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Tell Adele and Elaine

adele faber and elaine mazlish | www.fabermazlish.comWe'd love to share with our readers any thoughts, observations or "success stories" you've had as a result of using our work.  You can email us at tell@fabermazlish.com or click here to fill out the form and send it off to us.

Here are some of the letter's we've received:

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A Hopeful New Outlook On Parenting

Dear Adele and Elaine,

Yesterday I came across your book, Liberated Parents, Liberated Children at my parents' home, somewhere in the back of the closet. I was sure they had never opened the cover because lazy slob was my permanent name growing up. After I began to read, I couldn't put it down. (Only once to get a box of tissues.) I can't describe how I felt. It was amazing how all the little words can have such big effects.

My daughter, who is eight years old now, is the most important thing in my life. I always promised myself that I would never tear her self-esteem as mine had been torn so long ago. Your book has opened my eyes and opened my heart to a different outlook on what a parent could be. I know it's only the beginning, and it's going to take a lot of effort on my part. With the help of your book, I have no doubt that I can do it.

I feel so wonderful inside about my new understanding that I have to thank you both.

Gina

 

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A Resentful Sibling

Here's a sum-up of an experience I had with my daughter, Kira, after reading Siblings Without Rivalry:

When her younger sister was born, Kira could not have been happier. A buoyant three-and-a-half-year-old, she insisted there was a sister in my belly and while I tried to warn her it might be a brother, she persisted and beamed quite proudly when her prediction came true. In general she adjusted very well to the newest member of our family.

So I was quite surprised during the winter break from school to hear my now five-year-old Kira say of her now two-and-a-half-year-old sister, "I wish Sophie had never been born." ... "You spend more time with her." ... "You don't spend enough time with me." ..."I don't love Sophie as much as I love you and Daddy."

At first I tried to counter these statements with the truth as I saw it. "You love Sophie, and if she wasn't here our lives would be a lot emptier."... "Well, you're in school a lot of the day so it must seem like I spend a lot of time with Sophie." ... "Love is not something we measure. We love everybody in our family because they are in our family." To me these seemed like very reasonable answers, but I was getting nowhere fast. Instead, tears, screaming, crying, and more anger were all I got.

Then I read your book, and instead of wrestling with her charges, I finally began just repeating back to Kira what she was trying to tell me. "Oh, I see, you wish you could spend all your time with Mommy and it could just be you and me"... "You are so angry at Sophie that you wish she wasn't even here."... "You really love Mommy and Daddy."

After a lot of holding and kissing and snuggling, the most amazing thing happened. It stopped. It's been weeks since Kira complained about her sister - other than a few "Get out of my stuff" instances. In fact, the two of them have behaved very lovingly toward one another. I don't believe I've solved the problem forever, but I do feel I'm better armed the next time it rears its ugly head.

Many thanks for your help!

Name withheld

 

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Avoiding Tantrums

Dear Adele and Elaine

I was so lucky to learn of your book while my daughter (now two- years- old) was still a newborn. After reading it I immediately put the skills in your book into practice.

The other night I was struck by the realization of how often we've avoided tantrums in our home by following your advice. Of particular use has been the idea that when you can't actually give your child what she wants, you can give her wishes in fantasy. Here are a few examples from our home:

Kathryn wants cookies before dinner. I tell her that we can have real cookies after dinner, but we can have pretend cookies now. Then I start pretending to eat a bunch of yummy cookies. She joins in and forgets all about the tantrum she was about to throw.

Driving down the road, I point out to Kathryn a flock of geese that are walking around. As we drive off, she adamantly demands "more geese!" I tell her that we'll have to look out the window for more and ask her to tell me if she sees any. She spends the rest of the ride happily looking for geese, pointing out some imaginary ones and other imaginary animals.

Kathryn wants me to sing one more song before bed. I tell her that it's time to sleep, but if she closes her eyes and is quiet, she can hear the song in her head. She's asleep two minutes later.

Again I just wanted to thank you. I know the information presented in your book will continue to serve our family well over the years.

Sincerely,
Karen S.

 

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Getting Out In Time For School

Dear Adele and Elaine,

I thought you'd like to hear the story of how Shoe Music saved my mornings.

I was at my wits end every morning at 8:30 trying to get three kids out the door to go to school. No one had their shoes on and no one even knew where they had left them.

Finally, a solution that actually worked! Our kitchen clock has a simple alarm that plays a one-minute tune. I set it for 8:20 AM and named it Shoe Music. I told the children, ages 8,5 and 2, that the music meant it's time to stop what you're doing, find your shoes, put them on, and start moving towards the door. Most mornings we are now out stress-free and also in a good mood, since the music is so much nicer than all my urgings. This has worked so well for us. Even our two-year-old will help by bringing our son's shoes to him when he hears the music.

It's been four months now and our kids still like it. I know because the clock battery ran out last week and I improvised with a buzzer type alarm, and it didn't really get them moving.

