Saturday, January 22, 2005

Talking with my son

Several years ago a friend recommended I read the book, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I kept on forgetting the name of the book and authors and never got around to reading it.

At book group the other evening another friend recommended Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by the same authors.

I was let loose at Barnes and Noble a few nights ago and ended up purchasing both of these books. I wish I had read the first one many years ago.

Earlier in the week I left the books on the dining room table, quite by accident. My son picked up the first one and wondered why I got it. Then several times afterwards he looked at me suspiciously when I spoke to him, asking, "Did they tell you to say that in the book?" I was never trying to follow the advice, in fact had not really read much of the book until two days ago.

Last night I did begin to use some techniques from the book:

Andrew had been banned from using his video games, television and computer for a minor infraction earlier in the evening. He was bored and plopped himself on the office floor, wrapped in blankets. I turned off the computer and looked at him and said that it seemed as if he was upset about something. He agreed with me and I used the "Oh", "Ummmmm" and active listening techniques. I said very little and he went on and on. After a while he remarked, "See, dad and I could never have a talk like this". I stupidly said, "I guess he should read the book," and Andrew seemed appalled that I was using the book techniques. I jokingly said, "You seem upset about that" and he said that it was not me and he likes me so quit using the book. He put the blanket over his head. So I did the only thing that made any sense. I got on the floor and got under the blanket with him. He asked me if the book also said to make a tent with your child and talk under the tent. I assured him the book didn't tell me to do that, or at least I had not gotten to it yet. We both had a good laugh and went on to have a nice talk about lots of things including the cool way your face looked all orangey red when you shone a flashlight in your mouth in the dark.

I do wish I had read this book when Michele told me about it in the last millennium. Perhaps it would have made a difference. I hope it is not too late now though.


Cedar Waxwing said...

Thanks for your reply and words of encouragement. I had not read the books in a week and last night I re-read bits of the first chapter, which gave me renewed interest in them. I had another wonderful talk with my son this way and he didn't even suspect it was "from that book".

Julie Kertesz - me - moi - jk said...

Children are not easy, but listening to them pays on the long and I also used to read a book when my son was teenager and left to do everything to me.

He did not like it either when he fould out, but some advises were good. Finally, we listen to our intuition.

It took a long time for him to grow up, but now, he is father of two and wonderfull worker in ergonomy (not far from your expertise as think) so courage !

Cedar Waxwing said...

Julie -

Thanks for your words of advice. I agree that I need to listen to my son and trust my intuition in the end.

Congratulations on raising a good son!