By Patrick Fritz
I am currently in the process of re-reading a helpful book about communicating effectively with children. A few years ago, after an influx of young students with very big personalities, I realized that I needed some strategies for more effective communication. The drudgery of endless pleading, coaxing, begging, bribing, and the over-enthusiasm I was using to get my point across was wearing me down.
“How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” provided me with valuable insight into communicating effectively with children. Adele Faber and Elain Mazlish composed this “how to” book after receiving countless letters from fans, wanting to know how to put theory into practice. Readers were looking for concrete examples of how to interact with their children.
A quick glance at the table of contents piqued my interest with titles like, “Helping Children Deal with Their Feelings, Engaging Cooperation, Alternatives to Punishment, and Encouraging Autonomy.”
Although the aim of the book is to help parents deal more effectively with their children, I think that anyone who works closely with kids can benefit. The book encourages readers to actively think about, and employ communication solutions with workbook style exercises. And, there are also plenty of easy to digest cartoons depicting positive and negative examples of interactions between parents and children.
Throughout the book, Faber and Mazlish include letters from parents who have tried these strategies with their families. Many parents report healthy changes in the dynamics of their parent/child relationship.
What I have learned from “How to Talk to Kids…” extends beyond my work in the music studio. The concepts are applicable to communication with family, friends, and loved ones. I find that respectful communication does not always come naturally and I have to work at it. And I am no different than a lot of my students’ parents who are doing their very best for their children each day. By sharing and modeling this resource, I can help bring a little more harmony to their relationships, as well as my own.