The key to communicating with your children may be understanding what not to say. WSJ's Jennifer Lehr and Lunch Break's Tanya Rivero discuss ways parents can speak that helps them understand their children's feelings rather than demanding compliance.

"Underlying her friendly, enjoyable critique of certain phrases parents use reflexively—the kind that lead us to wonder 'How did my mother get in my larynx?'—Lehr offers A SUBSTANTIVE AND SUBVERSIVE MESSAGE OF RESPECT FOR KIDS. The chapter about time-outs is worth the price of the book by itself, but I highly recommend you read the whole thing."

          — Alfie Kohn, author of Unconditional Parenting and The Myth of the Spoiled Child

  CBS Chicago    A book called “Parent Speak” questions the well-worn phrases that parents say to their kids.' CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez gets the author’s take on what you should be saying instead.

CBS Chicago   A book called “Parent Speak” questions the well-worn phrases that parents say to their kids.' CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez gets the author’s take on what you should be saying instead.

“I'm obsessed with this BRILLIANT GEM OF A BOOK. I'm sharing it with my spouse, in-laws, extended family and babysitters as a way to start discussions about when to ask for hugs, whether 'please' and 'thank you' are always necessary, and that awful thing that constantly comes out of my mouth--'be careful!' What I love about Jennifer is that she deals out the most incisive, specific, modern advice but then shares honest, authentic, and even awful true stories about her own mistakes. IT'S LIKE GETTING ON THE PHONE WITH THE BEST EXPERT AND YOUR BEST FRIEND ALL AT ONCE.
          Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent

"Parentspeak is the antidote to all those words all those words we find ourselves to our children automatically, because everyone else says them: 'Good job!'... 'Say you're sorry.'...'Don't cry. You're okay.'...'Where's my kiss?' Lehr holds these and other thoughtless responses up to the light where we suddenly see through them. I love Lehr's clarity, her respect for children, and her ability to make it fun for readers as they have their worldview dismantled and renovated. Important for all parents; I will be recommending it to everyone."
     —Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting

   Fatherly    Doling out orders makes your self-respecting kid push back, so Jennifer Lehr, author of   Parent Speak: What’s Wrong With How We Speak To Our Children — And What To Say Instead  , says try a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Doling out orders makes your self-respecting kid push back, so Jennifer Lehr, author of Parent Speak: What’s Wrong With How We Speak To Our Children — And What To Say Instead, says try a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

"FUNNY, RELATABLE AND PACKED WITH WISDOM, Parentspeak encourages parents to proceed with compassion and meet kids where they are: in the thick of childhood. LEHR HAS A PROFOUND UNDERSTANDING OF HOW LANGUAGE IMPACTS CHILDREN and provides strategies to help parents do what they often ask of their own choose your words carefully."
          —Katie Hurley, LCSW, author of The Happy Kid Handbook

"I love  ParentSpeak: What's Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children   And What to Say Instead  for many reasons, but the two that stand out are: it’s readable – you can pick it up and easily jump in anywhere – and the insights about how we speak to our children are both obvious and profound. I tend to be drawn to ideas that have an everydayness aspect to them, and Jennifer delivers."
      — Paul Axtell, author of Ten Powerful things to Say to Your Kids

"SMART, AUDACIOUS, AND OFTEN HILARIOUS. Takes everything you thought you knew about parenting and turns it on its ear."  
          —Jennifer Jason Leigh, actress, LBJ


“If the phrase "Good job, buddy!" has ever made you cringe and you're not sure why (except that you just heard it 6,873 times on the playground, including 146 times coming from your own mouth), this book is for you. Jennifer Lehr’s serious, skeptical look at why we sound so patronizing, controlling, and fake nice when we talk to our kids may change not only the way you talk to yours, but even the way you bring them up. Language is power, and THIS POWERFUL BOOK BLOWS MY MIND—A FASCINATING READ." 
          —Lenore Skenazy, founder of the book, blog, and movement Free-Range Kids

“Children, even the youngest ones, are not dolls or pets; they are human beings, more intelligent than most adults realize.  In this often WITTY, ALWAYS HIGHLY ENGAGING  book, Jennifer Lehr helps us think about how to talk to and with these small humans.  I recommend it for all new parents, and also for aunts, uncles, grandparents, early educators, and anyone else who interacts with young children. 
          —Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our
              Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life

“Beautifully bold. This book bucks convention so well you'll wonder why you never questioned these platitudes before. JENNIFER LEHR DEEPLY UNDERSTANDS KIDS AND HER BOOK IS A LIFESAVER.  Get ready to shake up your brain, ditch old habits and discover what the parent-child relationship can really be.”
         —Heather Shumaker, author of It's OK Not to Share and It's OK to Go Up the Slide

"Wow. I HAD MORE EUREKA! MOMENTS IN THE FIRST 15 PAGES OF THIS BOOK THAN I HAVE HAD IN MOST OF MY 9 YEARS OF PARENTING. This book is my now forever shower gift. Thanks to the painstaking research and consideration of Jennifer Lehr, I now can understand why so many of my well-intentioned impulses have not always provided the calm, confident, loving outcomes I dream of.... It is never too late to examine or change the way we talk to and with our children. Words fly out so fast as a parent and this book gives us a second to step back and hear what we are actually saying. Bravo. " 
          — Kathryn Hahn, actress, Bad Moms

"Language matters. It shapes our perceptions and influences how our children view themselves and their world. As such, Parentspeak is an important book in our time. With humor and grace, Lehr brings to light the issues with our common parental language and offers practical solutions. WELL-RESEARCHED AND INSIGHTFUL, PARENTSPEAK WILL CHALLENGE YOU IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY. READ IT AND GROW. 
          — Rebecca Eanes, author of Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide

"With humor and clear examples from her own and others' experiences, she unravels messages that parents might not intend to give their children but unknowingly are. The book will make parents rethink how they interact and the language the use."
          —Tova Klein, author of How Toddlers Thrive

"Finally someone who says what we shouldn't say to our children—and more importantly, why. If we want our children to follow their hearts, be resilient and, and find their potential, then we must stop trying to lead and manipulate their way. Lehr shows us how we can derail their paths to success—and how to get back on track."
          —Bonnie Harris, MSEd, author of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons and What You Can Do  
              About It

“A THOUGHT-PROVOKING read that will prompt parents of all stripes to consider what they’re saying when they talk to their kids.”

“If a child isn’t responding to a reasonable request, then their behavior must be meeting a more pressing need.” She asks parents to give their child’s behavior the time and respect it deserves and then ask: what is that need? It is a PROFOUND MESSAGE….Lehr has synthesized massive amounts of parenting information and tested it on daughter Jules and son Hudson…the book contains enough GEMS AND GOOD REMINDERS to make it a worthwhile read."
          —Publishers Weekly