30 years later, it still works!
As a mother of a 2.5-year-old and a 5-month-old, i'm always looking for tips on how to be a better parent. i also don't have a lot of time to read. i therefore was doubly delighted to find this book, which gave me many valuable ideas for communicating with my children while taking only about a couple of days to read cover-to-cover. "how to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk" is structured as a practical manual, guidebook, and exercise book, which allows one to put the learnings into practice immediately. it focuses on 6 key areas in how we communicate with children, with a chapter devoted to each: 1. helping children (and parents!) deal with their feelings 2. engaging cooperation 3. alternatives to punishment 4. encouraging autonomy 5. praise 6. freeing children from playing roles each chapter, in addition to hands-on exercises and examples in the form of cartoons, contains some real-life examples from parents who had put these ideas into action. this no-nonsense, to-the-point approach is perfect for a busy parent. while reading this book, i was able to put many of the insights gleaned into action immediately, with impressive results. for example, my older daughter had separation anxiety on her first 2 days at preschool, crying and desperately clinging to me every time i had to leave her. on the third day, when i applied the principles of validating her feelings, and letting her know that it's ok to feel sad, to my amazement she let go of my hand without any tears. i am convinced that if this can work on a 2.5-year-old, it will work on an older child. the last part of the book, added for the 1999 edition, contains some follow up letters from readers received by the authors in the intervening years. it also contains some follow-up q&a, such as a question on whether "time-outs" are appropriate (their opinion is "no"). in summary, i wholeheartedly recommend this book to any parent, grandparent, teacher, or anyone else who has children in their life. however, i would caution that this framework will work best with older children (preschool age and up), who can understand more complex ideas and communicate their feelings. for the younger toddler set, i believe other books geared to that age group would be more appropriate.