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Parent Speak: What's Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children - and What to Say Instead

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Imagine if every time you praise your child with “Good job!” you’re actually doing more harm than good. What if asking a child “Can you say thank you?” is exactly the wrong way to go about teaching manners? And would you still say “I’m going to tickle you!” if you knew it had just as much potential to terrorize as to delight? Jennifer Lehr is a smart, funny, fearless writer Imagine if every time you praise your child with “Good job!” you’re actually doing more harm than good. What if asking a child “Can you say thank you?” is exactly the wrong way to go about teaching manners? And would you still say “I’m going to tickle you!” if you knew it had just as much potential to terrorize as to delight? Jennifer Lehr is a smart, funny, fearless writer who, in the words of the actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, “takes everything you thought you knew about parenting and turns it on its ear.” Backing up her lively arguments with research from psychologists, educators, and organizations, including Thomas Gordon, Alfie Kohn, Peter Gray, and R.I.E. (Resources for Infant Educarers), Ms. Lehr takes on “parentspeak”—the seemingly innocuous language parents fall back on when talking to their young children—and, in the process, offers a conscious, compassionate approach to parenting based on respect and love for the child as an individual. So what to say instead of “Good job!” the next time your daughter shows off her new painting? Demonstrate actual interest by asking her to describe the work and sharing your impressions of it. And what’s wrong with “Who’s a big boy!”? It sells the idea that older is somehow better—so often used by parents trying to potty train a child—and discounts the child’s own fears about change. Readers will be surprised when they realize how often they rely on these phrases, and then become proselytizers for the wisdom of “GOOD JOB!” There’s nothing as compelling in the lives of young parents as the subject of parenting—particularly when it comes with the promise of strengthening their relationships with their children along the way.


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Imagine if every time you praise your child with “Good job!” you’re actually doing more harm than good. What if asking a child “Can you say thank you?” is exactly the wrong way to go about teaching manners? And would you still say “I’m going to tickle you!” if you knew it had just as much potential to terrorize as to delight? Jennifer Lehr is a smart, funny, fearless writer Imagine if every time you praise your child with “Good job!” you’re actually doing more harm than good. What if asking a child “Can you say thank you?” is exactly the wrong way to go about teaching manners? And would you still say “I’m going to tickle you!” if you knew it had just as much potential to terrorize as to delight? Jennifer Lehr is a smart, funny, fearless writer who, in the words of the actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, “takes everything you thought you knew about parenting and turns it on its ear.” Backing up her lively arguments with research from psychologists, educators, and organizations, including Thomas Gordon, Alfie Kohn, Peter Gray, and R.I.E. (Resources for Infant Educarers), Ms. Lehr takes on “parentspeak”—the seemingly innocuous language parents fall back on when talking to their young children—and, in the process, offers a conscious, compassionate approach to parenting based on respect and love for the child as an individual. So what to say instead of “Good job!” the next time your daughter shows off her new painting? Demonstrate actual interest by asking her to describe the work and sharing your impressions of it. And what’s wrong with “Who’s a big boy!”? It sells the idea that older is somehow better—so often used by parents trying to potty train a child—and discounts the child’s own fears about change. Readers will be surprised when they realize how often they rely on these phrases, and then become proselytizers for the wisdom of “GOOD JOB!” There’s nothing as compelling in the lives of young parents as the subject of parenting—particularly when it comes with the promise of strengthening their relationships with their children along the way.

