Faber and childhood friend Julie King were "guinea
pigs" for Faber’s mother’s parenting techniques
when they were growing up in Roslyn Heights — Adele
Faber is the author of the iconic parenting book
"How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So
Kids Will Talk," which has sold more than 3 million
copies in 30 countries since its initial publication in
Joanna Faber and King have penned their own parenting
book with new stories and strategies expanding on Adele
Faber’s methods and applying them specifically to
younger children, called "How to Talk So Little
Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life With Children
Ages 2-7" (Scribner, $26).
grew up in a family where, if we had a conflict, instead
of punishment, our parents listened to our feelings and
they expressed their feelings and we worked at solutions
to the problems," says Joanna Faber, now 56 and
with three adult children of her own. "I grew up
soaked in that kind of language, which is why I thought
having children would be a snap." She laughs.
"But it wasn’t. It was so hard.
nothing like the relentlessness of dealing with young
children 24 hours a day. I can’t say, ‘Oh, I’m so
good at this, this is so easy,’ but what I can say is,
‘I used these skills every day, all the time, and they
help me get through the day.’ "
and King’s mothers met when the girls were in
strollers in the 1960s, and the two moms became fast
friends. They would try out Faber’s developing
theories on their kids. "She and I were the guinea
pigs for this approach in our early lives," Julie
King, also 56, says of herself and Joanna. The younger
Faber and King also became friends and stayed friends
throughout the decades. The two have been carrying on
Adele Faber’s work through workshops and more in the
Hudson Valley area of New York (Faber) and San Francisco
(King), where they each now live. The elder Faber, now
89 and still living in Roslyn Heights, wrote the
introduction to the new book, published this month; she
says she’s "ecstatic" and "deeply
satisfied" that her daughter is continuing her
younger Faber and King say they noticed that most people
who take their workshops are people with young
schoolchildren and toddlers. So they decided to focus a
volume on those challenges, such as getting out in the
morning, hitting or grocery shopping.
also included a chapter to address children who are
"wired differently" — they have sensory
processing issues or are on the autism spectrum. One of
King’s children has Asperger syndrome.
arranged the book by common challenges," Faber
says. "You can go right to what beleaguers you at
that moment and just grab a treasure trove of stories.
You don’t have to read it in order."
often grasp the principle of empathy that dominates the
women’s work. But they want to know how to apply those
theories in the trenches or in the midst of a struggle,
Faber and King say. "But what would you actually
say?" King says they ask.
are three examples of the kind of advice in Faber and
King’s new book, addressing the struggle of getting
dressed in the morning:
wriggle, kids kick," Faber says. "One time my
little 2 1/2- year-old was sitting in a chair … he was
wriggling so much he hit his head on a chair and had to
go to the emergency room to get stitches." How
could she have handled it better? "The No. 1 go-to
method for little kids is to be playful," Faber
says. "If you make an inanimate object talk, you’re
golden." She suggests, for instance, taking a shoe
and acting like a ventriloquist. "Say, ‘I feel so
empty. Why won’t somebody stick a foot in me?’
"The child will likely laugh and join in the game.
to get a coat on? What a miserable way to start the
day," Faber says, for both parent and child.
Instead, put the child in charge, she says. Buy a big
working thermometer, and tape little pictures of each
type of garment — coat, sweatshirt, gloves, etc. —
next to the appropriate temperature range. Then ask the
child each morning: "Can you go look at the
thermometer and tell us what we have to wear this
completely flips the dynamic," Faber says.
letting the child pick his clothes at night for the next
day — and let him sleep in them. When he gets up, he’s
ready to go.
feel like the whole strength of the book is all these
examples," Faber says. Parents might say, "Oh,
that would work for us."