Saturday, October 08, 2005

Good book for parents: "Conversationally Speaking" by Alan Garner

I picked up this book for a job reason and ended up finding many good advices in this book applicable to communication with my two teen boys.

Two chapters are especially worth mentioning -- Chapter two, Delivering Honest Positives and Chapter 10, Requesting Change.

Many parents complaint to me that their children do not listen to them. I found it is largely due to parents tend to nag on the behaviors that they don't like. I also do that from time to time and have learned my lessons repeatedly on how unpleasant and ineffective the experiences can be. Fortunately, asking kids to change is possible if you follow these simple rules.

One of the most important points is the three R's (Reinforced Responses Recurs), i.e.
Behavior -> Rewarded -> Increases
Behavior -> Ignored -> Decreases

I was fortunate to learned this principle when my kids were very young and they have grown up to be well-behaved individuals. In short, this really works!

However, it is still possible to have problems among us. For instance, I dislike my kids doing homework while talking with their friends through instant messaging at the same time. Chapter 10 in the book talks about how to identify who owns the problem. According to this book, a problem is yours whenever you are the person whose needs are not being met. My kids do not listen simply because they have their way of thinking and doing. In this case, I own the problem for I don't like what I see, but it does not mean they ought to change to meet my needs. Telling myself to focus on something else (reading books or watching TV) has been a good way to reduce tension among us.

This is one of those books very practical to parenting but it is not in the parenting books section. I encourage you to read this book and comment on what you think.

1 comment:

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