Cover image for Now say this : the right words to solve every parenting dilemma : [the 3-step approach to effective communication] / Heather Turgeon, MFT, and Julie Wright, MFT.
Now say this : the right words to solve every parenting dilemma : [the 3-step approach to effective communication] / Heather Turgeon, MFT, and Julie Wright, MFT.
Publication Information:
New York, New York : A TarcherPerigee Book, [2018]

Physical Description:
xiii, 335 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
General Note:
"Baby to school age"--Cover.
A toddler meltdown over the wrong pair of pants, siblings fighting in the back of the car, constant struggles just to leave the house ... Parents have the best intentions to be patient and loving, but in the heat of the moment, they often find themselves feeling helpless, desperate, and so frustrated that they resort to yelling, threatening, bribing, or caving. Now Say This solves the dilemma of how to be empathic and effective at once. Based on the popular 3-step "ALP" model - Attune, Limit Set, Problem Solve - the authors have taught thousands of parents in their clinical practice, Now Say This addresses issues such as: Tantrums, Sibling Relationships, Screen Time, Bedtime. Best of all, it answers the question, "Now, what do you actually say?" using scripts and body language tips from real life examples. User-friendly and research based, Now Say This transforms remarkable ideas into practical how-to's that busy parents can use right away.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
649.1 TUR Book Adult General Collection

On Order



A powerful new parenting book that gives parents the exact words to solve any sticky parenting situation!

A toddler meltdown over the wrong pair of pants, siblings fighting in the back of the car, kids crying when you try to leave the house...
Parents have the best intentions to be patient and loving, but in the heat of the moment, they too often find themselves feeling helpless, desperate, and so frustrated that they resort to yelling, threatening, bribing, or caving. Now Say This solves the dilemma: how can you be empathic and effective at once? Based on the popular 3-step "ALP" model the authors have taught thousands of parents in their clinical practice, and written in a friendly, balanced, and research-based tone, Now Say This addresses issues such as,
* Tantrums
* Engaging cooperation
* Sibling relationships
* Screentime
* Bedtime
Best of all, it answers the question, "Now, what do you actually say?" using scripts and body language from real life examples. Now Say This is a guide that transforms remarkable ideas into practical how-to's that busy parents can use right away.

Author Notes

Heather Turgeon, MFT, is a psychotherapist who specializes in sleep end parenting. Her writing has appeared in kite New York Times and The Washington Post, among other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids. She and Julie frequently speak at parenting centers and schools, and offer sleep consultations and individual therapy.
Julie Wright, MFT, is the creator of the Wright Mommy and Me one of Los Angeles's best-known mommy and me programs. She has specialized training and experience in the 0 to 3 years, having interned at the Cedars-Sinai early Childhood Center and Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic. She divides her time between Los Angeles and New York City and has a son in college.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Psychotherapist Turgeon and early childhood therapist Wright, coauthors of The Happy Sleeper and, are known for offering online consultation for exhausted parents. Here they employ the ALP method: Attune (watch, listen, and understand), Limit Set (state reasonable boundaries), and Problem Solve (engage your child in creating solutions) to a variety of parenting situations. Though the authors acknowledge that up-front communication is an art, not an exact science, and that their words are not the only words, their research shows that parents are looking for communication examples. After describing ALP, they walk readers through applying the model in challenging moments (tantrums, sibling rivalry, screen time, bedtime, etc.), including sample scripts. VERDICT Parenting styles are so individual, and this book may appeal to some (especially first-timers), but communication with children is not a simple process, and the scripts at times seem stilted. An -optional purchase. