Cover image for What did I just say!?! : how new insights into childhood thinking can help you communicate more effectively with your child
What did I just say!?! : how new insights into childhood thinking can help you communicate more effectively with your child
Donovan, Denis M.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 1999.
Physical Description:
viii, 230 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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BF723.C57 D66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Drawing on years of clinical experience and innovative child development research, the authors of What Did I Just Say!?! show how conventional communication styles actually prevent parents from saying what they mean and cause children to hear something entirely different than was intended. For example, when you say, "How many times have I told you not to ...'" a child thinks you're actually changing the subject rather than reiterating a question. When you say, "Are you going to stop it?" you are in fact admitting your own powerlessness to control your child's actions.

Author Notes

Deborah McIntyre, M.A., R.N., is a nurse & child therapist. She has worked with her husband, Denis Donovan, for over fifteen years & they are the co-authors of "Healing the Hurt Child" & the originators of the developmental-contextual approach to child psychotherapy & play therapy.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Unless parents state what they want of a child explicitly, literally, logically, and in simple, commonsense terms, what they say and what the child hears and does will rarely be in sync. Donovan and McIntyre scrutinize many phrases--the likes of "are you going to stop it?" and "can't you behave?" --through the lens of logic to demonstrate embarrassingly ineffective ways for parents to communicate. In addition to being vulnerable to the logical meaning of words, children lack the experience to put what they hear into perspective; they can respond mechanically, without being consciously aware of requests; and they may exploit the maternal "we" to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. All these are challenges for parents to overcome in communication with children. To ensure that children enjoy good communication with parents, Donovan and McIntyre recommend the Five Minutes--a one-on-one daily private time for tuning in and listening to each child. Fluently written and successfully illustrated with case studies and Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, this is advice that is easy to understand and adopt. --Kathryn Carpenter

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this impassioned book, the husband-and-wife team that penned Healing the Hurt Child urges parents to take themselves seriously as authorities in their childrens' lives and to stop asking the kids for permission to parentÄto rid themselves of the mistaken belief that to be respectful calls for abolishing boundaries and limits. Unfortunately, the book suffers from poor organization. In their enthusiasm, the authors leap to topics and controversies in a way that may leave nonprofessionalsÄparents, that isÄsomewhat confused. For example, included in the expected "how-to" suggestions for helping children listen is the topic of open secrets (e.g., not acknowledging that an aunt or grandmother is really the child's biological mother), which may involve more dysfunctionality than the usual issues. The authors also veer into attacking the overdiagnosis of chemical imbalances and other "no-fault" brain disorders that cause behavioral problemsÄa subject that would be better served if the book addressed a specific audience, rather than trying to draw in parents, teachers and clinicians. Still, the issues the authors raise deserve serious consideration. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In these post-Littleton days, it's imperative that we find a better way to talk with young people. The authors (Healing the Hurt Child)Ähusband and wife, doctor and nurseÄare practicing clinicians in child therapy who base their communication theories on more than 15 years of working with children. Advocates of logical argument and common sense, they discount much traditional psychotherapy, adamantly rejecting the notion that one quarter of the population is "disabled." They don't address the fact that some children do have serious psychological problems, an interesting position given their field. Their method of communication, the "Five Minutes," is described in detail. While one may quarrel with their antagonistic tone toward classical child development theories, there are some positive ideas to be considered here. The bottom line is that parents need to be authoritative, say exactly what they mean, and listen carefully. Unfortunately, the research cited here tends to be somewhat dated. This simplistic recipe for child guidance is recommended only for public libraries where other ideas are also represented.ÄMargaret Cardwell, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Clarkston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 "What Did I Just Say!?!"p. 3
2 Saying What You Mean and Meaning What You Sayp. 12
3 Childhood Thinking and the Logic of Languagep. 22
4 Children Live in a Very Different Worldp. 31
5 Logic, Experience, and Childhood Fearsp. 41
6 Pay Attention!p. 51
7 Now You Hear It, Now You Don'tp. 61
8 How to Avoid the ADHD Trap by Using Communication to Shape Your Child's Attentional Stylep. 66
9 Who's in Charge Here?p. 74
10 "Choose to Be Your Real, Terrific, Good Self!": Agency, Freedom, and Responsibility for Totsp. 92
11 Mad, Bad, and Sad: How Communication Shapes Emotion, Aggression, and Relatednessp. 111
12 Structure, Rules, and Boundariesp. 124
13 The Five Minutes: How to Make Sure That Your Child Will Talk to You Foreverp. 141
14 Zero to Three, Bad Genes, and "Normal" Development: How Much Do Parents Have to Worry?p. 155
15 A Reminder for Teachers and Cliniciansp. 171
Appendix Parents Ask About the Five Minutesp. 183
Endnotesp. 200
Bibliographyp. 209
Acknowledgmentsp. 216
Indexp. 217