Hidden Messages

What our words and actions are really telling our children



I’m a big fan of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. They pack an emotional punch to inspire and motivate. With this book, that’s exactly what I set out to do, as well: Use true stories to provoke thoughtful action. I want to get parents thinking about how children translate their parents’ words and actions into terms they can understand. I want to get parents to choose what they teach their children, rather than allow their kids to learn through accidental, unintended, random examples that may or may not reflect the parents’ values and messages.

This parenting book uses stories to teach even the best-informed parents how — despite their best intentions — they may be making mistakes in their everyday interactions with their children. The stories are based on true situations I’ve encountered in my many years as a parent educator. Each story is followed by reflection and possible interpretations by the child, and concludes with some “real world” ideas for better communication.

I wrote this book to the good parents out there, the ones who think, struggle, and occasionally succeed. That pretty much covers most of us, and as one reviewer said, I can’t think of a parent who couldn’t walk away with at least a few solid ideas for decluttering the lines of communication. You won’t find harsh criticism of the various schools of parenting, or a philosophical discussion of any of them; rather, here I’ve focused on the practical…the common-sense…the down-to-earth. Real solutions for real situations, in a package intended to inspire and motivate.

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Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from Hidden Messages (McGraw-Hill, 2000).

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