How To Talk So Kids Will Listen
Establishing an environment that is rooted in respect and psychological safety is essential for every child’s growth and development. Given the complex needs and behaviors of children, creating such an environment can feel like a cryptic art-form for many adults — whether they’re parents, teachers, or coaches.
However, in How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, psychologists Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish provide time-tested and research-backed practices that guide adults through the tricky practice of effectively engaging with children. The book explores the subtle differences between habits that encourage or deject; between words that incite cooperation or confrontation; between strategies that cultivate learning or shame. The authors’ conversational writing-style and specific instructions make the book an easy read and guide adults on how to nurture children from potential to achievement.
Applying such an approach – rooted in respect and psychological safety – in urban settings can be viewed as revolutionary and counter-cultural. As American University professor Ibram Kendi states ”Research shows that, when children are sick or hurt, confused or angry, one of the ways they express these feelings is through acting out. This is because children have difficulty identifying and communicating complex feelings. While misbehaving white children (and adults) are more likely to receive compassion, respect, and tolerance, misbehaving black and brown children (and adults) are more likely to receive zero tolerance and no excuses.” This is manifested in higher expulsion rates and disparate criminal sentencing. Given this broader societal context of over-policing and over-punishing black and brown children (and adults), as opposed to utilizing the same therapeutic and compassionate lens that white children (and adults) disproportionately receive, applying the practices in How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk is an incredibly powerful, equitable, and necessary act.