Book Advice in Action: How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk…

April 9, 2008

Okay, so I found the book How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk and Talk So Your Kids Will Listen at the book sale for 50 cents the other day, and I’ve been studying it ever since, as I’ve heard rave reviews about how it helps you get your kids to cooperate instead of tangling with them all the time.

But I’ve obviously not got the techniques down very well.

Instead of telling your kids “no,” you’re supposed to do non-confrontational things like Describe a situation, Give Information. When kids hear a description or get information, they supposedly draw their own conclusions and make the best informed choices, ie, cooperate and behave.

So, my daughter goes from
painting the paper to painting her hand.

I say, describing, “You are painting your hand purple.”

She: “I AM… it’s purple!”

I say, informing, “We will have to scrub that extra hard.”

Happily agreeing, she says, “In the sink!”

I try again with informing: “We don’t paint on our hands. We paint on paper.”

To which she replies, “We don’t paint on paper. We paint HANDS.” So sweetly. So charmingly. So WRONGLY.

I run to the book – what am I doing wrong? I guess I should move to Giving Choices – “You can either stop painting your hand or -” or what? No, I want her to stop painting her hand! What the hell am I supposed to do now? How do I avoid NO right now?

I worry…

…and then notice that she has moved on to painting her toes.

Oh Good Grief.