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Publisher's Summary

The ultimate “parenting bible” (The Boston Globe) with a new Foreword—a timeless, beloved book on how to effectively communicate with your child from the number-one New York Times best-selling authors.

Internationally acclaimed experts on communication between parents and children, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish “are doing for parenting today what Dr. Spock did for our generation” (Parent Magazine). Now, this best-selling classic includes fresh insights and suggestions as well as the author’s time-tested methods to solve common problems and build foundations for lasting relationships, including innovative ways to:

  • Cope with your child's negative feelings, such as frustration, anger, and disappointment
  • Express your strong feelings without being hurtful
  • Engage your child's willing cooperation
  • Set firm limits and maintain goodwill
  • Use alternatives to punishment that promote self-discipline
  • Understand the difference between helpful and unhelpful praise
  • Resolve family conflicts peacefully

Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding.

©2012 Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Will bring about more cooperation from children than all the yelling and pleading in the world." (Christian Science Monitor)
"An excellent book that’s applicable to any relationship." (Washington Post)
"Practical, sensible, lucid… the approaches Faber and Mazlish lay out are so logical you wonder why you read them with such a burst of discovery." (Family Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • jill
  • SWAMPSCOTT, MA, United States
  • 08-13-12

Great Story but leaves me wanting to jot notes

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Totally LOVE this book. I have read a lot of parenting books but this one seems to treat children as unique individuals with unique personalities who require unique care and upbringing. It emphasizes respect and autonomy for the child rather than punishment and rewards.

The trouble is that there are things in the book to ponder and consider and even role play. It is tough with an audio book. it was tough to give serious consideration on the fly with the next paragraph being read. Also, I found myself wanting to take a few notes to help me remember a few lessons that would help with my own children and unable to do so as I was commuting to work in the car.

I highly recommend this book and even though it is read very well I would suggest a paper copy rather than the audio version.

What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk?

showing respect for children

What about Susan Bennett’s performance did you like?

her tone of voice exemplified a 'normal' mother's voice showing happiness at times and exhaustion and frustration at times.

Did How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk inspire you to do anything?

treat my children better

Any additional comments?

I plan on buying the paper version so that I can refer to it often!

36 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 01-02-13

Best. Parenting. Book. Ever.

What did you love best about How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk?

This is a very special (audio) book. It has transformed my relationship with my son and influenced how I listen and communicate in my professional life.

This book gets overwhelmingly positive reviews and I am writing this review to help other parents find this wonderful book.

My wife and I were very proud of our positive parenting. We had received many positive compliments from friends and strangers regarding our positive parenting. Unfortunately, when we hit a rash of poor behaviour when our son began attending school, we began to question ourselves and our parenting techniques. This uncertainty lead to a downward spiral of 'old school' discipline based parenting, turning every disagreement into a battle that had to be won. Instead of helping my son's discipline, it worsened. Each time it worsened, we decided we needed more discipline. The cycle continued until I found this book.

This book was similar to how we had initially decided to parent our son, but the devil is in the details and the notion that every interaction with my son could be an opportunity for him to communicate HIS thoughts and develop HIS decision making skills and confidence was a subtle yet extremely powerful shift in thinking. Its not only about me showing love and positivity to my son, its about ensuring he feels confident and positive about himself. Yes, there is a difference.

I have developed much more patience and understanding, as a result of this audiobook. There is no question that the daily interactions with my son take much longer, especially initially, though I have come to realize that this extra time is really important and essential to being a good parent. Like most things in life, long term effective solutions are always more time consuming and complex than short term quick fixes.

That being said, my son has now developed very effective problem solving and communication skills. These skills have have allowed us to spend our time and attention learning and sharing thoughts on how to solve problems; instead of locking wills and trying to defeat one another in a battle of wills.

After adopting the techniques in this book, I can honestly say that I have experienced a very special transformation in the relationship I have with my son. I am in awe of his creative problem solving skills, he surprises me daily, and we have developed an even deeper bond of love and support.

