Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Children in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility

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9780743236249: Parent Talk: How to Talk to Your Children in Language That Builds Self-Esteem and Encourages Responsibility
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The right words for every situation.

Do you find yourself in those maddening situations where you sound like a broken record when talking to your child? Your preschooler won’t decide what she wants to wear, regardless of how many times you insist that she just choose; your struggling third grader says “I can't do math,” and your “Sure you can!” reassurance falls like a dead weight; your daughter smears on black eyeliner just before the bus arrives, and your daily protests are muted by hers.

What’s left to say? Lots.

In Parent Talk, a must-have for every parent with a preschool to high school-age child, Chick Moorman tells you what to say so that you can communicate more effectively—and peacefully—with your child in every circumstance, including:

-The morning mad dash to dress, eat, and leave the house on time
-The nightly struggle to focus on homework
-The endless car ride of exhaustion-induced whining
-The meltdown in the mall

For instance, Moorman’s antidote to the “I can’t” loop is “Act as if you’ve done this before.” With Moorman’s help, you’ll learn the words to use and the words to avoid to end power struggles and the fruitless conversation loops you’re stuck in.

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About the Author:

Chick Moorman is an inspirational speaker who has addressed more than 300,000 parents and educators. Director of the Institute for Personal Power, he lives in Merrill, Michigan.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

As parents, we hear "I can't" language all too often. It may occur as our child struggles with a long division assignment. It could take place as he attempts to master a new Nintendo game. Or it might be uttered as he works at reading directions for a recipe or instructions on how to build a model airplane. Whenever it occurs, "I can't" language signals an "I can't" attitude toward learning and achieving. Often accompanied by a whiny tone, "I can't" words are connected to "I can't" thinking, "I can't" believing, and "I can't" behaviors.

How do you respond when one of your children looks up from his study table and verbalizes some version of "I can't do it?" What do you say? If you're like many of the participants who attend my parent seminars, you reply with words similar to, "Sure you can, come on, try." Parents believe that if children would just try, they'd eventually prove to themselves that they can.

"Sure you can, come on, try" sounds like helpful parent talk. It is not because, most often it doesn't work. Typically, children respond to our efforts to get them to try with, "I'm trying" or "I tried already."

What children and parents don't realize is that trying doesn't work. Only doing works. Anyone busy trying is not busy doing. Trying is often an excuse for giving up.

A strategic piece of parent talk to replace the "Come on, try" language is "Act as if ... ." The next time one of your children delivers a whiny rendition of "I can't" smile, look him in the eyes, speak from your heart, and give him these three words: "Act as if."

"Billy, act as if you can." "Mary, I want you to act as if you already know how to do this." "Just act as if you've done this before, Shannon."

After you've delivered your new parent talk, step back and go to another room. Watch from a distance as your child begins doing. I predict that you'll be pleasantly surprised by the effect of "Act as if." It won't work every time with every child, but it could be the most important phrase you add to your parent talk repertoire this year.

With young children, "Pretend" or "Play like you can" work well. "Fake it" and "How could you do this if you did know?" are effective alternatives with older children.

Sometimes you say "Act as if" and your child starts doing the task incorrectly. Don't worry. You can correct incorrect doing, whereas it's impossible to correct someone who is not doing anything. "Act as if" gets children doing. You can adjust from there. Until they start doing, corrective guidance and feedback are impossible.

"Act as if" is more effective than "trying" because trying implies struggle, while "acting as if" is more playful and less serious. Some children won't try because if they don't succeed they consider themselves a failure. If they "pretend" or "act as if," no stigma or failure is attached.

Not sure "act as if" will work with your children? Not sure you can use if effectively? Why not "act as if" you can?

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