Don’t be deceived. Some of this stuff is “old” but it’s foundational, intuitive to learn, simple (although not always easy without help) to implement.
These tools are useful if you’re interested in improving the quality of your relationship with your children so that your children:
- are more likely to be engaged and cooperative with limits or routines
- feel safer with you even when you’re upset or angry
- experience a greater sense of confidence
- develop critical problem solving, communication and assertiveness skills
There are a lot of other positive benefits I’ve witnessed from using these tools, too. These are just the ones I’ve seen repeatedly.
They aren’t a one-size fits all solution for everything that can be difficult in relationships with children, but they give you a good leg up on being able to problem-solve other issues more effectively.
I’ve used materials generated from these resources in hundreds of trainings for parents. I’ve seen these tools that work in practice for parents who can’t read and write to parents who have a PhD.
In short, you can learn and put these skills to work fairly quickly with some help.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Farber and Elaine Mazlish
This is a book I’ve used to train parents and have found useful in understanding how to listen in ways that invite kids to keep wanting to talk with you, and talking with them in ways that help them learn valuable skills (problem solving, assertiveness, self-reflection, etc.).
It’s a good place to start because the cartoons depict real-life kinds of situations (and potential ways of handling them) that you can immediately relate to experiencing.
These skills are critical for the development of self-worth and self-competence, and self-confidence. They’re also critical for getting “rebellious” or “resistant” children to be more self-reflective, more engaged, and more cooperative.
Parent, Adult, Child (Transactional Analysis Model)
This model provides a clear and simple way to how to “assess” the communication exchanges between you and your child (or partner or employee or supervisor…or…).
It can help you get very specific about what went well and what went awry–and know why it went well or didn’t hit the mark you’d intended, so you can change what you’re doing to have better outcomes.
This is SO incredibly important!
This model gives you concrete ways to know what you’re aiming to do differently when you “course-correct” during exchanges with your children that are going poorly.
Videos with Eric Berne, MD explaining Parent, Adult, Child model (about 15 minutes each):
- Transactional Analysis by Eric Berne, MD
- Games People Play by Eric Berne, MD
Parent Effectiveness Training (PET) by Dr. Thomas Gordon
This book focuses on the communication tools you need for how to “course correct” during exchanges that are going poorly with your children.
It gets granular on the impact of “you” messages vs. “I” messages and listening skills and how you can start to shift your relationship with your children.
It’s powerful stuff that anyone can learn and get better at doing. It’s not about being perfect (in fact, that would be counter-productive…but that’s a different post).
Attachment: 0-5 Yrs Focus
Circle of Security is one of the simplest and most intuitive ways I’ve see to think about, understand, and learn how to practice attachment behaviors with infants and very young children.