30 review for Parent Speak: What's Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children - and What to Say Instead

  1. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    I'm giving it a four-star review because it was certainly thought-provoking - but that's not to say I agreed with everything I read. I think some of it might also be more effective when applied to older children than mine - sorry, but a 2 year old rarely gives the time to have the sort of conversation about feelings and motivations she's advocating. Our "why don't you want to wear your coat?" conversations go more like this from her end: "no coat!" "Wear coat!" "Yes!" "No!" I'm giving it a four-star review because it was certainly thought-provoking - but that's not to say I agreed with everything I read. I think some of it might also be more effective when applied to older children than mine - sorry, but a 2 year old rarely gives the time to have the sort of conversation about feelings and motivations she's advocating. Our "why don't you want to wear your coat?" conversations go more like this from her end: "no coat!" "Wear coat!" "Yes!" "No!"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Toyin A

    ​This book is so apt in describing the way we talk to kids as if they need to be manipulated, objectified, micromanaged, distressed, invalidated or threatened. Jennifer explores why we generally talk to children differently and how we can better educate ourselves and take a better approach. Rating: 4/5 Favourite quote: “So when we parents try to become the drivers of our kids’ bodies, when we think we know better, they can come to doubt their own good judgement, and that’s truly risky”. Recommendati ​This book is so apt in describing the way we talk to kids as if they need to be manipulated, objectified, micromanaged, distressed, invalidated or threatened. Jennifer explores why we generally talk to children differently and how we can better educate ourselves and take a better approach. Rating: 4/5 Favourite quote: “So when we parents try to become the drivers of our kids’ bodies, when we think we know better, they can come to doubt their own good judgement, and that’s truly risky”. Recommendation: If you have found if challenging to decide how you want to speak to or raise your child with relevant words, this is the book for you. Jennifer outlines the effects our words have on children and how we can retrain ourselves to engage with them better.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Piper

    On the day I started reading this book, Mr. Barry, our security guard at work gave me his best piece of child-rearing advice: "Listen to your children. Because if you don't, the streets will". I agreed with his point--if you don't treat your children with acceptance, if you don't value them as individuals, they will seek out people who will, and they may not always make the best decisions if they have been taught that their opinions are not valid, or that pleasing others is more important than b On the day I started reading this book, Mr. Barry, our security guard at work gave me his best piece of child-rearing advice: "Listen to your children. Because if you don't, the streets will". I agreed with his point--if you don't treat your children with acceptance, if you don't value them as individuals, they will seek out people who will, and they may not always make the best decisions if they have been taught that their opinions are not valid, or that pleasing others is more important than being true to themselves. That, essentially, is the argument of this book. Lehr makes convincing arguments against some of the most seemingly innocuous phrases that parents use--"Good job! You're okay! Give grandma a kiss!" Instead, she encourages parents to start a dialogue with their children. If your child falls down, is he really ok? Does he need a hug from mom more that reassurances that he's tough? Is your child comfortable giving hugs and kisses to people he doesn't know well, or would he prefer a handshake or fist bump? As adults we sometimes forget that children are people too--they are allowed to be sad, frustrated, and have bad days. Understanding what is developmentally appropriate for children, rather than trying to force them to act like miniature adults, is important. The one phrase that I won't be giving up? "Say thank you!" Lehr believes that children should not be forced to express gratitude that they don't feel. Realistically, most of us say thank you multiple times a day without feeling true gratitude. Whether it's to our family members, coworkers, or strangers, saying thank you to someone who has done something for you is a way of acknowledging their humanity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    I gave this book 4 stars because it is causing me to do a lot of rethinking and soul searching, not because I necessarily agree with it all. In a nutshell, the message of ParentSpeak is that children are people, too, and adults should treat them with dignity, respect, and compassion. In bigger than a nutshell, Lehr examines 14 common phrases or practices and the messages they actually send to children. (These include "good job," "you're ok," "say thank you," time out, spanking, and others.) While I gave this book 4 stars because it is causing me to do a lot of rethinking and soul searching, not because I necessarily agree with it all. In a nutshell, the message of ParentSpeak is that children are people, too, and adults should treat them with dignity, respect, and compassion. In bigger than a nutshell, Lehr examines 14 common phrases or practices and the messages they actually send to children. (These include "good job," "you're ok," "say thank you," time out, spanking, and others.) While I don't agree with every analysis, reading this has caused to reexamine what I say to my son and what message I'm actually sending him. I would highly recommend this to parents or others who interact with children.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Pavlichko

