Ah, my first foray into parenting books. And I'm so glad I took the plunge. Upon learning that our second baby is due in July, a friend recommended a sister-book by the same authors about sibling rivalry, and I decided to pick up both. And I'm so glad I did. How to Talk... is relevant not only to parents hoping to communicate well with their children, but people wanting to communicate well with anyone in their lives. The basic tenets of their philosophy is to learn how to express anger and frustration without being hurtful, setting realistic limits while not having your children hate you, resolving conflicts peacefully, and learning how to cope with your children's negative feelings. The fact is - these are skills everyone could use learning, whether you're dealing with children OR adults. And the amusing thing is, not only have I started using some of the skills with Tessa, but I've also found myself using them at work during difficult meetings or instances where resolution was required but some people were acting 'childlike'.
To put some learning into real terms, here's an example of how the book helped: Tessa and I were in her room. She wanted a puzzle that was underneath a book, so she took the book and flung it onto the floor, thereby giving her access to the puzzle. "Tessa, please pick the book up," I asked after ducking out of the way of the oncoming book. "No," she said looking straight at me. Hmmmm...how to handle this? So I reached into my new bag of tricks - instead of asking her again and pushing the point, I switched tactics to describe the situation and how it could be resolved. "Tessa, books don't belong on the floor, they belong on your shelf," I said. And without fanfare or complaint, she simply reached down, picked up the book, and put it on her shelf. Voila! Conflict averted; lesson learned. I've used this approach countless times since: "Tessa, the water has completely drained in your tub and you're still sitting in it," and out she gets. "Tessa, you have a toothbrush in your hand and not in your mouth," and into the mouth it goes.
This is not to say that putting all of the tips into practice is easy. It's not. And I find myself having to peek at the book often. But I'll take that any day over tantrums and pulling my hair out (which will, of course, still happen).
MY RATING: 9/10 (only because some of the drawings are a little gay)