Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Just Tell Me What to Say: Simple Scripts for Perplexed Parents” as Want to Read:
Just Tell Me What to Say: Simple Scripts for Perplexed Parents
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Just Tell Me What to Say: Simple Scripts for Perplexed Parents

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  134 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Parents are often perplexed by their children's typical behaviors and inevitable questions. This down-to-earth guide provides "Tips and Scripts" for handling everything from sibling rivalry and the food wars to questions about death, divorce, sex, and "whyyyy?" Betsy Brown Braun blends humor with her expertise as a child development specialist, popular parent educator, and ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published December 1st 1975)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Just Tell Me What to Say, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Just Tell Me What to Say

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 323)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nate Morse
Jan 17, 2015 Nate Morse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good read for parents of kids between the ages of 2 and 6. It deals with communication, discipline and how to answer those difficult questions that kids have between those ages. I skipped a few chapters on topics that have not come up yet like Divorce and Serious Illness, but I did read the ones on Death, Sex (Where do Babies come from?) and Natural Disasters.

I would recommend this book based off the first to chapters about communication and discipline. The author talks about how not
Sep 23, 2015 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got quite a bit out of this book and appreciated that it spent a lot of time on difficult subjects that other parenting books mainly ignore for this age group (3-6 year olds) like discussing death, major illness, nakedness and sex. I felt the author's style and recommendations fit well with Parenting With Love and Logic. This is certainly a book that I would refer to again if needed.
Denise Morse
Jan 16, 2015 Denise Morse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
A very well written and helpful book about what to say in response to difficult questions, which is why we picked it up. However more than what to say, we have been using the helpful tips about how to handle tantrums, not listening and other fun four year old behavior. We just started using it but are hopeful about it working.
Aug 15, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All in all, I liked this one. Not so much "parenting" (dealing with day-to-day issues) as it was communication. Very practical, scripted conversations to have with children ages 2 to 6, regarding some of the big issues (and some of the small ones) they will deal with. Death, manners, divorce, sex - it's all covered. I think I will likely refer to this one again as my kids get older and I need to shift the conversation to the next things their brain can handle.