    Honestly, this book was hard to read for me. The writing was great, but the content just wasn’t what I thought it was. I thought it was more along the lines of how to speak to children but it was more about how everything we do is wrong and we need to coddle our children and talk to them like they’re adults who understand emotions. I think instead of putting information out there to help parents, it was just Jennifer’s opinions on parenting in regards to discipline, potty training, etc. I was re Honestly, this book was hard to read for me. The writing was great, but the content just wasn’t what I thought it was. I thought it was more along the lines of how to speak to children but it was more about how everything we do is wrong and we need to coddle our children and talk to them like they’re adults who understand emotions. I think instead of putting information out there to help parents, it was just Jennifer’s opinions on parenting in regards to discipline, potty training, etc. I was reading in the car and was sharing blurbs with my husband and he wanted to throw the book out the window. While it did open my eyes in certain respects, it gave me the gratification that I am a good mom despite this book basically telling me that I am not. When it comes to books about parenting, I will certainly be reading the reviews before I buy it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Adam Musthafa

    Very hard to read. Full of personnal preference and opinions instead of useful tips. The example given on some issues are bordering to stupid.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Liaken

    The four stars for this book are for its ability to be thought-provoking. I was amazed at how many childhood memories came up while looking through this book. While children don't always have the best communication abilities, it does not mean that they are any less of a person. I remember my personhood very clearly from my childhood perspective---and looking through this book was in some ways a revelation. Now, this is not to say that I agree with everything in this book. Far from it. But simply The four stars for this book are for its ability to be thought-provoking. I was amazed at how many childhood memories came up while looking through this book. While children don't always have the best communication abilities, it does not mean that they are any less of a person. I remember my personhood very clearly from my childhood perspective---and looking through this book was in some ways a revelation. Now, this is not to say that I agree with everything in this book. Far from it. But simply exposing oneself to the concepts laid out here will get the reader thinking in ways that I think are really beneficial, both for parents and for people in general. Because we were all children at one point, right? This book helped me articulate some things to myself and see patterns that I may not have otherwise seen. There are iffy parts of this book as well, moments that made me cringe or think, "I don't think your solution is any better than original issue." But I think that is part of what makes the book valuable. It is very likely to provoke the reader into their own thoughts, into examining their assumptions and into bringing their own philosophy to light in new ways (even healing ways). I don't think the writer necessarily intended for the book to be read and understood as I took it, but that's beside the point. If you want to think about how children are treated as second class, if you want to think about the communication patterns that are routinely used, if you want to look at the way that tickling is an acceptable form of violence and violation against children, if you want to get unexpected insights into your own childhood----check out this book at your local library and give it a look.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    If you are a parent, caregiver, or work with children in any manner this is well worth a read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura Ghory

    A must read for any parent or caregiver. I learned so much about the innocuous phrases I was already saying to my one year old and how unhelpful and even hurtful they can be. Definitely a book that i will revisit over and over.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Aggie

    Thought-provoking and insightful. I never would have guessed some of these or the rationale behind not using these phrases in communicating with our children (some were more obvious and some I didn't quite see the harm in even after the reasoning argument was presented. As a teacher of primary school students and the mother of three (ages 4, 8 & 11) who is a strong proponent and longtime practitionet of Nonviolent Communication, I am very receptive to the idea that we do need to be careful and ho Thought-provoking and insightful. I never would have guessed some of these or the rationale behind not using these phrases in communicating with our children (some were more obvious and some I didn't quite see the harm in even after the reasoning argument was presented. As a teacher of primary school students and the mother of three (ages 4, 8 & 11) who is a strong proponent and longtime practitionet of Nonviolent Communication, I am very receptive to the idea that we do need to be careful and how we say it- particularly concerning the most sensitive amongst us: our little ones who look to us to model their own future behaviour and habits.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Words really do make a difference. A look at what messages we are really sending vs. what we think we are saying. A must read for all new parents!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elysha

