email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
100 Things Guys Need to Know1001 Solution-Focused Questions101 Ways to Meditate17 Lies That Are Holding You Back29 Gifts8 Keys to Stress ManagementA Layman's Guide to Managing FearA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeAddiction and ChangeAddiction Recovery ToolsADHD Grown UpAdolescent DepressionAdvanced Sexual TechniquesAfter SuicideAfter the Ecstasy, the LaundryAge-Proof Your MindAnswers for AristotleAnxiety, Phobias, and PanicAre You Fully Charged?Authentic HappinessAwakening Self-EsteemBe Honest--You're Not That Into Him EitherBeating the BluesBecoming OrgasmicBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Better Sex Through YogaBetter Than EverBeyond AddictionBibliotherapyBinge No MoreBipolar DisorderBlinkBoomers Really Can Put Old On HoldBrain LongevityBrainstormBread Upon the WatersBreak Through PainBreathingBringing Up ParentsBuddhist Boot CampBullyBut I Love HimCalm EnergyCalm Focus JoyCan't Eat, Won't EatCancer on $5 a Day* *(chemo not included)Caring in Remembered WaysChained to the DeskChange Your AgeChange Your Brain, Change Your LifeChange Your ThinkingChildren of the Aging Self-AbsorbedChildren of the Self-AbsorbedConceptual BlockbustingConquer Your Critical Inner VoiceConquering Postpartum DepressionConquering Shame and CodependencyCoping With Difficult PeopleCoping with Infuriating, Mean, Critical PeopleCoping With TraumaCreative Writing In Health And Social CareCrossing the Unknown SeaDance the Chakras Yoga WorkoutDaydreamingDe-Stress Your Life in 7 Easy StepsDealing with a NarcissistDefying DementiaDelivered from DistractionDematerializingDepression FalloutDepression-Free for LifeDivorce PoisonDoing ItDone With The CryingDown and Dirty Sex SecretsDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Optimum HealthDr. Weisinger's Anger Work-Out BookDying to Be ThinEasy YogaEmbarrassing Medical ProblemsEmbracing UncertaintyEmotional Chaos to ClarityEmotional ClaustrophobiaEmotional Fitness for IntimacyEmotional IntelligenceEnjoying Guilty PleasuresEssays on Philosophical CounselingEvamarie Pilipuf's Yoga Express DVDEvery Day Yoga for Every Body DVDEveryday GreensExercise for Mood and AnxietyFailureFamily Desk Reference to Psychology Family FirstFast Food for the SoulFat and FuriousFatal FlawsFear and Other Uninvited GuestsFeeding Your ChildFinding Meaning in the Second Half of LifeFlow: The Psychology of Optimal ExperienceFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFlying ColorsForgive Your Parents, Heal YourselfFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFrom Sabotage to SuccessFull Steam Ahead!Get RIPPED! and Jacked - The Boomer WorkoutGetting a Good Night's SleepGetting ControlGetting over Getting MadGetting the Love You WantGetting the Love You Want Audio CompanionGetting Your Life BackGirl StuffGirlWiseGod Never BlinksGoddess WorshipGoing DownGoing Home without Going CrazyGood MedicineGoodbye, ThingsGrieving Mental IllnessGuilt, Shame, and AnxietyHalf Empty, Half FullHe's Just Not That Into YouHeal & Forgive IIHealing ADDHealing through ExerciseHealthy AgingHonoring GriefHooking UpHot ButtonsHow Full Is Your Bucket?How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill MeHow Philosophy Can Save Your LifeHow Proust Can Change Your LifeHow Successful People ThinkHow to Change Someone You LoveHow to Give Her Absolute PleasureHow to Handle a Hard-To-Handle KidHow to Have Magnificent SexHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHow to Live Well Without Owning a CarHow to Make Great Love to a ManHow to Make Great Love to a WomanHow to Stay SaneHow to Stop Feeling Like ShitHypnography for MenHypnography for WomenI AMI am PotentialI Saw It HappenI Wasn't Ready to Say GoodbyeI'd Rather LaughI'm OK, You're My ParentsIllness and the Art of Creative Self-ExpressionIn the Mood, AgainIntroduction to Qi YogaIt's Called a Breakup Because It's BrokenIt's Not as Bad as It SeemsJudo with WordsKripalu YogaKripalu Yoga Dynamic DVDKripalu Yoga Gentle DVDKundalini Yoga MeditationKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDLearn to RelaxLearned OptimismLearning Outside the Lines Letting Go of AngerLies! Lies! Lies!Life MakeoversLife StrategiesLife's WorkLifting DepressionLiving the TruthLiving Well with Pain and IllnessLiving with AnxietyLiving Your Best LifeLiving Your DreamLost in the MirrorLove & SurvivalLove Your Body, Love Your LifeLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderLunar Flow YogaMadhur Jaffrey's World VegetarianMake It CountMaking a Good Brain GreatMaking ADD WorkMaking Your Mind MatterManaging Your MindManic DepressionMastering Anger and AggressionMastering the Power of Self-hypnosisMaui PilatesMeditation for Optimum HealthMeditation in a New York MinuteMeditations on Self-Discipline and FailureMind MappingMind-Body Workbook for AnxietyMindfulness for BeginnersMindfulness for Urban Depression: Tools for Relief from Stressful City LivingModerate DrinkingMotherstylesMozart's Brain and the Fighter PilotNapkin NotesNatural Healing for DepressionNew Hope for People with DepressionNo Enemies WithinNo More AnxietyNot Your Mother's LifeObsessive-Compulsive Disorder DemystifiedOne Last Hug Before I GoOrgasmOrgasmsOutsmarting DepressionOutsmarting OvereatingOver 100 Truly Astonishing Sex TipsOvercoming Compulsive CheckingOvercoming Compulsive HoardingOvercoming DepressionOvercoming Obsessive ThoughtsOvercoming the Fear of FearOvercoming Your Difficult FamilyPain Free for LifePain Free for WomenParanoia of Everyday LifeParenting Children With ADHDPassionate VegetarianPlan BPlanning for UncertaintyPlato, Not Prozac!Position Of The Day PlaybookPositivityPotatoes Not ProzacPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPowerfully