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on 30 May 2009
I read this book when my son was three. I was being the mother I so did not want to be with him. I was screaming at him, hitting him and being generally horrible. I was out of control did not know what to do. I was confused and anxious. Here was my beautiful baby starting to defy me and I did not know what to do except scream and shout and lash out. I found this book by chance. I read a christmas book list in the Guardian and Susie Orbach recommended it. She said she kept it in her loo and it kept her sane. I knew instantly that I had to go and get this book. It was in 1992 so no internet or Amazon. I searched London and found it in a obscure bookshop mainly full of psycho-therapy books! I went and bought it and devoured it in a cafe, making notes, crying with relieve and knowing that I would now have the skills, hints and tips to deal with my own feelings that were surfacing that I had no idea how to deal with except by blaming my son. The next morning instead of going into to my son and saying - get dressed and insisting on him putting on the clothes I had prepared I said, lovely to see you and offered him a choice of clothes, the same with breakfast, the same with whether he wanted to put on his shoes or his coat first. For the first day in many many months we left the house relaxed and happy. I was in tears as I dropped him off at his nursery and so full of gratitude that I had found this book which was going to save my relationship with my son. My lovely son is now a delightful, happy, talented and inspired young man. What more could I wish for, nothing. It became possible because of these delightful mums who wrote this book. I have given it to many friends, I dont know whether they have gained as much as me, all I know is that it allowed me to be the mother I so wanted to be.
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on 4 November 2009
I looked at a lot of books/reviews online before buying this one but I have to admit I am, so far, very disappointed. The basics of it seem logical (e.g. how to listen so that you don't make someone feel defensive, etc.,) but I don't think their advice is realistic. They seem to claim that basically 'just asking nicely' should work to get your kids to behave. An example is - if you want them to hang up their wet towel after their bath, just say "towels belong on the hook." As if a parent hasn't started off saying something like that in the beginning. It's the fact that that DOESN'T actually work that causes parents to start nagging/yelling/insulting in order to make it happen. I haven't actually finished reading it because I've lost belief in it so maybe I haven't given it a fair shot but...if I were you, I'd try to at least flip through it in a book store before buying it.
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on 28 January 2009
Having read the other reviews for this book I had quite high expectations. Unfortunately it didn't even come near what I had hoped for. It's written as if it's directed to a child rather than an adult parent and the exercises are sometimes a bit ridiculous. Nevertheless I wanted to give it a try and even did some of the exercises - but they didn't work on my children, in fact my 7-year old seemed to think I'd gone mad at one stage.
I would not recommend this book to anyone.
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on 13 November 2011
My son is 4year old and my daughter is 2yo. Since he was little baby, my son never say no, always listen and obey. Our sexond child is very diffrent, in fact i was expecting a girl to be easier to manage. People who knows me said i am very lucky mom to have a son like him, but then my girl is just completely oposite. That is why i bought this book, to understand more about how to speak and listen and understand the feeling of each kid. The result after i read this book, seems i am correct and perfect mother at all (i never thought ive done a right thing so far before i read this book), what i have done to my first and second child are exactly similar as the book suggested, but when i see my relationship with my girl, its hard... We are best friend, she loves me, she knows she must obey, but the point is SHE IS HARD TO HANDLE. So, i assume, DONT EXPECT YOUR CHILD TO CHANGE JUST BECAUSE YOU READ THIS BOOK AND PRACTICE IT AT HOME, EVERY ONE HAS CHARACTER, CHARACTER DONT CHANGE. my husband and i, now just accept it that we have challenging girl, and we will manage to continue doing the right thing and best, and hoping that she will turn a little nicer in the future. This book absolutely not for me, or you who has "character problem" either your character or the kids character. If your intention buying a book is because you have problem, than buying "character building" book is better than this book.

But, book is always nice to read, good lesson though.
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on 10 March 2011
I found this book helpful to a certain extent although each point was somewhat laboured and can be grasped by reading just a little of each chapter rather than trudging through all the examples set. It's american which I found uncomfortable reading as their expressions used are so vastly different from language that we'd use to talk to our children in the UK. Although I do believe most of the tips and methods in this book are exactly as you should behave around your children and would surely improve most parents' communication skills with them, they are not realistic in that, as parent with little time on your hands and sometimes a frayed temper with a naughty child, it's very difficult to behave in such a passive manner and keep thinking one step ahead as to how to react to each situation. It doesn't come naturally to most parents to talk to their children as described in the book, so can be quite hard work which is why I think it's a slightly unrealistic approach. All that said it was still interesting to browse and food for thought, which is why I've given it 3 stars. Something written for the UK market with a more down-to-earth/humorous approach would be ideal.
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on 19 January 2017
Poor - This book came badly damaged - it has a very large, significant cut to the front cover which has penetrated right through pages 1-5?? Before purchasing I checked to see how the condition of the book was described and I recall it being described as 'very good' personally: I don't think a book with a deep cut through the middle of it can be 'very good'. Very disappointed and will not purchase again. Product sold misleadingly in my opinion.