I recall thinking, as I listened to the audiobook, that a number of the examples seemed very hokey and the descriptions of how children would react to simple questions as a little too perfect. Yet once putting the techniques into practice, I found myself often reaching for paper to write down the incredible responses my son would have to the simple questions.

There is an example in the book, where it advises parents to consider the power of saying 'you must be proud of yourself', rather than 'I am proud of you'. I have seen a number of negative or mediocre reviews that cite this as a criticism. While I still mix in the odd 'I am proud of you' I will never forget the look of contemplation, nod of agreement and then smile of satisfaction my son's face when I first said 'you must be proud of yourself'. I could tell that he had not really thought of his good behaviour in terms of what it meant to him. Its now something he has developed strongly within himself.

He now thinks of himself as brave, loyal and kind. He sees every day as an opportunity to learn new things and solve his own problems.I don't expect that my son will always do what I want but I can count on him to confidently tell me why he acted a certain way and listen.

75 of 77 people found this review helpful

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  • R
  • 03-16-15

Not ideal in audio, but good none the less.

I like audio books because I can listen when I need to be looking at something else, or when I can't hold a book. Unfortunately this book contains worksheets which aren't available in audio format. Perhaps pdfs could be made available.

34 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Great for Compliant, but NOT Strong Willed Child

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Including information for difficult children, not just ones who are likely to respond to simple reasoning and soft consequences. (The author refuses to call anything punishment.)

What do you think your next listen will be?

Setting Limits with your Strong Willed Child. Robert MacKenzie.

Have you listened to any of Susan Bennett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes. I think the portions about open ended questions had benefit and I also do think this could be a good book for someone who already has a good mutually respectful relationship with their kid and just want ways to further improve that. However, these strategies will not work on more difficult kids, the so called strong willed child. This book will be very un-helpful for you.

Any additional comments?

When I 1st listened to this book I probably would have given it 4 or 5 stars, but after I tried using its techniques, I realized it was not written with 1 of my children in mind, which is why I bought the book in the 1st place. This book sounds good and indeed much in it is good for the "compliant child" which is why I am sure it does work good for some parents and their kids who are compliant. Furthermore, its intrinsically a very "passive parenting" approach that makes parents already doing this passive parenting feel good about what they are doing and indeed encourages them to double down on their current strategy, but does little to help them with more difficult, non compliant children. Although I really do use some of these strategies with my compliant children, it is a disaster for the others and I assure you they will walk all over you. So if you want a 'feel good" book that basically says, your doing great, keep being passive and keep do what "feels" like the best parenting method with little guidance on more difficult children, go for it. However, for those of us looking for books to help with our more difficult children, I recommend Setting Limits with your Strong Willed Child by Robert MacKenzie.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Sound Advice You Can Immediately Apply

Faber and Mazlish's "How to Talk" has endured for over 30+ years in countries all over the globe for good reason: the techniques taught in this book make logical sense, are easily applicable in your daily family life, and have immediate impact. Below is a bullet summary of my highlights from this title. While the read is short (I finished it in six days), the lessons are invaluable. Bennett's narration is fine--if anything, you can really crank the playback speed on this title, the material is easy to understand.

