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How to Talk so Kids will Listen++ #13

++Upcoming Events

Quote of the Week

“An interested observer who overhears a conversation between a parent and a child will note with surprise how little each listens to the other. The conversation sounds like two monologues, one consisting of criticism and instructions, the other of denials and pleading. The tragedy of such communication lies not in the lack of love, but in the lack of respect; not in the lack of intelligence, but in the lack of skill.” —Haim Ginott, Between Parent and Child

Hi, this is the GenWise team– we bring out this newsletter to help parents and educators to complement the work of formal schools and associated systems. We can help our children thrive in these complex times only by exchanging ideas and insights and collaborating on this.

In this week’s main post ‘How to talk so kids will listen’, we look at GenWise mentor, Sowmya’s experience in applying the wisdom of this book in working with her children.

You are invited to be an early member and beta-tester of the GenWise Club (ages 13-90), a community of interested students, parents, and educators. Check out the upcoming events section on how to join the club. It is open to all in the current beta phase. 

Join this conversation on learning, by commenting on our posts, or joining our club community for more regular and closer interactions.


How to Talk so Kids will Listen

Upcoming Courses @GenWise

Upcoming Events (Free & Paid)

How to Talk so Kids will Listen

This post is written by GenWise mentor, Sowmya Jatesan, who is also a mother of 2 children. Her children were 8 and 3 years old, when she first came across the book this post is about. Her children are now 21 and 16…so she’s been applying these techniques for 13 years now!

“How to Talk So kids Will Listen  & Listen So kids Will Talk,” by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish – This is one book all parents could use

I love talking to babies and toddlers; their full body response to attentive chatter is very rewarding.

But to paraphrase Ogden Nash

The one problem with every talkative toddler is that 

He becomes a Teenager that just doesn’t want to chat.

We don’t realise how much of our clout as parents is based on how and when we talk to our children. And how they talk to us. Until they don’t.

I will heartily recommend this book “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen  & Listen So Kids Will Talk” to anybody who relates to that last sentiment!  This was the first of a series of books by the same authors, who trained with Dr. Haim Ginott, a school teacher, a child psychologist and psychotherapist and a parent educator, and then conducted numerous parent workshops. All their books share the same basics, but each is adapted to a different theme (teens, students, siblings for example.) 

This book doesn’t really deal with any theoretical aspects of why things are this way or that. At its core, it is a practical tool kit with a set of specific actionables that you can use right away.

At first I just followed the steps verbatim; in fact at one point, I had the list of actionables stuck to the inside of my wardrobe – many a time I have dashed to look at the right thing to say!  As you can imagine, at first it felt very fake and theatrical – until I saw the effect it had on the conversation every single time!! It was magical! Over time, this becomes second nature.

Use the techniques suggested for just a week and you will see the one reason why this book has been translated into thirty languages and has sold three million copies. 

It works. 

Take a look at an excerpt from one of their books ‘How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk’:

While the whole book is valuable, the biggest takeaway for me was the opening chapter on Dealing with Emotions. More often than not, a parent is the one who has to deal with the emotional tornado that Teenage can be! And teenagers in particular seem to get completely stuck at the bottom of a deep, dark hole when  they are in the grip of a strong emotion.

In theory, the thing to do is to stay detached and defuse the intensity of the emotion and empower the teen to be able to take half a step back. This is very easy to say but how is one to do it? 

That’s where the book scores. It gives you exact words to use and stop feeling helpless or frustrated and become both empathetic and effective at once. The icing on the cake is the use of comic strips as illustrations – it serves to make the book very relatable and accessible.

Check out the books from Faber and Mazlish here. And watch below their guru, Dr. Haim Ginott speak about the parent’s ‘native tongue of rejection’ with children and what language to replace it with.

Upcoming Courses @GenWise

Details of upcoming GenWise courses are shared below. Early registrations can avail an early bird discount.

Upcoming Events

Events @GenWise Club Lounge

‘Psychology of Money’ Book Discussions- Session#3- Sun, Jul 4, 3 PM

The facilitator, Vishwesh (a GenWise parent) is covering one chapter every week. The upcoming discussion is on chapter 3 (Never Enough) which looks at why no amount of money is every enough for some people and whether that’s a good thing.

The previous discussion on Chapter 2 ‘Luck and Risk’ was highly engaging. How Bill Gates got rich, and the role of luck in his story, was discussed. The key takeaway was that extreme events (exceptional good luck or bad luck) can mislead us, and it is wise to stick to ‘broader patterns’ in planning how we approach our life and business.

How do I join the GenWise Club?

Check out this link for more about the club. To join-

Get an account for you and/ or your child on Discord

Use this invite (valid till July 8, 2021) to join the GenWise server. If the link doesn’t work, please send a whatsapp message to Vishnu on 9342247734 to receive the latest invite link. (Or email

Direct Message (DM) Vishnu with your full name and details (child/ parent, grade, school) once you slide into The GenWise Club!

External Events

Mutations (Chai and Why series targeted at children) on Sunday, July 4, 2021 at 11 AM by the cool TIFR outreach team. Zoom, YouTube & FBLive links available here. (Free)

The session write-up says, “From antibiotic-resistant bacteria, to adult humans being able to drink milk, the effects of mutations are everywhere. What causes mutations? Why are they relevant? In this session we will find out about mutations and how we detect them. For this, we will also do some fun experiments (some of which you can do at home)! We’ll start from isolating DNA, the genetic material of a cell, and find out how mutations affects a cell’s functional units called proteins, as we try and understand the importance of mutations why they are one of the fundamental drivers of evolution.”

Camp HSS from Jul 30- Aug 1,2021 is for students in grades 8-12 and is brought to us by the fantastic folks at IIT Gandhinagar (coordinated by Jaison Manjaly with faculty from Univ of Colorado, Yale, IIT Delhi etc.). Check out this page for details and to register. (Free)

The camp write-up is very exciting- “If whales and elephants have bigger brains than humans, why aren’t they smarter? Why do you love the taste of a particular chocolate brand and the sight of a specific colour? What is the possible setting in which a 75 out of 100 in an exam may feel better than a 90? What are the probable thoughts going on in the mind of a batsman when he has to score a 6 in the last ball to win the match? ……..Discover the intricacies of your gender, body, creativity, origins of thinking, and several other aspects of human intellectual and social life through various interactive sessions and talks.”

The Veritasium Science Communication Contest- We love the videos Veritasium puts out! If creating a science communication video excites you, take part in this contest and have fun. You may win up to US$ 5000 too! The sooner you upload your video to YouTube, the better your chances are…though the deadline is Aug 31, 2021 .


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