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on 25 May 2013
Those skills should be a must for everyone. I think it might take a few generations before a general change occurs in our society, which still rely heavily on carrots and sticks. However, I am optimistic that this will be the approach of the future. It does not only apply between children and adults, but between everyone. Some people just have no idea how to properly talk (and listen) to other people, and that's because it is not in our native language.
I would like to share what happened to me when I was 15-16, at secondary school, a time when I wish I had those skills and mastered that language. I had just moved to a different country so I was new. A few months after I arrived, some boys started picking on me (verbally and physically). As a girl raised in a fairly traditional way, with an authoritarian dad, all I knew was fight or flight. I also learned to be afraid of men, after being reminded multiple times that women were the "weaker sex". I tried ignoring the boys, only to make them want to shout even louder and push even harder. I also got defensive at times, just telling them to f*** off, only to be told how rude I was by the audience I had. My classmates obviously did not possess any better tools because all the (unsolicited) advice I received was "look away", "ignore them", "tell them to f*** off" and on one occasion "you should have smacked him". I was also told not to get upset or scared or anything. I would like to use this occasion to thank A.Faber & E.Mazlish for writing about how unhelpful, if not harmful, unwanted advice and denying feelings can be.
In retrospect, I so wish I had possessed these tools back then. For example, I wish I had told the one boy who probably most pushed my buttons: "It's clear that you have an issue with me". It sounds even better than "What on Earth is the matter with you?", to which he would probably have answered "Nothing". It is definitely far better than freezing, blushing, swearing, etc. which sums up what I usually did.
I have also always secretly believed that punishment does not solve anything in the long run, but now I am proud to admit it! Not only for the reasons mentioned in this book, but also because how many times have I seen the wrong person being punished while the culprit got away, a child being punished after false accusations or for something that they were not old enough to know better? As disappointed as I was that my teachers turned a blind eye on the bullying that they witnessed, in a way I'm glad they didn't issue stupid detentions, because I'm convinced that the boys would only have made sure not to get caught by them afterwards. Punishments are just not really effective, neither are warnings (threats) that encourage children to test them. As for empty threats, well I think it goes without saying.
Now the mother of an 18-month-old, to who I want to teach those skills, I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone, as well as other books about positive discipline!
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on 24 April 2007
A friend mentioned this book years before I had children of my own. When our first son was born my husband bought it, and then we forgot about it for a few years. Now my sons are 2 3/4 and 1 1/2, and I was having a really hard time.. the usual tantrums, food issues, fighting between the two... my older one was being sent to the naughty corner several times a day sometimes, I was shouting all day, and I felt absolutely miserable. Thought I was the worst mother in the world. Then I remembered the book, and aaaaah... never thought it possible that one book could hold "the truth". And it's such simple things you need to change, it's amazing. My son hasn't been to the naughty corner since I started reading the first chapter, we are a very happy, relaxed and calm family now, and my husband is still completely amazed that every evening I tell him "We had a good day" rather than finding me in tears. If you ever felt overwhelmed and powerless as a parent, and if you ever thought you were doing everything wrong ... READ THIS BOOK.
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on 8 August 2014
Currently about 3/4 of the way through this and think it's excellent. Lots of new techniques to consider, not only for improving dialogue with and understanding of your children, but also for improving your relationship with them and dealing with problem behaviours such as tantrums.

I tried out two of the suggested techniques last week on my 6 yr-old and the result was simply stunning - I felt like a case study from the book. The most impressive was when he threw a massively unimpressive and unexpected tantrum over coming to dinner. His 'reason' seemed so daft to me that I no longer even remember what it was. I grew angry with him (not surprising), was about to start shouting, then took a deep breath and though "what would the book recommend?" So I asked him to draw a picture of how annoyed he was and then come to dinner. He said "no!", thought 10 seconds, then grabbed the pencil and paper and drew a stick figure with sharp teeth. "Gosh, fangs!" I said. "That's right!" he answered. Then he added a triangle for the body. "What's with the triangle?" I asked. "That's me crossing my arms like this", he said, then demonstrated with a very exaggerated grumpy face. Then he burst out laughing at his own idiocy and came straight to dinner.
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on 16 February 2014
I have the two best boys in the world who appear very happy. My eldest, in particular, never forgets to say please or thank you, but he rarely opened up to me about how he was getting on at school, so when I saw the ... How to listen so kids will talk, I decided I should give it a go, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
I have always been a strict parent, I have high expectations of my boys, myself, my husband... I have been going about reaching those high expectations the wrong way all my life it would appear! Having read the first few pages, it was clear that my attitude needed a drastic rethink. I tried to put the suggested teaching to work and instantly my eldest responded well. I can see him growing in confidence before my eyes and he's started talking openly about his life. I am humbled. Even the woman who knew everything, didn't. I'm still learning, and so are my family, but these two ladies have persuaded me that their way is better than mine ever was. It's not easy, and I forget easily, slipping into my old habits, but I believe this something really worth working at. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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