Review: How to talk…

“I was a wonderful parent before I had children. I was an expert on why everyone else was having problems with theirs. Then I had three of my own…” (Elaine Mazlish)


Even here in the outermost mountains of Morocco, I challenge quiet normal parenting problems.
Being a mother is the hardest and most demanding job ever. Being loving and patient is not always easy, especially when you are having two very lively kids, a lot of housework to be done, a freelance job and a husband often working far away…
I read some books about parenting and even saw “Super Nanny” once. But I’ve never found a real helpful practical guide. I already tried different upbringing methods, and sometimes, very rarely, I was so helpless that I yelled at and even clapped my children. I hated it to do and I hated myself for becoming so angry, astafirghullah.

This morning I finished the most helpful book about parenting I’ve ever read:
“How to talk so kids will listen; and listen so kids will talk” from Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish,
Piccadilly Press, ISBN 978 1 85340 705 5.

Oh, what a great book it is! I even had tears in my eyes while reading it. It is so touching, so powerful, full of good advice and just so true!
In the essence it is all about a respectful living: being respectful towards your children and towards yourself. It shows new but very logical ways on how to solve communication problems, how to cope with negative and angry feelings, how to engage cooperation, how to use alternatives to punishment, how to praise in a favourable way and how to resolve family conflicts peacefully.
While reading this book the last weeks my view became clearer and I immediately tried to implement some of the new learned methods in our daily life. And see, it works, masha’allah!
Little by little I see changes in my behaviour and in that of my little ones. I feel as if I am able now to respect their feelings and mine much better, and I see that they understand themselves deeper, even if the feelings are about anger and frustration.
Lot of the ideas written in this book sound to me as if they were coming right out of my heart; they seem familiar and appropriate, but I’ve never found the words nor did I’ve had the knowledge to describe them so clearly. I begin to understand much more about my own struggle and I realize now that even though I am a parent myself, part of me is still the little child suffering from old wounds. BUT I also got the tools now on how to break and not to repeat the upbringing of my own childhood which was a lot about labelling and putting the child in a role.
The last weeks I learned, and still try to learn, how to completely accept my children as they are – FULLY and with all their positive AND negative feelings, with all their lovely AND difficult characteristics, with all things I like AND dislike about them. I do not want to try to make them easier to handle just because it would be easier for me.
I wish not only to be a loving mother, but also to be a guide, a rock, a mentor, a friend and a good example for them. I want to totally accept their own and unique personalities, trying to find ways how to cooperate and communicate peacefully with them, so they will always feel deeply loved and accepted as they are, incha’allah. I also learned how to set clear limits and still maintain their goodwill.
I got all these tools while reading the book and I made so many notes, I wrote down ideas for new skills and I figured out a respectful behaviour for difficult situations. In the book itself you find examples to exercise the new learned skills, you find funny cartoons and quick reminders in conclusion. That helps so much to practice the given advices and to reflect on their meaning.

I still struggle often with my old behaviour of getting loud and commanding, especially when I am tired or too busy with other stuff. But I know much better now how to deal with difficult feelings and situations and how to communicate respectfully with my children.
And even when a situation went badly I know now how to turn it towards the better afterwards, because I know now that it is never too late: “To learn a new language is not easy. For one thing you will always speak with an accent… but for your children it will be their native tongue!” (Dr. Haim Ginott)

So I pray to my Lord that He will give me the patience and power to implement these new learned skills completely into our life, that they become natural for me and normal for my children, I pray that they will become content respectful people who can benefit of and pass these skills on to further generations.
May Allah accept my best intentions for His sake and for the best for my kids. Ameen.

I wrote this article about two years ago on my old blog, but I still benefit from the book and what I wrote is still up to date. Just recently I took the book again to re-read some things. I love it and I thought you might too…

happy weekend friends!


9 thoughts on “Review: How to talk…

  1. Ja, am respektvollen Umgang miteinander ist so vieles, fast alles, gelegen! Würden sich alle Menschen um Respekt für einander bemühen – der Weltfriede könnte (mit Hilfe von oben) sogar möglich werden.
    Es liegt ja schon eine grosse Hoffnung darin, dass wir uns alle in unserer eigenen kleinen Welt für Verständnis, Respekt und Frieden einsetzen…
    Nur, damit es wieder einmal gesagt ist: Ich freue mich über die Ernsthaftigkeit, mit der du deinen sicher nicht immer einfachen Weg gehst!

  2. Liebe Itto,
    ich habe das Wochenende fast allein mit meinem Sohn verbracht und bin am Freitagabend auf ein Buch gestoßen, das den Titel “jedes Kind kann Regeln lernen” trägt. Dort werden wahrscheinlich ähnlich wie in Deinem Buch (das ich mir bestellen werde), Wege aufgezeigt, aus dem verhängnisvollen Kreislauf von dem Kampf um Aufmerksamkeit und meiner (wütenden) Reaktion darauf. Es werden ganz konkrete Alternativen zu Schreien und Vorhaltungen machen aufgezeigt und ich habe nun versucht, das Wochenende nach den neuen Regeln zu gestalten. Und ich kann auch schon kleine Erfolge nachweisen: Junis fiel in den Sand und hat die Angewohnheit, liege zu bleiben und nach mir zu rufen. Ich soll ihm aufhelfen. Ich haber ihm gesagt, dass er alleine aufstehen kann und soll. Er hat sich dazu entschieden, zehn Minuten liegen zu bleiben und zu weinen. Ich blieb in der Nähe, habe ihm aber nicht aufgeholfen. Nach zehn Minuten kam ein Hubschrauber, denn er anschauen wollte. Er ist also aufgestanden und zu mir gelaufen. Ich war stolz darauf Konsequent geblieben zu sein. Gestern ist er wieder hingefallen und …sofort aufgestanden!
    Im Moment gibt es viele Situationen, die ich entschärfen und deren Ausgang ich ändern möchte. Ich bin froh, dass ich das Buch hatte und ich nun einige “Rezepte” habe.
    Ich habe gemerkt, dass es uns beiden gut tut und ich die schönen Momente mit ihm noch mehr genießen kann.

    Liebste Grüße

  3. MashAllah, my copy is on the way. I ordered it a few days ago. I was planning to get some literature on this topic for a long time and after reading your review I had no doubt this book was it. JazakAllah khair dear Itto.

  4. Have reserved a copy at the pubic library. Will let you know after I read it. Thanks for the helpful link dear Itto:)

  5. I’ve got the sibling rivalry book by the same authors aswell, it’s really good. putting things into practice is another matter, as old habits die hard, but we can but try inshaAllah

  6. AA Itto,

    I just started taking a “How to Talk…” workshop given by a sister in my community!!!!!! So surprised to see you are reading the same book.
    The workshop is 6 weeks and each session we discuss one objective and then work on that for the next week and discuss it following week. Insha’allah I hope to learn all the positive parenting skills and then pass the info on to other sisters. It’s really a lot of fun to learn the skills with other sisters. Here’s the link for workshop info if anyone is interested

  7. Assalamu alaykum. InshaAllah all is well. Have you ever heard of the parenting course is offering? I’m taking it right now and loving it, Alhamdulillah. It’s giving me a clear picture of how to raise my children in the best islamic way. Even how to control anger and how to discipline. I know you’ll love it too, insha’Allah. Just wanted to share. Wassalam.

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