How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

How to talk—–

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (longtime bestseller updated in 2012)


What the Book is About:

Although the chosen demographic is parents and how they listen to and speak to their children, the communication skills taught in this book are universal. They can (and should be) applied in all relationships, even in business. One Amazon review said it succinctly while summarizing some of the key points the book teaches: “treat people with respect, do not deny their emotions, state the facts (only) and shut up and listen. This book also talks about giving praise and recognition, which makes it another reason to use it in real life, inside the family AND outside in the ‘real’ world.” The logical, reflective, respectful communication skills taught in this book really work.

The timeless communication skills taught in this book are contrasted quite appropriately for frustrated parents with nagging, yelling, criticizing, threatening, punishing, and judging. Instead, Faber and Mazlish teach parents to help children deal with their own feelings by asking questions, not telling the child what he or she thinks, feels, or what to do. They teach parents to engage the child in cooperation and to encourage autonomy and self-discovery.

Keith’s Reflections:

I loved this book, primarily because the lessons taught in it are so easy to understand and apply. If helped form my communication style with by sons. The communication (both listening and speaking) skills seemed obvious once I read them and saw them illustrated, but I have to admit, they were not all as obvious as they now appear, because I wasn’t doing many of them, and those I was attempting, I wasn’t doing particularly well.

This book helped me become a much more effective father because it trained and inspired me to become a better listener, and to choose my words more carefully, phrase my questions as genuine questions (not lessons I wanted to teach, commands I wanted to give, or criticisms I wanted to cast). I was amazed how much better my relationships with my children became when I became a better communicator. My kids actually wanted to listen to me and talk to me. I was sold.

That fact that this book is still a bestseller after more than thirty years in print tells you how good and timeless it’s teaching is. Many children raised on the techniques taught in this book are now parents themselves. This book is still a #1 Amazon bestseller with 394 reviews posted (304 of them 5-star!).

The primary critique of those reviews that were not stellar is that the book is very good, but not thorough enough. That is, it does not provide a comprehensive parenting philosophy, such as Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.). I would argue that it doesn’t present itself that way or intend to. The title suggests this is one essential and very helpful communication technique for parents. As such, it is remarkably clear, easy to understand and apply, and produces results. Who can ask for more than that?

For More Information:

This is a classic and longtime bestselling parenting book read by millions. It still tops the bestseller list in its genre even after over thirty years (first published in 1980). Faber and Mazlish wrote a sequel titled, How to Talk so Teens Will Listen & Listen so Teens will Talk (2006).


The Authors:

Adele Faber is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning expert on adult-child communication. She lectures nationwide, and her group workshop programs are used by thousands of groups throughout the world to improve communication between children and adults.  (bio found on

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, whose best-selling books include How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk and Siblings Without Rivalry, have developed “do-it-yourself” group workshop programs which have won the enthusiastic praise of parents and professionals worldwide. The author’s practical, down-to-earth methods give adults the know-how they need to create relationships with children of all ages — from tots to teens — that are less stressful and far more rewarding.  (Info found at

Target Audience:

All parents of children of all ages. The younger you begin, the better, but it’s never too late to learn and apply these communication skills.

How to talk


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Recent Posts

When Our Kids Amaze us

Have you had one of those moments when one of your kids amazed you with how grown up they seem, how articulate they are, or how mature they’ve become, as if you missed a few years of their development somehow? And there they are now, standing before you as a wonderful young man or woman. Where did the time go?

Who is this lovely creature?

I had that experience last May when my two oldest boys, JD and Cal, now sixteen and almost fifteen, went to their spring formal dressed in sport coats and ties. I looked at these two handsome young men in wonder. And truly they looked like men, and they carried themselves that way. I shook my head, and I felt so proud of them.


I had that wonder-filled experience again a few weeks ago when a friend of mine, Dr. Lori, suggested she interview my youngest son, Kai, about an experience he and I had with one of my painting customers (I’m bi-vocational). She heard Kai tell the story earlier and thought it would be great for other dads to hear. They had so much fun planning it together, and the idea quickly grew to include several other subjects, all related to The Great Dads Project.

I shot the video, and stood there with my mouth hanging open most of the time. I could hardly believe this was my little twelve-year-old son still in braces. His thoughts, ideas, suggestions, insights, humor, and his way with words floored me. Seriously, this kid could be an actor. He was so comfortable on camera, and carried himself with such poise, grace, and presence. I’m not kidding. I know, I’m his dad, I’m bound to think he’s great. But seriously, check this out for yourself, and see if you don’t think he’s as great as I do. Enjoy.


If you like this, leave a comment below, and share
a story about a time one of your kids amazed you.


To read more from Keith, take a look at his book:

Large Book with Outline


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