Most of us parents would be happy to change the way we talk to our kids if we thought saying something a different way would yield a better result.
Enter a new book called “Say This, Not That: A Foolproof Guide to Interpersonal Communication” by psychotherapist Carl Alasko (Tarcher/Penguin, $15.95) that aims to show us how to do just that.
The book isn’t a parenting tome; it deals with all kinds of interpersonal situations. But Part Three of the book focuses on parenting. For instance, Alasko gives parents a script on how to respond when a child bursts into attention-seeking tears or what to do when your tween walks in the door from school and starts immediately playing video games.
On that latter scene: Don’t say this: “I’ve told you a thousand times to put your stuff away before using the computer! Why are you so stubborn [lazy, difficult, stupid]?”
Instead, say this: “Justin, please follow the rules about putting your stuff away before doing anything else.”
Of course, after you’ve tried it Alasko’s way a few dozen times and get the response of “OK, I will, five minutes” (not that I’m talking from personal experience, OK, yes, I am), you may revert to your former script.
But it’s worth a try.