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Three Steps for Communicating in Difficult Moments Unless I'm responding with my whole self-unless, in fact, I'm willing to be changed by you-I'm probably not really listening. -Alan Alda Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Your kids will not brush their teeth or put on their shoes. You feel as though you're always nagging. You eventually snap and raise your voice, and then feel bad later. After asking your preschooler five times to turn off her iPad, her only reaction is to have a meltdown on your living room floor. Your children tease, provoke and even hit each other. You repeatedly insist, "be nice to your brother/sister," but the only peace comes from separating them. Your school-age child resists and negotiates with you over unfinished homework. You try to explain the importance of hard work. He gets mad and slams his bedroom door. Your three-year-old has an epic tantrum in a restaurant because she wants your phone. You'd like to have a nice family dinner but instead each child, as well as your partner, ends up on a device. Despite your patient assurances, your eight-month-old does not cease crying, squirming, and kicking on the changing table as you struggle to change her diaper. Though you have clearly said it's time for sleeping, your toddler is running, giggling, throwing toys-anything except heading to bed. As a parent, these are moments when you're just trying to get by. You want your child to listen, to stop crying or complaining, to get with the program and keep moving. But there's a voice in the back of your head telling you that being a parent is about more than getting by. You are raising a human being. You are in charge of guiding and supporting a budding little person. When we ask the parents we work with what they wish for their child-what kind of person they hope their child grows into-the most popular answers are: Feels loved and is loving Is confident Has a moral compass Works hard and is high achieving Is self-disciplined Feels peaceful and positive most of the time Is self-aware Is connected to family Has empathy for self and others When you think about your bigger goals as a parent, it puts the everyday struggles in a different light. Yes, you want the shoes to go on, the crying to stop, and the homework to get done. But ultimately, you want something deeper. You want a loving, strong connection with your child. You want to teach her, to support her growing brain to think creatively, to cultivate empathy, and to develop problem-solving skills and self-esteem. That's what this book is about. There's a lot of advice out there about "discipline"-promising to get your child to do what you say-but we want more for you. The way you communicate in difficult moments-how you listen, your body language, and your choice of words and actions-will steadily influence how your child feels about herself, relationships, and the world around her. The Win-Win of Good Parenting The science of child development and parenting is complex and nuanced. Of course it is; humans are infinitely complex creatures, and no two relationships are the same. But thankfully, research does converge on a through line of what makes for a good parent and a well-adjusted, successful child. It's a mix of characteristics that might, at first, seem like they don't work together. You might even see them as opposites-but in this book, we'll show you how they fit together perfectly. This "gold standard" of parenting has been described in different ways by clinicians and scholars over the years: warmth and high expectations, empathy and clear limits, kind and consistent. Studies of children who are parented this way show them to be confident, caring, self-regulated, high-achieving little people. No doubt, you work at this balance every day. You have mountains of love for your child, and yet you also want her to know that you are the parent, and you are in charge. This is the win-win. Win Win Warmth High expectations Empathy Clear limits Kind Consistent We're going to show you how the win-win will not only help you solve your problems in the moment, it will lead you to your bigger goals. In fact, you'll be surprised to see, with the methods in this book, that the ideal stance is to be firmly planted in both sides at the same time. They work together. Most parenting struggles come from a breakdown on one side of the win-win. We see it every day in our practice: A dad who has high demands for his son but cannot accept his difficult emotions. A mom with endless warmth who cannot hold limits and feels walked all over by her kids. In the media and in your social circles, you hear one side of the same dilemma over and over again. Some people think we should respond more sensitively to babies and kids to build a secure attachment. Others think children don't have enough structure and that parents are too soft and lenient. Decades of research supports the "win-win" of good parenting. Studies show that parenting styles high on responsiveness (warmth, sensitivity) and expectations (demands that parents put on a child to integrate into the family and society) are linked to children's higher school achievement. When parents teach and encourage collaboration in a warm emotional environment, kids learn more than when parents use rewards and punishments. Three Steps, and Words, for the Win-Win We are here to teach you how to have both, as we've done with thousands of families using our three-step model of communication. With this three-step approach-attune, limit set, and problem solve, or "ALP"-we will teach you how to maintain the win-win. Our families tell us over and over how empowered and confident the three steps make them feel. They tell us that they spend less time struggling and more time enjoying