Recovered!PredatorsPreventing Misbehavior in ChildrenProcrastinationProcrastinationProtecting the GiftPsychology Moment by MomentQiGong IllustratedQuantum Memory PowerRaising a Self-StarterRaising Kids in an Age of TerrorRaising Resilient ChildrenReady for AnythingReal Solutions for Overcoming Internet AddictionsRecovery from AddictionRelationship RescueRespect-Me RulesRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRomantic IntelligenceSabbathSecrets of a Passionate MarriageSelf MattersSelf-CoachingSelf-CompassionSelf-Help NationSelf-Help Stuff That WorksSelf-Help Without the HypeSelf-NurtureSeven Life Lessons from Noah's ArkSex and SpiritSex DetoxSex PositionsSex Q & ASextasySexual PleasureSleep BetterSolar Flow Yoga DVDSoulmatesSpiritually Healing the Indigo Children (and Adult Indigos, Too!)Spontaneous HealingStanding at Water's EdgeStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStaying Sane When Your Family Comes to VisitStop Arguing with Your KidsStop Caretaking the Borderline or NarcissistStop Me Because I Can't Stop Myself Stop OverreactingStop Smoking and Chewing Tobacco for Life ChangesStop Walking on EggshellsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStress ReliefStrong, Smart, & BoldSun SalutationsSunbathing in the RainSurviving a Borderline ParentSurviving Manic DepressionSurviving Sexual ViolenceTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaking Charge of AngerTaking Charge of Anger: Six Steps to Asserting Yourself without Losing ControlTaming Your Inner BratTeen Angst? NaaahTen Minutes to RelaxThank You for Being Such a PainThe 10 Best Anxiety BustersThe 5 Reasons Why We OvereatThe 7 Secrets of the ProlificThe Anger WorkbookThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe Art of Becoming HumanThe Art of Exceptional LivingThe Beginner's Guide to Healthy EatingThe Better Sex Guide to the Kama SutraThe Betty Ford Center Book of AnswersThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Breakout PrincipleThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Chronic Pain SolutionThe Complete Vegetarian HandbookThe Consolations of PhilosophyThe Core Question: Who Am I?The Crowdsourced Performance ReviewThe Emotional Eater's Repair ManualThe Emotional RevolutionThe End-of-Life HandbookThe Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs 2005The Essential KamasutraThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Five Things We Cannot Change ...The Game of TruthThe Gift of FearThe Gift of ShynessThe Good Vibrations Guide to SexThe Guide for International Intercultural Couples and Families Intercultural MarriageThe Happy Hook-UpThe Healing JourneyThe Healing Journey for CouplesThe Healing Journey Through GriefThe Healing Power of PetsThe Identity CodeThe Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive OrgasmThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Introvert AdvantageThe Intuitive WriterThe Irritable Male SyndromeThe Jewel Tree of TibetThe Joy of MeditatingThe Last Self-Help Book You'll Ever NeedThe Light of DiscoveryThe Little Book of Healthy TeasThe Little Yoga BookThe Magic of Thinking BigThe Making of Dr. PhilThe Male Stress Survival GuideThe Money WorkbookThe Mood CureThe Mozart EffectThe Myth of Self-EsteemThe New Cancer SurvivorsThe New Rational TherapyThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe OCD WorkbookThe Passion PlanThe Pilates Workout JournalThe Pill Book Guide to Natural MedicinesThe Places That Scare YouThe Pocket Life CoachThe Porn TrapThe Power of FocusThe Power of Full EngagementThe Power of Negative ThinkingThe Power of PlayThe Power of Self-CoachingThe Pursuit of PerfectThe Quest for Peace, Love, and a 24'' WaistThe Real Rules for GirlsThe Secret of LifeThe Secret Strength of DepressionThe Self ImprovedThe Self-Compassion Skills WorkbookThe Self-Help SourcebookThe Sex Addiction WorkbookThe Spa DeckThe Stoic Art of LivingThe Stress CureThe Stress Less WorkbookThe Stress Owner's ManualThe Stress Reduction Workbook for TeensThe SuperStress SolutionThe Ten Minute Sexual SolutionThe Therapy for the SaneThe Truth About Chronic PainThe Ultimate Guide to Sex and DisabilityThe Van Gogh BluesThe Way of StretchingThe Way of the JournalThe Way of TransitionThe Weblog HandbookThe Why CaféThe Worst-Case Scenario Survival HandbookThere's a Spiritual Solution to Every ProblemThings Might Go Terribly, Horribly WrongThink Confident, Be ConfidentThink NakedThink SmartThinking for a ChangeThis Is HowTotal PilatesTrain Your Brain to Get HappyTrain Your Brain to Get RichTransformation Trauma in the Lives of ChildrenUltimate SexUnderstanding the Borderline MotherUndoing DepressionUnhappy TeenagersUnlock the Genius WithinUntangling the WebVirtual AddictionWaking Up to What You DoWay to Be!What We Say MattersWhat Women WantWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Holding You Back? When a Family Member Has DementiaWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen in Doubt, Make BeliefWhen Perfect Isn't Good EnoughWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Things Fall ApartWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWherever You Go, There You AreWhy Can't I Change?Why Is It Always About You?Why Smart Executives FailWorried All the TimeWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting as a Sacred PathWriting in FlowWriting to HealYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!Yoga 4 TeensYoga as MedicineYoga for EveryoneYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Regular Guys DVDYoga for the Young at HeartYoga on DemandYoga Weight Loss for DummiesYou Are Not AloneYou Are Not Your IllnessYou Can Think Yourself ThinYou'll See It When You Believe ItYour Body Speaks Your MindYour Brain on FoodYour Child, Bully or Victim?Zen Sex

