Archive for the ‘AP Book Snapshots’ Category

Excellent Tools for Maintaining Consistent Respect for Our Children in Blackard’s “Say What You See”

“When we demonstrate love and respect, that’s what we get back(pg 5).


You know what’s so cool about this book? It IS a nutshell. It’s a little 50 page handbook that you can read in a half hour. I discovered the book at my daughter’s Montessori preschool.  They were hosting a Language of Listening: Say What You See workshop for parents and had a stack of books available for purchase.  I missed the workshop but was happy to purchase this $8 quick read that had the school’s recommendation.

Sandra Blackard put together her “Say What You See®” handbook and seminars based on communication concepts and techniques that she gleaned from play therapist, Dr. Garry L. Landreth, the author of Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship.

She presents the concepts and techniques in a simple, easy-to-retain way that every sleep-deprived, toddler-challenged parent will appreciate.

The premise of the book is centered around the idea that loving, respectful relationships flourish when we see the good in our children regardless of their behavior — a great reminder and often difficult to put in practice. When we focus on the healthy need every behavior demonstrates rather than the behavior itself, we can build a new level of understanding and a deeper connection with our children.

“Say What You See” is broken down into six basic communication concepts that allow us to redirect our impulse to judge or express anger and instead see the good in our children in all circumstances.

1) “Responding to the Good in Children”.  According to Blackard, when you say what you see, love and respect are automatic.

2)  “Listening to Understand”.  Everything children do and say is their way of communicating and they must continue to do so until they feel understood. You can listen to understand your child’s perspective by saying what you see and your understanding works like a fire extinguisher for their upset.

3)  “Demonstrating Understanding”. You can do this by giving children your full attention at their eye level and matching the child’s mood with words, actions and facial expressions.

4)  “Saying What You See.”   Making observational statements about what you see as they relate to what the child is doing, saying, feeling and thinking.

5) “Adding Strength”.  To acknowledge your child, Blackard suggests refraining from generic “good job” praise which only leads a child to develop a dependency on parental approval and instead help build your child’s sense of self by adding statements about your child’s strengths after you say what you see.

6) When setting boundaries or rules, you can encourage self-control and creative problem solving by adding what your child can do after you say what you see.


Posted in AP Book Snapshots, Empathetic Parenting, Say What You See | 4 Comments

Will You Play With Me? Lawrence Cohen Says “Yes” in Playful Parenting

Yea! Another Attachment Mama AP Book Snapshot courtesy of Sonya Fehér, the wise and endearing voice behind Mama True: parenting as practice.  Sonya is also a contributing writer and editor for API Speaks, a columnist for and co-leader of the South Austin Chapter of Attachment Parenting International.

My vision behind AP Book Snapshots is to create an AP book summary community in which multiple mothers or fathers contribute “what you need to know” quick-read support for parents like me who would like to learn new tips for gentle, empathetic parenting and struggle to find time to get through all the great books out there. This way you can get the immediate tips you’re seeking and read the rest of the book when time allows. If you are interested in being a contributing AP Book Snapshot writer, please drop me a line.

Thank you Sonya for your fantastic contribution!

“Playful Parenting is based on an attitude of respect toward children and an attitude of wonder toward their world” (232).


If you’re a parent who has ever asked yourself, “How in the world do I deal with this?” Playful Parenting has an answer:  play.  Play out strong emotions and power struggles. Play to establish connection and build confidence. Children explore the world through play. Whether explaining how to roughhouse or “follow the giggles,” Lawrence Cohen, a psychologist specializing in children’s play, play therapy, and parenting, offers ways to connect with kids in their world in order to help them be confident, cooperative, and connected.

Though the title might imply otherwise, Playful Parenting deals with the not-so-fun parts of parenting too:  tantrums, sibling rivalry, and household chores. Through examples from Cohen’s practice and extensive research, Playful Parenting is an approach that will impact how you talk and play with, discipline and interact with your children.

“Playful parenting is a delicate balance between following a child’s lead and stepping in as guide. On one side, we let children be completely in charge of the play, in order to nurture their creativity and sense of confidence. On the other side, we actively intervene to help children get unstuck from situations that are repetitive, boring or potentially harmful” (151). (more…)

Posted in AP Book Snapshots, Empathetic Parenting, Playful Parenting | 1 Comment

Lessons from Kohn’s Unconditional Parenting

“The way kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.” (Kohn, pg 169)


If you’re looking for a quick disciplinary fix for toddler tantrums or basic non-compliance, Alfie Kohn is not your man.  He’s not about quick – nor about fixing for that matter.  In fact, he challenges you to slow down and reconsider the entire Behaviorist discipline model that guides most families and schools today.

Rather than using rewards or punishments to cajole or direct behavior, Kohn suggests we put the relationship at the center of parenting to attend the larger aim of meeting a child’s basic need to feel loved unconditionally. Unconditional Parenting is a provocative read backed with a ton of research that ultimately pushes for a paradigm shift in the way we love our children and guide them to become moral people. (more…)

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Posted in AP Book Snapshots, Empathetic Parenting, Unconditional Parenting | 1 Comment


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