Interview in the Brighton Argus:
First published Wednesday 28 January 2015 in Women Actually
A PARENTING expert and mother-of-four who admits “I know what it’s like to feel like I’m a rubbish parent” today publishes a new book about how parents can communicate more effectively with their children.
Stephanie Davies-Arai, who is based in Lewes and was a founding member of Lewes New School in 2000, has based her first book, called Communicating with Kids, on a parenting programme she developed in 2008 to offer parents and teachers “no-nonsense information”.
In it, she explains “how so often children are not resisting our messages, but the way we are sending them” and that can lead to “exactly the opposite of the behaviour we want”.
“So much of the parenting advice we hear works against a child’s developing brain, so my book shows parents how to work with it instead, which makes all the difference,” said Stephanie.
“Communication is my area of expertise – and what’s different about my book compared with other parenting books is that it is not based on an ideology. I don’t have the right to tell parents how to parent but I have communication skills to pass on and make children more co-operative.
“My book is intended to empower parents, to make parenting easier and more fun. So many advice books make parenting hard work and are so child-focussed – I realised with my own children it’s not all about them, it’s about me and how we communicate.”
Stephanie, 55, is the mother of sons aged 23, 21 and 18 and a 15-year-old daughter.
She attended her first parenting course “out of desperation” when her third child was born, and when her daughter was five, she qualified as a an accredited instructor in the Gordon Training model, a recognised programme of communication skills for parents and teachers.
She developed her own Communicating with Kids programme after becoming disillusioned with teaching other people’s parenting methods “and trying to modify it to fit reality”.
“I began to realise that clear, honest communication was effective with even the most ‘difficult’ children and designed a really simple course,” she said.
Her book provides methods for parents to tweak their language and approach so children are willing to help them.
“Once you understand the difference between what you are saying and what your child actually hears, life with children becomes so much easier,” explained Stephanie. “I wanted to write a book that basically says ignore all parenting advice, do it the way you want to and here’s some information to help give you the confidence to do that.”
Communicating with Kids is published today by Troubador Publishing, £9.99/paperback and £4.99/ebook, and is available in Brighton at Waterstones, Daisy Daisy, Wigwam and the Dolphin Clinic, and in Hove at City Books, Charlotte’s Web and the Book Nook.
To find out more about the Communicating with Kids courses, visit communicatingwithkids.co.uk
I am a mother of four and a founding member of a small independent primary school in East Sussex.
I was originally trained as a Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) instructor, and I designed my own communication skills programme Communicating with Kids in 2008. I train both teachers and parents, and I have worked extensively with children in schools. I also write a weekly parenting blog and contribute to various parent websites including Mumsnet and MommyHotSpot.