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Shoshana Hayman

Shoshana Hayman, mother of six, is a certified parent educator specializing in family communication skills.

QDear WholeFamily Counselor, I have two daughters, 12 and eight. Both girls argue with each other several times a day. There has been competition between both of them for many years. My oldest tries to tell me that her sister is to blame for the arguments and vice versa. When I am not around and they fight, the younger calls me to tell me the whole story. It usually ends up that the older will call the younger "stupid" or another hurtful name which my youngest becomes very sensitive to. When I try to talk with both, of course they blame the other and think the other should change.

I remember reading my first book on parenthood 25 ago. It was a book about the benefits of natural childbirth, which inspired me to inform my doctor that I wanted to give birth without medication. He explained the wonders of modern painkillers and tried to spare me the torture of a primitive birth. I thought about what I had read, considered the doctor's advice, and found another doctor who would listen to my needs. