Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents

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Overview

Parents are often perplexed by their childrens typical behaviors and inevitable questions. This down-to-earth guide provides "Tips and Scripts" for handling everything from sibling rivalry and the food wars to questions about death, divorce, sex, and ""whyyyy?"" Betsy Brown Braun blends humor with her expertise as a child development specialist, popular parent educator, and mother of triplets. Whatever your dilemma or childs question—from "How did the baby get in your tummy?" to "What does dead mean?" to "Its not...

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Just Tell Me What to Say: Simple Scripts for Perplexed Parents

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Overview

Parents are often perplexed by their childrens typical behaviors and inevitable questions. This down-to-earth guide provides "Tips and Scripts" for handling everything from sibling rivalry and the food wars to questions about death, divorce, sex, and ""whyyyy?"" Betsy Brown Braun blends humor with her expertise as a child development specialist, popular parent educator, and mother of triplets. Whatever your dilemma or childs question—from "How did the baby get in your tummy?" to "What does dead mean?" to "Its not fair "—Betsy offers the tools and confidence you need to explain the world to your growing child.

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Editorial Reviews

Steven Carr Reuben
"Betsy Brown Braun is a master teacher and one of the wisest parenting experts I have ever known."
Reveta Bowers
"Parents of young children will find themselves reaching for this wonderful book by Betsy Brown Braun over and over again!"
Robert M. Landaw
"Betsy Brown Braun is a fine observer of children....This is a book I will recommend to all my parents."
—Steven Carr Reuben
“Betsy Brown Braun is a master teacher and one of the wisest parenting experts I have ever known.”
—Reveta Bowers
“Parents of young children will find themselves reaching for this wonderful book by Betsy Brown Braun over and over again!”
—Robert M. Landaw
“Betsy Brown Braun is a fine observer of children....This is a book I will recommend to all my parents.”
--Steven Carr Reuben
“Betsy Brown Braun is a master teacher and one of the wisest parenting experts I have ever known.”
--Reveta Bowers
“Parents of young children will find themselves reaching for this wonderful book by Betsy Brown Braun over and over again!”
--Robert M. Landaw
“Betsy Brown Braun is a fine observer of children....This is a book I will recommend to all my parents.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061452970
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/19/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 419,103
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Betsy Brown Braun is the bestselling author of Just Tell Me What to Say, a renowned child development and behavior specialist, popular parent educator, and mother of adult triplets. She is a frequent speaker at educational and business conferences, has been a guest expert on Today, the Early Show, Good Morning America, and NPR, and has been cited in USA Today, the New York Times, Family Circle, Parents, Parenting, Cookie, and Woman's Day, among other publications. As the founder of Parenting Pathways, Inc., Betsy offers private consulting and parent seminars as well. She and her husband live in Pacific Palisades, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Just Tell Me What to Say
Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents

Chapter One

Small Talk Is Big Talk: Communicating with Your Children

Remember the television cartoon specials based on Charles Schulz's Peanuts? The parents, offscreen, were represented by the sound "Waaaaaaohh, waaaohh, waaaohhh." You couldn't see them, but you knew they were making that droning noise. Everyone remembers that because it struck a chord. It was a powerful representation of one kind of parent-child communication.

In reality, there are probably times when that "waaaohh" is exactly how your child is hearing you too. "It's time for dinner," you say. "Waaaoh waaaooh," she hears, and does nothing. "Let's clean up your toys," you suggest. "Waaaooh," she hears, and doesn't move.

This day-to-day communication helps to mold the adults your children will become. In order for communication to be more than "waaaoooh," to make a difference, it needs to be purposeful and deliberate. As the parent, you are the mirror reflecting to your child who she is. Your communication with her directly affects her growth, development, self-image, and her behavior. Knowing that should make you want to pay attention to how you are communicating.

The Talk about Talk

Along with love, food, and physical contact, talk is one of the ways that you nourish your children. The brain requires certain kinds of stimulation in order to develop fully. Talk is one of those kinds of stimulation. There is plenty of research evidence to support the finding that children who grow up in environments withouta lot of verbal interaction are disadvantaged in their development. Young children who are encouraged to share their comments, ideas, and opinions do better in school, in their social relationships, and in life.

Talking with children not only helps them to learn and grow but also gives you a window into their souls, who they are, and what they are thinking and feeling. It is through talk with and not at the child that the parent-child bond is enriched and strengthened.