    The concepts are valuable, but I felt that the author spoke down to parents who practiced parenting differently than her, and that really put me off (despite the fact that I love her philosophy of how to talk to your children). I would recommend this book to graze the concepts, and not to actually read and engage with all the talk she does about how other people are damaging their children by talking to them differently than her suggestions.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Roche

    Wow! Everyone who has a child, wants to have a child, or works with kids needs to read this book. Seriously. When I first started reading, I thought "I'm already going to know everything this book is gonna tell me". I'm a youth services librarian, I talk to kids all the time, they always seem happy! So obviously I know how to talk to kids. Chapters like "don't spank", "don't yell", and "don't say good job all the time" seemed obvious to me. But then I got to the chapters "don't make them say tha Wow! Everyone who has a child, wants to have a child, or works with kids needs to read this book. Seriously. When I first started reading, I thought "I'm already going to know everything this book is gonna tell me". I'm a youth services librarian, I talk to kids all the time, they always seem happy! So obviously I know how to talk to kids. Chapters like "don't spank", "don't yell", and "don't say good job all the time" seemed obvious to me. But then I got to the chapters "don't make them say thank you" and "don't make them say sorry". And "don't make them share". I was so surprised! Why not make them do these things? Aren't they important? Then I read the chapters, and it was like "aha". All of these things have one big thing in common: when we make children do things, we are controlling them, and not treating them like the people they are. We aren't letting them learn on their own and make their own decisions. I've already started using some of the tactics in this book when I talk to kids and it's made me so much more understanding of their emotions and thought process, and I can tell it makes them know I truly care. Instead of telling kids when they go to pick a sticker "okay, you have to make a choice now or we'll choose for you", I'll say "It's hard to make a decision when there's so many choices, isn't it? I understand" and let them take their time - they haven't had a lot of chances to make their own decisions and they need time to think it over. And no longer will I force the girl I babysit to apologize/apologize for her when she won't. This book won't just change how I talk to children - it's affected how I'll talk to everyone. One thing that can bring about emotions in this book is it makes you think about how your own parents treated you growing up. I was really afraid of fireworks as a kid, and sometimes our family had to sit far away from them or I would cry. My parents would say "you're ruining it for the rest of us!" instead of saying "I understand the fireworks are too loud for you. It's okay, we can enjoy them from back here, too". Little things, but you don't forget them. It's easy to remember the things that upset us as a child. Children today are no exception. I'm glad I decided to read this book before having children of my own. It's definitely going to affect how I interact with them. Most likely, I'll read it again when I'm ready to have kids to make sure I understand. I really, really encourage everyone to read this! The morals in this book are SO important.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    This is a very thought-provoking book, and I loved the conversations it led me to have with other parents. It has also had a lasting impact in that I am much less likely to say "You're OK" or "Good job." Lehr exposes the superficiality behind many common phrases and calls on parents to dig deeper to, for instance, understand the reasons behind a child's reluctance or to teach true gratitude and empathy. However, her method seems infeasible to implement all the time, and one could argue that ther This is a very thought-provoking book, and I loved the conversations it led me to have with other parents. It has also had a lasting impact in that I am much less likely to say "You're OK" or "Good job." Lehr exposes the superficiality behind many common phrases and calls on parents to dig deeper to, for instance, understand the reasons behind a child's reluctance or to teach true gratitude and empathy. However, her method seems infeasible to implement all the time, and one could argue that there's a place for teaching children social graces, sincerity not required. I felt like the format of the book (these things that everyone does are Wrong), while provocative, ultimately does the book a disservice by emphasizing castigation over inspiration. I also wish that she cited some original research rather than only other parenting advice-givers. As it was, it felt like looking in on an echo chamber. Finally, I really hope that she fictionalized all her friends in her anecdotes illustrating bad parenting.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mutiara

