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Book Review: How to Talk So Teens Will Listen

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

Authors: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Talking to teens can be TOUGH! Getting teens to talk is even tougher! The eyerolls, the “I don’t know’s”, the one-word and monosyllabic answers…they all make it really hard to want to talk to your teen. I’m a big believer that the language we use can either help or hinder the responses we elicit; a small change in phrasing can make a big impact on the response. Integrating some techniques from this book can change the way you and your teen connect and communicate leading to a healthier and more open relationship.

What I like about this book:

I consider this book the basic handbook to communicating with teens. It’s a quick, easy read with tangible tools that are easy to integrate to improve communication with your teen. There are even some comic strips to help illustrate the techniques that are taught—who doesn’t love a comic strip?!? There are examples of how to talk about a wide variety of teen issues: friendships and cliques, problem solving, drugs, sex, curfew, and more. Many of the strategies presented are probably already familiar to most parents but are often forgotten. When you are able to regularly integrate the tools, you will probably find you’re getting more information without interrogating your child.

What I don’t like about this book:

It’s kind of cheesy, and that may be a turnoff for some. I happen to embrace the cheesy, but I can understand it can be off-putting. Initially published in 2005, it could use some updating. One topic not covered is technology and cell phones, but the skills discussed with other topics are easily transferrable to more modern topics. The examples in the book don’t get into defiance and require a fairly stable relationship to start with for the strategies to be successful. If your relationship with your teen is a bit rocky, these conversations may take a bit more effort.

Overall, this is a good beginning step for improving communication with your teen. The basic tenets of communication are covered and are usually a refresher for parents. It probably won’t be groundbreaking information, but a much-needed refresher for most parents. These authors have similar books for other ages: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk and How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen.

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