June Schechner

 

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You Saved My Life

Dear Adele and Elaine,

As a mother of a challenging three year old I had almost given up on what I thought was' the 'soft' option my partner uses. I was just exhausted of playing games with no results and ending up with Kyle getting his own way. I was resorting to threats, punishments and even physical retaliation that my parents used, even though it was against my better instincts. Of course it was giving short term results but wasn't working in the long term and I was getting tired and frustrated and not looking forward to the long future of child rearing through infants, juniors and the dreaded teenage years.

Then a friend of mine lent me your book, and I have to say I'd had it with books (and there have been lots of them) and advice (and there has been lots of it), but I had a quick flick through, tried one of the techniques with a half hearted attitude and was amazed at the instant results I got. That was a week ago and I have since read it cover to cover (I could not put it down), bought it myself so I can use it as a reference and improved my relationship not only with my son but with my partner, my parents, my siblings - in fact everyone I come in contact with. In just a week I am less tired, everyone is happier and I am now actually looking forward to challenges ahead. I just had to get in touch and thank you as I feel like you have saved my life. Although that sounds dramatic, as a working mum, you have saved me time, energy and heartache which amounts to the same thing.

Hayley Madden
A Mum in the UK

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Notes to a Two Year Old

People are amazed to hear that the writing notes technique has worked wonders with my youngest, Jessica, starting when she was only 2 years old.

She was exactly 2 years 4 months when she started climbing out of her crib and visiting me in the wee hours of the morning! I would tell her that it was dark and time to sleep, but sure enough, night after night this new habit continued. So I must admit, even I was skeptical when I made her a sign and hung it on her crib:

Dear Jessica,
If it's still dark
please stay in bed,
'cause Mommy is
a sleepyhead!
Love, Mommy

Every night before bedtime, I would read it to her and she would giggle. Then I'd turn out the lights and say goodnight...And guess what?! No more night time visits! Hooray!!

To further explain how well the note technique works with her, let me digress for a moment... Jessica is such an easy going, pleasant child, who rarely whines, complains, or throws tantrums, and I attribute this to the fact that she has been raised on your books. I don't think I ever really raised my voice to her during her first 2 1/2 years of life!!! And then a couple of weeks ago, I was having a really rough week - a friend's husband had just lost his battle with cancer, my 7-year-old was having some school troubles, and I was worried about a few other trivial things. And I don't remember what Jessica did, but I do remember yelling at her...the first time that I ever really yelled at her. Her eyes got so big, and then she burst into tears.

So you think that it would've stopped me from yelling at her again, but later that evening she was pushing buttons on our new Ionic Breeze air purifier. And I yelled at her again. She looked up at me with those same, big, sad eyes and cried, "Mommy, please write me a note."

Of course, I felt awful, but I apologized to Jessica and forgave myself, and I then wrote a note for the Ionic Breeze. It said:

"Hands off! Do not touch! Thank you, thank you, very much!"

She hasn't touched it since.

Amy Leach

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A Weekend Dad

Dear Adele,

I read how to talk a couple of years ago but never put any strategies in place. I reread them this year, when my kids stayed with me for long periods in the summer holidays and saw great results. It has started to transform my relationship with the kids, always difficult post divorce, and is helping them to see themselves in a different role, minimize conflict and work as a team to treat each other with respect. I thought that I could only have a small impact on them as a weekend dad, but I am finding that with determination and use of the materials (respect for feelings, autonomy etc) I am helping them in their struggle to become independent and autonomous.

We have agreed some family values (not rules), relating to respect, support etc. I typed them up and had them laminated at work, to give them extra importance. They are on display prominently, and I often hear my daughter say "in this family we don't ......"

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Charlie Warshawski

OUR FAMILY VALUES

  • We respect each other’s feelings
  • We play safely
  • We look out for each other
  • We support and encourage each other
  • We express our angry feelings without violence or swearing
  • We respect each other’s property
  • We respect each other’s privacy
  • We are honest with each other
  • We are a team

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A Frightened Toddler

Dear Adele and Elaine.

I would like to share the following personal experience with you.

Our son, Ethan, is two years old. A little while back a technician came to repair our house alarm. He accidentally set the alarm off, which makes an awfully loud noise in the house, and little Ethan got the absolute fright of his life. It traumatized him to such an extent that he would no longer go to sleep at night in his own room as he always did before. Either myself or my wife would have to pat him to sleep on our bed and then put him in his room. Also, he would no longer play on his own for a little while at a time, as he used to, and he refused to go anywhere in the house unescorted. This was driving us insane.

On many occasions during the day he would tell us the alarm story in his own way (he called the alarm the "boep"). Every time he told us about the "boep," we would, thinking we were doing the right thing, just brush it off and say things like "no, the boep is gone" or "I don't want to hear about the boep."

After about a week of this I went to bed and read the first chapter of your book, "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk." It blew my mind that we were doing the absolute wrong thing with Ethan. The next day I sprang into action and every time Ethan told his "boep" story, I said things like "It made you scared, hey?" or "Daddy also got
a big fright when that happened," or "I understand that it made you afraid," etc..., basically acknowledging and validating his feelings as best as I could.

Well, the change in him was almost instantaneous and within another two or three days, things were completely back to normal. Thank you very much!

Kindest Regards,

Richard Botha
Johannesburg, South Africa

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