    Aside from the way she reacts to her children more as a human being rather than thinking that they're just a "child", she teaches me that everyone, even children worth an explanation. Explanation to why and how things should go that way. For instance, she tries to make everything clear why children need to share, and how to share with your friends, how it is so important to be honest about the things they feel and what it is in their mind, to speak up for themselves. That it is not acceptable fo Aside from the way she reacts to her children more as a human being rather than thinking that they're just a "child", she teaches me that everyone, even children worth an explanation. Explanation to why and how things should go that way. For instance, she tries to make everything clear why children need to share, and how to share with your friends, how it is so important to be honest about the things they feel and what it is in their mind, to speak up for themselves. That it is not acceptable for parents to manipulate children by changing the names of their genitals when it comes to sex education. and rather to set them free, than limit their freedom to play or explore new things. So far, I love this book and this really open my mind up about the important role of a parent to build up a strong foundation of children's personality and mental health.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dan Carpenter

    The overall gist of this book is that you should think about what you are going to say to kids before you say it and that if it wouldn't make sense to say to an adult, you probably shouldn't say it to a kid. For example, you would never say "You're okay!" to a friend who fell down but would rather ask them if they were okay and see if you could help. If I was a mommy blogger I think this book would have been geared more towards me. As a result, I ended up skimming large portions of the book. Over The overall gist of this book is that you should think about what you are going to say to kids before you say it and that if it wouldn't make sense to say to an adult, you probably shouldn't say it to a kid. For example, you would never say "You're okay!" to a friend who fell down but would rather ask them if they were okay and see if you could help. If I was a mommy blogger I think this book would have been geared more towards me. As a result, I ended up skimming large portions of the book. Overall, I agree with most of what she has to say. I agree that people say stupid things to kids just because that is what other people say to their kids and it is what was said to them when they were kids.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Llael

    While the positive parenting style she advocates is not new to me, and I did appreciate the focus on key phrases that quickly become habitual - it's an easy entry to begin changing my style. My only complaint is that she doesn't always provide clear alternative scripts to the phrases she says we should avoid. Sometimes, she does, like in the chapter "Share!", which was great. I get that the alternatives are complex and depend on the situation, but all the more reason to offer more alternative sc While the positive parenting style she advocates is not new to me, and I did appreciate the focus on key phrases that quickly become habitual - it's an easy entry to begin changing my style. My only complaint is that she doesn't always provide clear alternative scripts to the phrases she says we should avoid. Sometimes, she does, like in the chapter "Share!", which was great. I get that the alternatives are complex and depend on the situation, but all the more reason to offer more alternative scripts. Also, she introduced me to the idea of 'childism' - now interested to read more about that.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A. Ackerman

    Oh, to have had this book back then! I'm a grandparent of 3 toddlers, and have had questions about many things that were answered in this book. It brought back some memories from my childhood, and the realization that my parents did many things right, and some not so right. The same with the parenting of my children. Oh, to have had this book back then! Now I see my children raising their children, and they seem to instinctively have grasped the principles of the book. It seems that parenting is Oh, to have had this book back then! I'm a grandparent of 3 toddlers, and have had questions about many things that were answered in this book. It brought back some memories from my childhood, and the realization that my parents did many things right, and some not so right. The same with the parenting of my children. Oh, to have had this book back then! Now I see my children raising their children, and they seem to instinctively have grasped the principles of the book. It seems that parenting is evolving. But the book adds so much to the understanding of some common, not so good practices , I just want everyone to read it! I hope the parents of my grandchildren will.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cari Williamson