- Listen to and acknowledge your child's emotions. You wouldn't ignore physical hurt, so why would you ignore emotional hurt? Accepting your child's feelings are the cornerstone of this program. Limit the action of a negative feeling.
- At the same time, don't solve the child's problems. Reword the problem for them, perhaps be their brainstorm partner. ("What can we do to fix this?") Encourage them to generate solutions and talk. Foster autonomy. Give them choices ("either we can keep playing or read a bedtime story, but not both. You pick.").
- Can't get your child to behave the way you need them to? Objectively describe what you see, explain the consequence, explain your feelings. Often just one word ("pajamas!") or writing a note ("Dear Jack, I wish you would use me more. I miss you at night. Love, Your Toothbrush.") can communicate volumes.
- Sometimes, you shouldn't use please. Commands are commands, not favors.
- If your child is frustrated or on the verge of tantrum, make them draw on paper. Ask them to draw their feelings and confirm that you "see" how they feel. Often, the child can go from scribbling to drawing happy scenes in minutes once they have been acknowledged. (I actually saw this happen with the first time I tried this with my 3.5yo daughter!)
- Being "sorry" is more than a word. It means that you will change future behavior. Follow through with apologies.
- Punishment focuses on reprimanding the past. Consequences focus on improving the future. Always focus on improving the future when correcting the child. Done properly, future-focused consequences build trust. Punishments destroy trust. If there's a recurring problem, get to the core of the problem and fix THAT. ("I didn't know my child was so scared of the dark. That's why she keeps getting out of bed. Let's get some nightlights.")
- Do NOT talk about your kid like an object, especially if they are within earshot. If others are talking about your child's inabilities, openly state "when she's ready, she'll do that." That shows your confidence in your child that they will grow up independent someday.
- Praise MUST be descriptive. "Good" or "wonderful" by itself is empty and confusing. Describe what you see when you offer praise. Often, one-word praise is the best ("You helped take the dishes to the sink! That's one responsible girl."). These turn into immutable snapshots for the child.
- Developing self-esteem is one of the most important jobs as a parent. The world will do its job of trying to break self-esteem as they grow into adults. This is your chance to give them invaluable tools for life in self-praise by giving correct praise yourself.
- Never use comparisons as praise, especially with siblings.
- Pre-determined roles are a self-fulfilling prophecy. ("Jack is such a goof-off.") You as a parent can combat that. Show them literal or figurative pictures of themselves in more positive roles. Let the child hear you talk about them in a positive role. Be a memory for all their past good examples, recalling them to the child when necessary. If the child regresses, simply state your feelings and expectations.
- Preschoolers have a tough time with the concept of winning and losing. Let everyone finish the Candy Land course, don't just stop the game when the first person finishes.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • thinblu
  • Newark, DE United States
  • 11-23-13

Good but too long...

What made the experience of listening to How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk the most enjoyable?

The book provided some excellent techniques for appreciating the perspective of a child and respecting them.

Any additional comments?

While definitely useful, it seemed as though the suggestions were overly redundant and could have been delivered in a more efficient, less repetitive manner.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Wow! Simply AMAZING!

This book has changed my way of thinking and how I communicate! This is not just for parents, but teachers and pretty much anyone else who spends time talking with children. Love this book!
These are skills easily transferable to communication with other adults as well. We all need to be a little more empathetic at times. :)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • Frisco, TX, United States
  • 06-25-12

Might seem too soft for some but the results are proven!

I kept feeling conflicted by letting my 16 year old daughter get away with certain behaviors. Instead of fighting with her I acknowledge her feelings and she takes it from there. Very effective methods even if often they feel like you're letting your child get away with somethings you shouldn't. Intrinsic motivation is what's being encouraged. Wonderful book that has stood the test of 3 decades!

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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What did you like best about this story?

This book provides practical how-to skills to use in handling challenging issues with children. In fact, many of the skills are quite useful in all relationships. I was able to immediately apply much of what I learned.

Any additional comments?

If you have children or work with children, don't hesitate to give this a listen. It really can be life-changing for you and the children in your life. The skills require practice and adaptation for each unique relationship, but they can make a radical difference in our relationships with children.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Larry
  • Saratoga, ca, United States
  • 01-05-14

Instant Application

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it was easy to listen to and easy to apply to my current situation

What did you like best about this story?

The clear concepts

Have you listened to any of Susan Bennett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Susan Bennett has a very soothing and accurate voice. I purchased another book, just because she was narrating it.

Any additional comments?

Unlike other parenting books, these techniques could be applied instantly to everyday situations. This is a recommended reading or listening material for any parent who wants a closer relationship with their child.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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