1980, 2012, Books, Non-Fiction

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So kids Will Talk (1980, 2012)

Full disclosure: I have no children, I am not a teacher and I spent virtually no time around children. So I am not the book’s audience. Why did I read it? Because my father recommended it me for as a good tool for communicating better.

So, this book seems like it is a pretty great tool for parents. One thing so many people point out is that nobody gets trained for parenting before becoming a parent. And this book sees very well made for people who are not sure what to do. Not only is it full of good advice, it is full of practical advice, as well as exercises and examples form seminars. It is the kind of self-help book you can actually learn from. There is very little “why” – and there is no metaphysics – and it’s mostly focused on the “how”. I wish more self-help books were like this.

For my purposes, I felt like there were a number of key insights for how to listen and how to talk in a way which encourages others to talk. (These lessons apply to adults as much as kids.) Though the book is geared entirely towards parents I think it is worth reading if you are interested in communication techniques.

The book has aged somewhat poorly. You can tell it was originally written in a different time as there is plenty of talk of spanking and hitting as a (poor) tactic for dealing with kids. As someone who wasn’t spanked or hit, I find this prehistoric. What’s a worse is the way the part at the end dances around an implication that children of a certain ethnicity are harder to deal with than the (white, privileged) children which are the topic of the book. I’m kind of amazed it’s in there, frankly, as the lessons in this book seem universal, so the problems should be, too, right?

Anyway, I suspect this is a great tool for parents. And it is useful for adults too. It’s certainly not a must read – I only read it because it was a gift – but I got enough from it about that I am happy I read it.


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