    I would give this a 3.5 stars if I could - I really appreciated Lehr’s message of humanizing and respecting children. This book was truly thought-provoking and had me examining the power of my language in my role as a parent (and noticing every time/ how many times (!) I robotically used “parent speak” in my day to day). However, some of her arguments and suggestions felt like a little bit of a stretch or maybe a little unrealistic... namely how I can reason with my one year to understand he nee I would give this a 3.5 stars if I could - I really appreciated Lehr’s message of humanizing and respecting children. This book was truly thought-provoking and had me examining the power of my language in my role as a parent (and noticing every time/ how many times (!) I robotically used “parent speak” in my day to day). However, some of her arguments and suggestions felt like a little bit of a stretch or maybe a little unrealistic... namely how I can reason with my one year to understand he needs a jacket to play outside when it’s 20 degrees. Perhaps my opinions will change once he’s a little older?

  20. 4 out of 5

    tinythunder

    This book is worth reading simply to make you think about the implications of common phrases you’d never otherwise think about. It’s particularly relevant for parents, obviously, but as most people interact with children on some level it’s on my books everyone should read list. The chapter “Behave Yourself” is the best. It’s less important that you agree with everything she puts forward, and more about making an informed decision on how you are choosing to parent your child and updating your lang This book is worth reading simply to make you think about the implications of common phrases you’d never otherwise think about. It’s particularly relevant for parents, obviously, but as most people interact with children on some level it’s on my books everyone should read list. The chapter “Behave Yourself” is the best. It’s less important that you agree with everything she puts forward, and more about making an informed decision on how you are choosing to parent your child and updating your language accordingly. It’s amazing how universal (in the US) things like forced sharing and apologies are without a second thought as to whether they’re even beneficial at all.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I avoid reading parenting books generally because there are so many different opinions and backgrounds for both families and parent child relationships. I also don’t appreciate being made to feel guilty about how I parent when I’m trying to do the best I can. After saying all that I decided to give this book a try. I read the first chapter and a half and then skimmed the rest. Not because it was bad but because I was already aware of a lot of the things she spoke about. She writes well, uses goo I avoid reading parenting books generally because there are so many different opinions and backgrounds for both families and parent child relationships. I also don’t appreciate being made to feel guilty about how I parent when I’m trying to do the best I can. After saying all that I decided to give this book a try. I read the first chapter and a half and then skimmed the rest. Not because it was bad but because I was already aware of a lot of the things she spoke about. She writes well, uses good examples but at the end of the day it’s a parenting book and it will only be good if it speaks to your own personal ideals and values.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    I absolutely LOVED this book! While I didn't agree with everything the author said, I still loved just about everything about it. While it's filled with actual scientific evidence (from peer-reviewed journal articles, studies, parenting books by professional psychologists, etc.), it reads more like a conversation between friends. I was absolutely ENTHRALLED! It really opened my eyes to how we talk to and treat children. I have now cut way back on telling my bonus daughter "Good job!" and have be I absolutely LOVED this book! While I didn't agree with everything the author said, I still loved just about everything about it. While it's filled with actual scientific evidence (from peer-reviewed journal articles, studies, parenting books by professional psychologists, etc.), it reads more like a conversation between friends. I was absolutely ENTHRALLED! It really opened my eyes to how we talk to and treat children. I have now cut way back on telling my bonus daughter "Good job!" and have begun saying "You did it all by yourself!" which she really gets a kick out of. She herself has started to say "I did it all by myself!" I have recommended this book to several parents I know (including my boyfriend) and will continue to recommend it in the future. Great book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Liang Gang Yu