their kids. ALP allows them not just to get through difficult moments, but to connect and deepen their family relationships. Once you understand the why of the ALP approach, we're going to take it a step further-we're going to give you the actual words. You don't have to repeat them exactly (in fact, over time we hope you create your own!). The scripts in this book give you a concrete place to begin. With these tools as your starting point, we want to change the way you think about your role as a parent. We're going to challenge you to lean into difficult moments rather than fearing them, and, even in the heat of your most frustrating interactions, practice responses that keep the win-win in place. The rewards for your family will last a lifetime. ALP is not just a technique, it's a way of seeing children and family relationships that is based on these premises: Your child is capable. Difficult behavior is the "tip of the iceberg." Big emotions are like storms. These concepts are key to the effectiveness of ALP. Premise #1: Your Child Is Capable and Built for Good The premise of our first book, The Happy Sleeper, is a simple truth: Your baby is built to sleep. Sleep is natural. It's a message that resonates with parents because it helps them believe in their babies and give them credit for what they're capable of doing. So here's a secret that helps our parents change the way they communicate: children are built for good. It may not seem like it, in that moment when your toddler smacks her brother with a hard clump of Play-Doh or ruins a thoughtfully prepared meal by kicking her plate of spaghetti to the floor. But it's true. When we say children are built for good, what we mean is that kids are wired with the potential for empathy, for kindness, to learn from experiences, and to get along with others. Baby Skills The littlest of babies have a moral sense-this is the take-away suggested by child development research. Scientists find that babies as young as three to six months can judge the rightness or wrongness of others' actions, and they gravitate to the right or positive ones. For example, when six-month-olds watch a puppet help another, versus a puppet that is unhelpful, they quickly develop a preference for the helpful puppet. They look at that puppet longer and reach out to play with it. Babies are not blank slates, they already have a sense of morality and a tendency to look toward what is good. We don't have to micromanage or muscle them, nor do we have to impose morality on them. They have natural tendencies toward learning and cooperation. We can give them space to test and make mistakes with our guidance and modeling. When children act out, they are not "being bad," they're working on a developmental skill, like emotional regulation or frustration tolerance, or they're trying to communicate with us in the as-yet only way they know how. The premise that your child is good will inform how you interpret tough behaviors and stuck moments. Rather than responding with threats or punishments, you can see your child as a small person with good intentions, figuring out a big world. You have an opportunity to understand, set limits, and guide. The parents we work with tell us over and over that this helps them feel more patient. They shift from worrying there's something wrong, to seeing emotions and difficult behaviors both as normal and as opportunities for growth. Unhelpful/Traditional Helpful/Accurate Children are naturally selfish. Children have an innate capacity for empathy. Children don't like responsibility. Children like to be needed and seen as capable. Children don't know right from wrong, they need to be rewarded and punished to learn. Children have a natural sense of right and wrong. We help this to grow from the inside out. Children aren't capable of reasoning. Children are capable of reasoning and we nourish it by explaining and talking respectfully. If we don't control them, children will misbehave. When kids "misbehave" it tells us they need support, explanation, or are working on a developmental skill. Kids need tough love. That's what makes a good parent. How we treat our children affects how they treat everyone else. Kids need to be forced or controlled to do the right thing. Children have a desire to be part of a group and to be helpful, important, and integral in the family. Kids can't resolve conflicts. We need to do it for them. Kids can often come up with good solutions on their own. Premise #2: Difficult Behavior Is the Tip of the Iceberg Let's imagine a typical evening scenario: the kids are "winding down" for bed, which means they're laughing maniacally, running around the house, ignoring Mom's repeated "brush your teeth" demands, and, with each passing minute, appearing magically to be moving farther away from bed rather than closer to it. What do you immediately see in this scenario? You see noncompliance, unruly behavior, maybe even disrespectfulness. In that case Mom, in her frustration at being ignored, might yell, Get your teeth brushed-now-or no stories and straight to bed! This mom is responding to what we call the "tip of