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Raise your hand if you, too, are the parents of picky eaters, tantrum-throwers, back-talkers and kids who worry about death, divorce and world events.
But if Grandma’s advice fails, try Betsy Brown Braun’s. A child development specialist and mother of triplets, Braun has been counseling families for 37 years on the above topics and more.
Now, in Just Tell Me What To Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents, she offers advice that may raise eyebrows among old-school moms and dads. For instance:
Do not demand eye contact from a child, Braun says. (He actually can hear you. Plus, the “look into my eyes” demand takes focus and may detract from the message you are trying to send.)
Don’t force children to share. (It might lead to resentment and cause them to hold on more tightly to the object.)
And implement a no-tattling rule, unless there’s an emergency. (Respond to regular snitching with a casual, “Oh,” and nothing else.)
THE VERDICT: If kids came with an instruction manual, it would be Just Tell Me What To Say. Deemed “the parenting guru” by The New York Times, Braun covers a lot of ground in 222 pages. Thankfully, she doesn’t come off as preachy here, just a wise mom who knows her stuff.
WHERE TO GET IT: Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents, by Betsy Brown Braun (Collins, $15.95), available wherever books are sold.
SURF’S UP: www.justtellmewhattosay.com
This review was originally published in various McClatchy publications and Web sites. Send product review requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.