Related Topics
Stop Arguing with Your KidsReview - Stop Arguing with Your Kids
How to Win the Battle of Wills by Making Your Children Feel Heard
by Michael P. Nichols
Guilford, 2004
Review by Leo Uzych, J.D., M.P.H.
May 23rd 2006 (Volume 10, Issue 21)

In an engaging primer, entitled Stop Arguing with Your Kids, Dr. Michael P. Nichols, a Professor of Psychology at the College of William and Mary as well as a practicing family therapist, sanguinely, but gingerly, climbs the demanding rungs of the conceptual ladder of "responsive listening".  Stripped to the core, the quintessence of responsive listening is that good parental listening skills are a potentially highly effectual means to non argumentative interaction, between parents and their children, in which parents remain firmly in charge.  Nichols embraces the view that parents have within their grasp the power to transform counter productive arguments, with their children into civil discussions by learning to listen responsively to their children.  And tethered securely to this view, Nichols in workaday fashion pursues the overarching purpose of teaching parents how to practice responsive listening, when interacting with their children.  Parents should be enamored of this captivating book.

An important concept underpinning the foundation, of responsive listening, as constructed by Nichols, is that relations between parents and children should optimally be cooperative rather than antagonistic in nature.  Parents who are disciples of responsive listening are obliged to carefully elicit and consider the wishes of their children.  But, importantly, genuine concern about the child's views does not imply the relinquishing of authority, that is properly parental in nature, to the child.

