Here you will find answers to questions as well as stories sent to us by readers.


We’d love to hear how you’ve used  the tools from the How To Talk approach. It is our hope to create a community of adults who inspire and support each other by sharing creative ways to solve problems, resolve conflicts, engage cooperation, and strengthen relationships with children.

If you have a spare moment and you are inspired to write to us, we’d appreciate stories in any form, including sentence fragments from the sleep deprived, rhymes from the whimsical, or video recordings from the technically advanced. We’ve also created the outline below to make it easier, if you find that kind of thing helpful!

You can also write to us at

To send your own question, visit the Contact Us page.

* Why do kids sometimes refuse to problem solve?

When parents tell us problem-solving didn’t “work,” we often find one of two situations. In the first situation, problem solving is a great idea, and the parent can make a few adjustments to make the process more attractive to the child. In the second situation, problem solving is not the...
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*A Praiseworthy Question

Question: I am trying to avoid evaluative praise with my 2 yo son. I usually say “Good job!”, “Yay!”, or “I am so proud of you!” I have been working on describing his accomplishments. But I still find myself saying “Way to go! You put the wipes away all by yourself!” Or...
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*Why you shouldn't say "you"

Hi Joanna and Julie, We had a question come up this morning in the study group I’m leading based on your book. In the chapter on Engaging Cooperation one of the tools is “describe how you feel.” Readers are advised to avoid the word, “you.” This seems to be in conflict...
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*When siblings fight, should I give them a "time out"?

Dear Joanna and Julie, I have 3 kids ages (almost) 5, 3, and 13 months. About 3 years ago, after reading a couple of parenting books along the same lines as yours (but nowhere near as specific and helpful!), I decided to stop using time out and other punishments and haven’t...
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*Acknowledging my 3 y.o.'s feelings is not helping. Help!

Dear Joanna and Julie, I’ve tried acknowledging my daughter’s feelings for over a year now (she’s three) and it consistently doesn’t work. Just today our dialogue went like this: (She fell and hurt her knee) Daughter: (crying) Momma! Me: I saw that you fell. I bet that hurt. Daughter: (crying) NO!...
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