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How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7

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Advises matching your kid’s emotion, including yelling (26-28). So this encourages the kid to yell when they’re upset. Young children inhabit their own special subcategory of humanity that combines a ferocious desire to actively modify their environment, with the energy of a tornado and the analytic skills of …well, a tornado. Truly the perfect storm.

Appreciate their work and effort, not their traits. This shows kids evidence of their own talents and lets them draw their own conclusions about what they might do with those talents. Otherwise, you’re confining them by telling them who and what they are. If there is a dispute over who should have control over the remote, for example, don’t make the dispute something you can belittle because it’s important to the child.

Here are the greatest quotes and highlights from the book:

It’s tough to be a little kid. It’s tough to be an adult responsible for that little kid. And it’s really tough to think about principles of communication when the baby’s crying, the toast is burning, the toddler is peeing in the potted plant, and the dog is running away with the diaper. It’s difficult to translate theory into action when you’re in the trenches, under fire. Kids need affirmation to build a healthy degree of self-esteem but don’t overdo it or they could wind up feeling like the world owes them everything they want. There’s a spectrum that starts at “confident” and ends at “entitled” — aim for the former.

Criticism in the midst of a struggle hurts. To say that you are doing fine when the child is struggling. Motivation comes from progress, that “ B is well written.” Appreciate the positive, and then say what needs to be done instead of criticism. Instead of focusing on the mistakes, focus on what the child has already achieved. Or, 2: I could not get the thing, tell him to live with it for the 10 minutes (or whatever) until we get to where we are going. That response would surely invite crying escalating, into a full-on, inconsolable tantrum as the ride went on. I would have to listen to the screaming for the whole ride and then deal with it when we got to where we are going.Tell your kids how you’re feeling. Examples: “I worry that you’ll get hurt,” “I get upset when kids hit each other,” “I don’t like it when...” (69-71). Try not to blame while saying it; avoid saying “you” and strong words like “furious.” I tried it: “I feel sad when kids don’t finish their food.” FAIL. Kid made excuses. Tried it another time: “I worry that you’ll step in poop when running through the grass on your hands and knees.” Kid replied, “I’m not going to step in poop!” FAIL.

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