How to Talk So Kids Will Listen: A Guide for Effective Communication

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen – Effective communication is an essential skill that parents must learn in order to establish a healthy relationship with their children. Unfortunately, not all parents are natural communicators, which can often lead to misunderstandings or conflicts between them and their kids. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your communication skills as a parent, and one of the best resources available to help you do so is the book “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

In this article, we will provide a summary of the book’s key ideas and practical tips on how to communicate effectively with your children.

Understand Your Child’s Perspective

The first step in effective communication with your child is to understand where they’re coming from. You can’t expect your child to listen to you if you don’t take the time to listen to them first. This means being present and engaged when they want to talk to you, and showing empathy and understanding even if you don’t fully agree with their point of view. When you understand your child’s perspective, you’ll be in a better position to respond to them in a way that resonates with what they’re feeling and thinking.

Use Empathic Listening

Empathic listening is a technique that involves putting yourself in your child’s shoes and trying to see the world from their perspective. It’s about acknowledging and validating their feelings, rather than immediately dismissing them. For example, if your child comes to you upset because they didn’t get invited to a friend’s party, instead of saying “It’s no big deal,” try saying something like “I can understand why you’d feel left out. That must have been really disappointing.” When you use empathic listening, you’re laying the foundation for a deeper connection with your child based on mutual respect and understanding.

Express Your Feelings

It’s important to express your own feelings when communicating with your child, especially if you’re upset or frustrated. Instead of bottling up your emotions or lashing out at your child, try calmly expressing how you feel in a non-judgmental way. For example, instead of saying “You’re being so difficult,” try saying something like “I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now.” When you express your feelings in a constructive way, you’re modeling the kind of communication you want your child to use with you and others.

Use Descriptive Praise

Descriptive praise is a technique that involves praising your child for a specific behavior or action, rather than simply saying “Good job.” This type of praise helps your child understand what they did well and why it was important. For example, instead of saying “Good job on your test,” try saying something like “I’m proud of you for studying so hard and doing your best on that test.” Descriptive praise can help build your child’s self-esteem and motivate them to continue to work hard and do their best.

Offer Choices

Giving your child choices can help empower them and make them feel more invested in the decision-making process. When you offer choices, you’re giving your child a sense of control over their environment and encouraging them to think critically about what they want. For example, instead of saying “Put on your shoes,” try saying “Do you want to wear your sneakers or your sandals today?” By offering choices, you’re also helping your child develop decision-making skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Avoid Criticism and Labels

Criticism and labels can be damaging to your child’s self-esteem and may lead to resentment or defensiveness. Instead of criticizing your child for their behavior, focus on the behavior itself and offer constructive feedback. For example, instead of saying “You’re so lazy,” try saying something like “I noticed you haven’t been doing your chores lately. Is there anything I can do to help you stay on track?” By avoiding criticism and labels, you’re showing your child that you value them for who they are, not just what they do.


Effective communication is one of the most important skills a parent can have. By using techniques like empathic listening, descriptive praise, and offering choices, you can establish a deeper connection with your child and build a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. Remember to express your own feelings in a constructive way, avoid criticism and labels, and take the time to understand your child’s perspective. With practice and commitment, you can become a master communicator and enjoy a more fulfilling relationship with your child. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

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