Nichols' exultant sense of optimism, regarding the improving of relations between parents and their children by utilizing the communications mechanism of responsive listening, pervasively permeates the length and breadth of the text.  Yet, prospective readers should be mindful that the responsive listening approach, propounded by Nichols may have soothing appeal at a theoretical level, but may be quite difficult to apply in the very demanding laboratory of real life.  In real life terms, the application of responsive listening is far more art than science.  The "art" of responsive listening challenges parents to be highly adept listeners.  But, in practical terms, children may often act in a manner that will make responsive listening by parents very difficult.  In realistic terms, the consistently skilled application, of the art of responsive listening, will likely require not inconsiderable parental patience, persistence, and practice.

The adroit application, in day to day life, of Nichols' concept of responsive listening, may, potentially, mitigate significantly the incidence of destructive arguments, between parents and children, and, in that vital respect, very positively affect parent child relations.  But a further caveat is that the efficacy of responsive listening as a communications mechanism to bolster relations between parents and their children, has not been forged in a scientifically meaningful way in the fire of scientific peer review.  The discourse of Nichols, although enthralling, is bereft of quantification.  In a different vein, the qualitative, and arguably scientifically unhinged, textual discussion exudes a plain English stylistic savor.

Nichols dissects and examines the pathology of arguments, and further proffers potentially curative treatment, in the form of responsive listening, by employing various instruments.  An important instrument wielded artfully and instructively, by Nichols, to skillfully probe the body of responsive listening, is the crafting, for didactic purposes, of dialogs between parents and children.  Handiwork, of this sort, contributes meaningfully to the book's practical value.  There are, as well, a goodly number of anecdotal snippets, which are grafted helpfully into the text.

The lineaments, of responsive listening, are etched, painstakingly, over the course of three, structural "parts".  The five chapters comprising the book's first part focus on truncating the limb of argumentation.  Chapter one explores the territory of parent child dynamics gone awry, as the result of argumentation.  The elixir concocted, by Nichols, is the watery mix of responsive listening, which may enable both parents and children to emerge from the fractious pit of argumentation.  The responsive listening approach conceptualized, by Nichols, obligates parents to encourage their children to vent their feelings.  As seen perspicaciously through the lens of Nichols, the alternative, to attentive parental listening, is an unpalatable cycle of arguing, which may cascade into resentment and anger.  In chapter two, Nichols expounds pithily and instructively on the five steps, of listening responsively to children.  Nichols expounds, insightfully, in chapter three, on:  why children argue; why parents get pulled into arguments with their children; and how parent child arguments escalate.  Paradoxically, according to Nichols, parents can perhaps best maintain their authority, regarding children, by not being overly controlling.  The inspiring of a spirit of cooperation in children, by means of responsive listening, is the absorbing subject of chapter four.  The firm belief, of Nichols, is that an entrenched pattern of parent child argumentation can be broken.  And the means of breaking a cycle of chronic arguing, riveted in the framework of listening responsively, garners the rapt attention, of Nichols, in chapter five.

The application of responsive listening to different age groups is described in the book's second part.  As explained, very interestingly, in chapter six, Nichols believes that the bricks used to build the communications house of responsive listening are applicable even with respect to young children.  School age children draw the discerning focus, of Nichols, in chapter seven.  As explicated, by Nichols, the secret of minimizing arguments, with school age children, is for the parent to respect the child's feelings, which, in turn, may help foment, in the child, a feeling of respect for the parent's authority.  The art of responsive listening often gets harder with teenagers. The tension often affecting relations between teenagers and their parents, and the possible role of responsive listening regarding the alleviating of any such tension, captures the insightful attention, of Nichols, in chapter eight.  In the view of Nichols, a parent listening responsively to a teenager should ask for the teenager's opinion, and consider it seriously.

In the book's concluding part, Nichols, in chapter nine, trenchantly puts forth the view that, even though adolescence is commonly a challenging time for the whole family, this does not mean that the period of adolescence must necessarily entrap the family in an insufferable web of antagonism.  Lastly, in chapter ten, Nichols offers diverse suggestions, tied to listening responsively, which may be helpful under circumstances in which arguing may seem unavoidable.

For many parents, the concept of responsive listening, at some level, may be quite alluring; but the devil may be in mastering the real life practice, of the hard earned art of listening responsively to children.  Importantly, the adept application, in everyday life, of Nichols' thoughtful concept of responsive listening, may very positively impact relations between parents and children.  The finely described thoughts, of Nichols, in this regard, may be most appealing to a  considerable gamut of readers, reaching to:  family therapists, child psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and, not least, parents everywhere.


© 2006 Leo Uzych


Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia University.  His area of special professional interest is healthcare.


Welcome to Metapsychology. We feature over 8200 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716