What Do You Say?: How to Talk with Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance, and a Happy Home

Ned Johnson and William Stixrud. Viking, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-984880-36-9
Neuropsychologist Stixrud and test prep tutor Johnson team up again (after The Self-Driven Child) for this on-target guide to talking to children. “Focusing on effective communication with our kids is a powerful way to grow our relationship with them,” they write, and across nine chapters make a convincing case that, while talking with kids can be hard, doing so is key to their well-being. The authors cover such topics as cultivating closeness (one-on-one time is crucial) and setting healthy expectations (pushing kids hard doesn’t always work). There’s guidance, for example, on how to “parent as consultant,” a low-emotion way to help kids reach goals they set for themselves, and Johnson and Stixrud show readers how to foster in kids an “intrinsic motivation,” or behavior driven by curiosity and desire rather than reward and punishment. On the thorny issue of limiting screen time, they write: “Your job is not to control your kids, but to help them learn to control themselves.” The authors are steadily encouraging: “Isn’t this what we want our parenting to do—to help kids learn to run their own lives?” Full of easy-to-implement tips, this is a resource parents will return to. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/15/2021
Release date: 08/17/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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