the iceberg." Now, what if we told you that Mom has been working all day and the kids have just come from a playdate with friends. Homework is finally finished and it's past their regular bedtime. What do you see in this scenario now? You might see a need to connect with Mom, a feeling of missing her (funny way to express it, right?). You see the hyperactivity of sleepy kids. Given that insight, now Mom might say, I see silly people running all over the place here. Hey, everyone, urgent cuddle 911! I've missed you guys so much today. I'm excited to see what happens in the next chapter of that book we started last night. So teeth and then meet me on the couch! In the first example, Mom talks to the "tip of the iceberg," whereas in the second example she looks at the part of the iceberg that is beneath the surface and uses words that address the underlying needs. Many clinicians (perhaps Freud being the first), have used icebergs to illustrate this important distinction between what's visible and what's happening on a deeper level. This is essential to the ALP model. Instead of butting heads over the behaviors at the tip of the iceberg, you address them from the bottom up. Now you're connected, and your words are more effective. Looking beneath the surface means translating kids' behaviors that may be annoying, off-putting, or even infuriating, and being the grown-up, or, in other words, the one who has the insight to see what's really happening. This is an important part of ALP that takes curiosity, "leaning in," and thinking to yourself, What is he really telling me right now? What is underneath? You may not always know, but if you practice seeing through this lens, you'll notice you feel more peaceful and effective in what you do and say next. Using the ALP approach, you will begin to see that behind most irksome behaviors is a kid who is simply trying to learn the skills he needs to navigate the world. Premise #3: Big Emotions Are Like Storms Now that you're using the iceberg analogy, you see that difficult behavior is not something to squash or sweep under the rug; it's an opportunity. Tantrums, not listening, hitting, and more are all overt signs that your child is working on a developmental skill and that he needs your understanding and guidance, not your worry, punishments, or anger. If you see difficult moments this way, you can be a calm and steady navigator for your child. Emotions are like waves, and life is like being on the water-emotions are always there (otherwise life would be boring!). There are calm, rolling waters and there are storms that arrive and pass. In the boat, you're together and you ride the waves. If you stay calm and present, you can navigate, and know that the storms (intensely strong emotions) are a normal fact of being on the water, and they always pass. You don't have to yell or punish, nor do you have to cave or be indulgent. This isn't such a tall order when our kids are being easy. The challenge is when things get tense, messy, and emotional. In these moments, being open, patient, and communicating clearly can feel impossible. In fact, adult relationships are like this too. When things are going smoothly, we feel connected, but when one person does something we don't like, we don't agree with, or we don't understand, we tend to fight with them or freeze them out. What psychologists know, through decades of research and clinical experience, is that if we keep communication open in tough times, it deepens our relationships. Children who are met with understanding and guidance in their most vulnerable moments have greater levels of self-regulation and more positive outcomes in school and with peers. Relationships in which people listen to each other with less judgment (even during disagreements) are stronger and healthier over time. When your child has a difficult emotion, imagine it as a wave that rolls under you, rather than hitting you straight on. Let it be okay instead of than feeling you have to fix it. Kids bring their trickiest, most intense, and irrational emotions to us for a reason: we are the safe, trusted place to work them out. Behaviors are outward signs of your child's internal world, and they show you what her bustling, growing brain is working on. With the guidance and phrases in this book, you'll notice how difficult moments show you when your child needs you to connect and guide her, rather than shame or punish her. And you too can use these moments as a chance to stretch and grow as a human being. Looking at Our Knee-Jerk Reactions Excerpted from Now Say This: The Right Words to Solve Every Parenting Dilemma by Heather Turgeon, Julie Wright All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
Chapter 1 Three Steps for Communicating in Difficult Momentsp. 1
Chapter 2 Proactive Toolsp. 57
Chapter 3 Difficult Feelings and Tantrumsp. 95
Chapter 4 Hitting, Pushing, Biting, and Other Physical Behaviorsp. 153
Chapter 5 Listening, Following Directions, and Engaging Cooperationp. 181
Chapter 6 Sibling Relationshipsp. 233
Chapter 7 Screen Timep. 279
Acknowledgmentsp. 317
Notesp. 319
Indexp. 323
About the Authorsp. 335