Book Review~ What NOT to Say: Tools For Talking To Young Children

By , July 12, 2012 12:25 am

This book arrived in my mailbox at JUST the right time. At 41+ weeks gestation, I was at the end of my rope pregnancy and feeling very little empathy or patience for the daily trials and tribulations of my other children. I was wrestling with frustration, fatigue, and was completely pre-occupied with the details of the impending birth of my sixth baby. Despite years of personal AND professional experience with Attachment Parenting philosophies and Conscious and Positive Parenting principles, I found myself falling back on knee-jerk responses to my children’s less-than-wonderful behaviors. It was not surprising that I was getting less-than-ideal results! Using judgmental and negative language with my children was doing very little to help them be their very best selves: the best selves that I know they (and ALL CHILDREN) desire to be. Thank goodness Sir Hubby could step in and bring some balance back into our home. While he was manning up and being a great dad those last few days of my pregnancy, I got to relax and curl up with this terrific new parenting staple!

In her new book, What NOT to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children, Author, Sarah MacLaughlin has combined the great communication skills of parenting guru’s like Pam Leo, Naomi Aldort, and Alfie Kohn and shapes them into bite-sized chunks of parenting gold! Even the busiest of people can easily grab this book and open it to virtually ANY page and quickly gain some parenting enlightenment. Anyone with a smart phone, tablet, or Kindle could open their digital copy and add a shiny new tool to their parenting toolbox while in a waiting room or while sitting  in the minivan during pick up time from soccer practice or dance class. This quick read is easy to digest and is like a breath of fresh parenting air. When you feel like you might just say something reactionary and dumb ineffective to your kids, you could cool down and learn something new in less than one-minute with this book nearby. Keep a copy in the bathroom and lock yourself in for your very own “time out” and effective communication refresher course!

My favorite part though? MacLaughlin has brilliantly added suggested reading materials to help families follow-up with the lessons they are learning together. I really love how this fits into our family’s unschooling mindset. Even learning how to be a better parent and more effective communicator can become a valuable lesson to be shared with our littlest citizens. I was excited to see that many of the books are already on our shelves or are easily accessible at the public library.

Of course parents will find the simple and effective tools in this book invaluable. But more importantly, this book should be standard reading material in every waiting room! Pediatricians, midwives, dentists, therapists, and any professionals who works with families needs to have this on their shelves. Grandparents, teachers, child care providers, and social workers should be familiar with the lessons contained within this book–give it to them as a gift! Anyone who wants to communicate with children (and heck, let’s face it—with ANY human) in an effective and meaningful way should be reading this book and revisiting it as needed. I will be suggesting this book to all of the families I work with and will encourage them to share it with the other adults who interact with their children on a regular basis. If we truly want children to listen to us, we MUST use the words that will get them to hear us. MacLaughlin teaches us how without clouding the issue with labels or judgement about what “kind” of parent we are. She simply shows us why the old words don’t work (and never have worked) and what we should say instead.

Final word: I wouldn’t tell parents to try it if I didn’t KNOW it worked.

Special Giveaway!
Please comment on this post with why you think this book would benefit you.Your comment enters you in the eBook Giveaway – to win an ebook copy ofWhat Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children in the format of your choice: PDF, epub, or Kindle format. Sarah will be giving away one copy at each blog stop and will announce it on the comments of this post within a few days. Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you in case you’re the winner!

Other stops and opportunities to win during this Blog Tour can be found on Sarah’s blog.

You can also enter at Sarah’s site for the Grand Prize Giveaway: a Kindle Touch. Winner will be announced at the end of the tour after July 15th.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post but did receive a complimentary book for the purpose of this review.  I only review products that I either have purchased myself and love or products I have been given a chance to review by the company that I believe are products my readers would benefit from.

6 Responses to “Book Review~ What NOT to Say: Tools For Talking To Young Children”

  1. Emi Fox says:

    The title of this book really caught my attention. I have been having trouble communicating with my 3 yo lately. It feels like she’s ignoring me, or if she does respond she’s defiant & demanding. She’s also been very hurtful to her 18 mo brother. I get more & more frustrated & have
    been slipping back into my bad habit of giving time outs & yelling. Not
    cool & certainly not helping, but making matters worse. I feel like everything coming out of my mouth is wrong & I need help with kind & encouraging words.

  2. Jasmine says:

    I would love to win this book to help me and my husband on our parenting journey!

  3. Leslie says:

    My baby is just starting the no phase and I would love some tools to help!

  4. Amy says:

    Ranging from an eight year old boy who doesn’t want to be away from to a fifteen year old girl who doesn’t want to be near me, this book could possibly help me find how to bring the balance back.

  5. justine says:

    Congrats, Emi! You are the winner of a digital copy of Sarah’s book, What NOT to Say: Tools For Talking With Young Children! I will PM you with the details!

  6. [...] family in the Erie PA area.” Her blog has a lot of resources for parents. You can read Justine’s kind review and my article there called Earrings, and Nail Polish, and Barrettes, Oh My! .  It is my [...]

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