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Listen to Me! by Dr Anna Martin PhD

Updated: Jul 11, 2019


As reviewed on The Cafe, TV3!


Dr Anna Martin is a mother and a clinical therapist with a private practice in Auckland. Her PhD thesis focussed on discipline, the parent-child relationship and the wellbeing and development of children. She has written a book called Listen to Me! that is about all of this and taking the conflict out of child discipline.


Of course, you might not completely remove the conflict, but it looks like with Anna’s advice you can minimise it. Firstly, there are some underlying concepts that Anna talks about that explains her methods. One of the key things is viewing your child as not just on the way to becoming an adult, but they are a being at any age, and therefore they deserve a voice. Anna’s explains that it’s important to get the child’s perspective in every conflict so you can be transparent about the discipline process and the outcomes will be better.


The other underlying concept is to consider how much a parent brings preconceived ideas to a situation. So a parent might always view that one of their children is the naughty one in the family, so that might cause them to misinterpret a situation.

The book explains three slightly different discipline methods. They are very similar but they differ in how much time a parent has and how much they want to reflect on their own responses to the situation.


Three discipline methods could be complicated but Anna explains the concepts really well. I think the book’s strength is having real life examples that talk parent’s through each step of the discipline methods. One example is Ben who wants to play with his Lego instead of doing his homework, and the book goes into real life detail of how you can handle this as a parent. So it’s the real life examples that I think will make this such a useful book for carers of children.


I would recommend Listen to Me! to parents. The book talks a lot about compassion – self compassion for the parents, and compassion for children, and I think that is excellent. Also the aim of the book is to build confidence and resilience in children, so it’s not just about the short term solving of each conflict, but looking at the long term picture as well. I think this is a very useful book for parents.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Penguin Random House

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