more than that. I was about how you should deal with friends, family and yourself and more importantly, how to keep these relationships strong when things go wrong. As a parent, I have learned raising children will bring unearth a lot of the emotions you felt in childhood.

    Having read it, I feel like a better person. Maybe because this book spoke to me and not down to me. I have read a lot of books that was written like I didn't know anything. What the author of "When God Stopped Keeping Score" does is talk to you like a friend. I needed that. You will understand why when you read it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Love the Book!

    I have purchased this book for friends and family. I totally recommend this book for those who have kids/children.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2000

    Lifesaver

    As a child and adolescent Psychiatrist, I believe this book helps parents obtain a level of success and peace of mind that no other parenting book can provide. It is easy to understand and it works. But watch out! The book will require you to be an active participant in your child's life and learn to see them with respect and joy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    I don't understand how this book gets any positive reviews. The

    I don't understand how this book gets any positive reviews. The suggestions range from obvious to unrealistic or are just plain old bad advice. I'm sorry, it is ground-breaking to some parents to not call your child an idiot and not tell them they don't do anything right? Or take another example: a mother leaves her child behind on a shopping trip because he misbehaved on the last trip. The mother calmly confirms that the child cannot come because of the prior behavior. The child apologizes and asks for another chance, at which point the mother refuses and says there will be other times. End scene. Um yeah, in reality I can guarantee a meltdown, tantrum or AT LEAST a protest would follow the mother continuing to refuse. The book is chock-full of these unrealistic scenarios and even admits to this issue. Another example is of a child who consistently comes home late. The mother praises him for trying to be on time and running home when he realized he was late, but tells him she worries when he is late and there is no dinner left for him. Shocker that the kid returns to old habits and continues to be late. So what does the book recommend? Sit down and compromise. The solution: Mom moves dinner back 15 mins so the kid can come home later and offers to leave his dinner in the oven sometimes if he is going to be out later. Oh, okay. So for misbehaving and being irresponsible, you reward your kid? Awesome advice, now everything is up for compromise I bet. This book is seriously the biggest waste of paper, I tried to read the entire thing, but just couldn't force myself. I honestly have a very hard time not judging parents who need the type of advice this book provides. Dont' waste your money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Every parent should have this book!

    When our kids are younger, we read magazines and books on their upbringing. But as they reach the "difficult" years we tend to rely on friends' strategies to guide us along. This book is a great resource for the those years! It's kinda like a workbook with different scenarios for all situations you encounter as a parent of teens and tweens. It's really amazing as you read the book how many situations you can apply to your family. It seems the author was studying my family before he wrote the book!

    It's very easy to read and the information can be applied immediately. I can see my attitude change as well as the attitudes of my kids. It's great!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent book

    I used this book when my now thirty-something children were little. I also recommended it to parents throughout my teaching career because it describes the "active listening" technique in an easy to remember way and has illustrations of the main points to aid remembering them. I bought the latest version for my daughter when my granddaughter was little and it was very helpful to her. I required a teacher-intern who was having difficulty relating to her students to buy the book and bought the latest copy to be able to discuss it page by page with her. I think that the authors have a great book for many uses. The techniques described also work with spouses and co-workers and in any social situation. Active listening helps you be a more genuine person to your children and not only "works" as a discipline technique, but also helps you have a genuine, loving, and cooperative relationship with them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Every Parent and Teacher Should Read This Book

    This book is a must read for every parent, every teacher, and anyone who works with children. This book was recommended to me by my son's Speech Pathologist. Since I have a slight hearing problem - I tend to speak loudly. This book as helped me to lower the volume of my speech. It has also given me the tools to choose my words differently which has yielded more patience in dealing with my special needs child.

    I highly recommend this book for every parent, but it is especially helpful for parents with kids that have sensory issues. Anyone with a sensory child knows how challenging it can be to teach their child to be aware of other people and things. This book is a great tool.

    I think anyone who gives this book a negative review is actually looking for a book on how to punish their children and not a book on speaking and listening respectfully.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    A great read for Parents

    Practical insight into both sides of communication.
    No matter your age the parents are just "old" to a child.
    Listening and being heard are difficult traits that most
    people need to refresh on. Read this book and be a better
    parent and person!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Communication techniques that really work.

    This book should be required reading for all those who are parents or who hope to be--as well as teachers and others who interact with children. The guidlines for communicating effectively based on love, mutual respect, preacticality and reason can be used with adults as well. This book takes theories of "tough love" and "natural consequences" to a user friendly level. Eliminating power struggles and heated arguments that go nowhere is facilitated by understanding the premise of Faber and Mazlish' work. And I find that using their methods actually builds respect, accountability and ease of communication on many levels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2007

    Good book? Are you kidding me?

    I am literally shocked that anyone could read this book and find it even somewhat useful. If my goal were to raise children who were in complete control of every situation they may ever find themselves in, to turn bad behavior into a joke favoring my child, or to just plain act like I'm a clueless pushover, I might recommend this book. Instead, read Setting Limits if you are interested in being respectful yet firm, allowing your child to bask in their self esteem while learning the world has consequences for our actions.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2007

    My Parenting and Teaching Bible

    As a preschool teacher and director for the past sixteen years, mother of three, grandmother of three and aunt of 22, I can tell you that the 'tricks' in this book saved many hours of frustration. I am thrilled that the message here is to treat children with respect and to speak with respect. I have recommended this easy-to-read book to parents for the twenty years that I've used it. I wish I could give it 10 stars!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2006

    Wonderful parenting/life skills guide!

    I have used this book for over 20 years! The key to learning to use this book is to take 'baby steps' doing one technique at a time so you don't get overwhelmed and neither do your kids. I first took a class on parenting that used this book when my now 23 year old son was 2 years old and being very oppositional(he is now in law school)! I have gone back to it many, many times. I have found it very helpful in getting my kids to talk when I know something is bothering them (even now at ages 23 and nearly 18), and also the techniques help to keep the lines of communication open when they are telling me about a problem they are having (even when I really want to say--but don't--'why did you do something so dumb!' ha). I recommend it to parents all the time. It also helps you to talk with adults, especially your spouse!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2000

    Wow - it's great!

    This is one of the best books I've ever read on getting kids to open up and communicate, especially for the child of two to six. It will make a big diference in your life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    Love this book, making it required reading for kiddo's Dad, Gran

    Love this book, making it required reading for kiddo's Dad, Grandparents and all major care givers to help create a consistent environment after an awful experience with a school having an opposite approach. 
    I needed this book to help me create a solution plan that creates a healthy situation for adults and kids.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Highly recommend!

    Every one that has children should read this book! It may just change your life for the better of everyone that has contact with you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Great book for parents of any type of child

    Great book that has practical advice that you can start using immediately. Great examples of how to apply method. Wonderful for all parents, not just those having difficulties with their children. Respectful parenting that works!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    Nicilethoms@hotmail.com

    Um ok but anyone add meh

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    very useful

    nice read

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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