But talk is just one of the four ways with which we communicate with children.

The Four Types of Communication

First and obviously, there is verbal communication. Included in this is everything that comes out of your mouth: the vocabulary you use, the tone of your voice, and the decibel level with which you are expressing yourself.

Next is your nonverbal language, which includes your physical proximity to the person with whom you are communicating, your body posture, your facial expression, your touch and its intensity, and the environment in which you are communicating.

An often-overlooked aspect of communication is listening. There are at least two players in any communication, and only one is the talker. The other is the listener, and the kind of listener you are sends a strong message in any communication with your child.

Finally, there is modeling, which is quite possibly the most powerful communication of all.

Modeling

You are communicating and giving your children messages through everything that you do. Your children are always watching you, noticing what you do, absorbing what you say, and taking in how you behave. Actually, you may even be communicating more to your child when you are not talking directly to her than when you are. It is in those unselfconscious moments that you give powerful cues to your child about how to be in the world.

Cell phones offer a perfect example. You've just been lecturing your child about the evils of gossip. Suddenly, your cell phone rings. It's your best friend, who absolutely must tell you the latest dirt about your neighbor who has finally decided to leave her husband. Your child hears, "Oh my gosh, you've got to be kidding! . . . She what . . . ? When? . . . Oh no! I can't believe she would do that. . . . Who told you that? . . . I have to call Susan. . . . I'll call you back." Why do parents think that their children have suddenly been struck deaf when they talk on the phone? That phone conversation just sent a pretty clear message, and your actions superseded your previous admonitions about gossip.

The old adage "Do as I say, not as I do" might be a parent's dream, but it sure isn't reality. Your children are likely to do just as you do, sooner or later. You are your child's first and most powerful model. Believe it or not, many years from now, YOU are how your children will be. Or they might be the opposite, if they look back on what you did with disdain and disrespect.

"We don't read books at the breakfast table," is not liable to work if Daddy is reading the newspaper at the table.

"We treat our brother kindly," isn't going to happen when you are overheard screaming on the phone at Uncle Steve.

"We treat all people respectfully," will not be learned if you berate the service person who has kept you waiting for two hours.

Remember, your child is watching. You need to be the person you want your child to become. That takes awareness and focus.

Setting up Verbal Communication

Unlike your other relationships, the one you have with your child doesn't really have to be built. Mother Nature took care of that. From the moment of birth the foundation for that relationship is laid. Your infant cries, you hurry to pick her up; she's hungry, you run to feed her. You are there to meet all of her needs. As you do so, the trust between parent and infant grows. That is the beginning of communication.

Building on that early connection to your child, formed in part by your verbal communication, is one of the ways you affect your child's emotions and behavior. When your communication is meaningful and powerful, it feeds your child's trusting relationship with you and deepens your connection.

Research has shown that teens who seem to stay on the straight and narrow, who have a healthy social life and achieve well in school, usually also describe their relationship with their parents as being closer than the relationship their peers have with their parents. There must be a lot of conversations going on in those homes.

Just Tell Me What to Say
Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents
. Copyright © by Betsy Braun. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     xi
Small Talk is Big Talk: Communicating with Your Children     1
"Tommy Just Doesn't Listen." Discipline Do's and Don'ts     21
"It's All Molly's Fault!" Sibling Issues     43
"How Many Bites 'Til I Can Get Dessert?" Children's Eating Habits and Behaviors     61
"Get Your Finger Out Of Your Nose!" Dealing with Boogers, Burps, Farts-Manners and Social Graces     81
"It's Not Fair!" Day-to-Day Parenting Dilemmas     103
"How Did the Baby Get in Your Tummy?" Learning about the Birds and the Bees     127
"Why Did Mommy's Hair Fall Out?" Talking about Serious Illness     149
"Why is My Goldfish Floating in the Toilet?" Learning about Death     167
"Mommy and Daddy Have Something to Tell You." Talking with Your Children about Divorce     189
"Is the Fire Going to Come to Our House?" Answering Questions about Natural Disasters, Terrorism, and War     205
Related Books for Children     223
Selected Sources     227
Index     231
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2011

    Great Book filled with practical advice

    Not really a parenting book but more of a how to. Nice reference material and extremely helpful for those inevitable questions.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Person

    It probly would help for when ur not sure what to say.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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