The advice followed what I believe t
Apr 23, 2014 Alexy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok book. I read a lot of parenting books. I found her suggestions for consequences a bit harsh. I found most of the book common sense but the scripts might come in handy some day. I like the suggestions in the chapters on nose picking (and other embarrassing public behaviors). I found that chapter helpful for my 2.5 year old.
Aug 06, 2008 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any parents of 2-6 year olds!
Recommended to Alexandra by: read about it in a NYT article given to me by my mother
This is by far the best parenting book I have read geared towards ages 2-6. I look forward to trying the tips about table manners and discipline. It was well-written, easy to read and gave lots of tips. You could pick and choose chapters that were appropriate (I read all but the sibling chapter as my son is an only child). This book had great information for helping kids dealing with divorce, family illness, and understanding difficult concepts like death and the impact the news media has. Just ...more
Aug 06, 2014 Lynchck521 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a therapist and liked and agreed with a lot of aspects in this book. Only a few I disagreed in. :) recommend it!
Jan 31, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Despite its title, this book is better at explaining why your kid is acting the way s/he is acting than telling you what to say about it. Which is useful. I definitely felt less angry at my kid when I understood why he was refusing to eat his dinner (because he wants to control something, anything, in his little life). But the "script" to get him to eat dinner didn't really help. The chapter on explaining death to your kid, though, was great...explaining that everything has a "life cycle," etc. ...more
Mar 21, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This isn't exactly what I was looking for, but it is a useful resource. I am focused right now on the discipline issue, and there is one chapter on that, and a general chapter on communication. The rest of the book deals with specific circumstances - divorce, death, etc. I picked up a few great tips with respect to making sure I am saying what I mean, such as not making a request when I mean to give a direction, not allowing myself to suggest there are options when there aren't, shaping my state ...more
Jan 16, 2015 mlhruby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good tips! I just hope I can remember them! It's all about how you talk to the kids.
Oct 15, 2014 Farrah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really can't recommend this books enough. This is the third time I've read it and I have numerous pages folded down to come back to for future reminders and reference. The tips on dealing with whining, tantrums, sibling rivalries, talking to kids about hard subjects, etcetera etcetera are very, very good. I'm not saying I'm good at putting them all into practice, but the ones I have, have worked!
Mar 16, 2011 Sharla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book! I found several examples of good ideas on how to talk to kids about tough topics, and different ways to handle the issues at various ages and developmental stages. It was particularly helpful with a situation that just came up with our family, so I've already used some of the suggestions! I'm going to buy a used copy to keep on hand at home for reference. Recommended!
May 15, 2009 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great for reading and getting suggestions on how to answer those difficult questions from your kids before they ask them (or even after). I didn't agree with the section on tattling, but thought the rest was insightful. I'm not so nervous about the questions about sex, death, etc that will be coming.
I was amazed that this woman actually makes a living giving advice. Her advice is contradictory and just plain bad. I do not recommend this book. I started to write down all the things I didn't like about this book but there was just too much.
Jun 19, 2011 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went to find a copy for Brig of Playful Parenting at a used book store so we could read it together and found this instead. She has a lot of the same philosophies as Playful Parenting and it is so simple to read and refer back to!
Aug 18, 2008 Gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reference book for parents. It gives positive solutions to dealing with a variety of issues that can arise when dealing with children. I had checked this out from the library, but enjoyed it so much, I bought the book.
Kate Hastings
Good suggestions, but nobody seems to be able to tell me how to respond to my 4 year-old who hits himself on the head and says, "I'm stupid and I hate myself" over and over again.
Sep 03, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an absolutely wonderful parenting book with such practical and straight-forward advice. Im already implementing alot of the advice and tips.
Aug 02, 2008 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great parenting book (with a cheesy title) that I'll need close-by on the longer, harder days. It's already worked wonders with whining...
May 06, 2009 Stefanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really helpful parenting advice. Lives in our city - very popular therapist. Highly reccommend for needed moments of young children.
I thought the book was very helpful in certain areas like explaining death, but in other areas much of the advice seemed like common sense.
Jun 20, 2008 Kathy is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
So many useful lessons about communication... and not just applicable to kids --> could definitely apply to spousal discourse!! hehe
Pepper Gerstner
Well, I think this one might have been better to read when the kids were babies. Not much help now...
Aug 22, 2008 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very realistic and practical help on a variety of subjects.
Jun 10, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
i'm going to recommend it to any mother.
Oct 13, 2008 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
For the novice parent.
Nothing outstanding.
May 07, 2013 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the author, she seems very logical
Maddmum M
Aug 20, 2010 Maddmum M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many different ideas
Jan 24, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good tips!
Kathleen Garber
Jan 25, 2009 Kathleen Garber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Amazing. Get it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The N.D.D. Book: How Nutrition Deficit Disorder Affects Your Child's Learning, Behavior, and Health, and What You Can Do About It--Without Drugs
  • Making the "Terrible" Twos Terrific!
  • Discipline Without Distress: 135 Tools for Raising Caring, Responsible Children Without Time-Out, Spanking, Punishment, or Bribery
  • The Epidemic: The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children
  • Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment
  • I Brake for Meltdowns: How to Handle the Most Exasperating Behavior of Your 2- to 5-Year-Old
  • Positive Discipline for Preschoolers: For Their Early Years - Raising Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful, and Resourceful (Revised 2nd Ed)
  • The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy
  • Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected
  • From Diapers to Dating: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children
  • Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids: Creating the Relationship You Want with the Most Important People in Your Life
  • Help Yourself Help Yourself
  • The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance
  • A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback
  • Donny and Ursula Save the World
  • The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do
  • Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun.
  • 52 Things Kids Need from a Mom: What Mothers Can Do to Make a Lifelong Difference

Share This Book

“Remember, parenting is not a popularity contest. Your child does not have to like you, nor do all his friends need to think you are the best daddy. In fact, there will be countless times when your child doesn’t like you one bit. You are going to have to make unpopular decisions and impose consequences that he will not like. So be it. It’s your job. You are the parent. Now act like one.” 0 likes
“As much as we hate them, tantrums are very much a part of almost every child’s development. As soon as children are old enough to hold an idea in their head, that is, to remember what it was they wanted, they are old enough to have a tantrum about not getting it. Tantrums can begin as early as six months, but you don’t usually see the classic tantrum until the child is around fifteen to eighteen months old. When they end is a bit less predictable, as that variable has to do with your child’s development and with you, but they usually begin to ease up after three or three and a half years, and they certainly diminish in frequency. What causes a tantrum? Usually it is due to frustration or anger. In their mission to learn about the world, test limits, try out their autonomy, and be in control, young children will be thwarted at every turn. Their frustration level is certainly exacerbated by their lack of language skills and their inability to make things work the way they want. Tantrums are completely normal. And they really do make sense when you keep the young child’s agenda in mind: I know what I want. Yesterday at the birthday party I had ice cream. It was great. I want it again…now. You explain why ice cream is not a choice, and he has a screaming fit. But he hasn’t forgotten, and an hour later he tries again. Yes. Ice cream. That’s what I want. And each time he asks, you thwart his desire, over and over again, until he is exhausted and totally frustrated. Here comes the tantrum. It is universally accepted that the worst time of day is from around 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. or so. Many a parent complains about her child’s behavior being particularly challenging then. Your house becomes a “whinery.” I call it the “Piranha Hour”—that’s when mothers want to eat their young! At the end of the day, everyone in the family is at his worst. Your children have held it together all day, either at school or home, accepting various limits and basically doing what is expected of them. But this can only go on for so long, and there comes a boiling point. The limit testing, the sibling fighting, the back talk has to come out sometime. At the end of the day, it’s game over. Get ready, here it comes. You too have held it together all day long.” 0 likes
More quotes…