    The book speaks gently yet affirmatively of many harmful ways to parents talking to their young children, usually in good intention. Thought provoking and educational. Each child deserves parent's patience to explain, understanding of child's view and reaction of, the world and events around, even when he/she can not express or not even be aware of. Understand, inform, educate, let kids explore and mature in their own terms, instead of teaching, instructing, judging, and forcing. The book is a t The book speaks gently yet affirmatively of many harmful ways to parents talking to their young children, usually in good intention. Thought provoking and educational. Each child deserves parent's patience to explain, understanding of child's view and reaction of, the world and events around, even when he/she can not express or not even be aware of. Understand, inform, educate, let kids explore and mature in their own terms, instead of teaching, instructing, judging, and forcing. The book is a treasure for the parents with young kids, younger than 10.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    I think this book is a great read for anyone who has a kid or grandkids, or interacts with kids (teachers?) or knows a kid. It has made me rethink and analyze my interactions with my son and think about my feelings and word choices. That being said, it is a bit hippy-dippy, and I don't honk I'll follow all of the advice given, but being cognizant of the way I talk to my son will make me a better parent. I expect to re-read this book once a year or so to remember all of the ways to cope with chil I think this book is a great read for anyone who has a kid or grandkids, or interacts with kids (teachers?) or knows a kid. It has made me rethink and analyze my interactions with my son and think about my feelings and word choices. That being said, it is a bit hippy-dippy, and I don't honk I'll follow all of the advice given, but being cognizant of the way I talk to my son will make me a better parent. I expect to re-read this book once a year or so to remember all of the ways to cope with children.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    I have been talking about this book since I hit, like, chapter 3. It has a ton of useful ideas and really thoughtful analysis of how and why we talk to our kids how we do and how we might do better. I was also pleased that it was written in such a way that I found it almost compelling. It wasn't pedantic or condescending. It was accessible and interesting. Now I have to figure out how to recommend it to people without their thinking I'm judging their parenting... I have been talking about this book since I hit, like, chapter 3. It has a ton of useful ideas and really thoughtful analysis of how and why we talk to our kids how we do and how we might do better. I was also pleased that it was written in such a way that I found it almost compelling. It wasn't pedantic or condescending. It was accessible and interesting. Now I have to figure out how to recommend it to people without their thinking I'm judging their parenting...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Read

    This book challenges its readers and makes them uncomfortable. Thank goodness for this honest look at our automatic parenting responses and the examination of their premises, psychology, and impact. Finally, we find solutions in the crux of parenting: being a role model, teacher, and decipher-er of our children's needs and accompanying behaviors. With awareness and practice, we can all do better. Recommended for every parent! This book challenges its readers and makes them uncomfortable. Thank goodness for this honest look at our automatic parenting responses and the examination of their premises, psychology, and impact. Finally, we find solutions in the crux of parenting: being a role model, teacher, and decipher-er of our children's needs and accompanying behaviors. With awareness and practice, we can all do better. Recommended for every parent!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Definitely interesting food for thought about many overused "parental" expressions. While I didn't agree with everything the author said, my biggest take away was that It’s not always saying the “right” thing at the “right” time but more about letting people—especially our little people—know that we love them, care about them, and respect their needs and feelings. Definitely interesting food for thought about many overused "parental" expressions. While I didn't agree with everything the author said, my biggest take away was that It’s not always saying the “right” thing at the “right” time but more about letting people—especially our little people—know that we love them, care about them, and respect their needs and feelings.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    As many other reviewers have already noted, this book is mainly useful in how it frames mindfulness around the messages one sends to one’s child. I found the author’s specific examples less useful but the overall theme was interesting and provides some good starting points for how to communicate more effectively with a child.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    [5 stars] Amazing, and has made me question everything about everything... but in the best way. Definitely going to be revisiting this one through the years. If you're a parent, or spend any amount of time around kids, consider giving this a read. [5 stars] Amazing, and has made me question everything about everything... but in the best way. Definitely going to be revisiting this one through the years. If you're a parent, or spend any amount of time around kids, consider giving this a read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Romantically Inclined Reviews

    Totally changed my perspective on speaking with my nanny child. I can't see a way that taking this book's advice can do anything but improve our relationship. Obvious advice you never thought about before! Totally changed my perspective on speaking with my nanny child. I can't see a way that taking this book's advice can do anything but improve our relationship. Obvious advice you never thought about before!

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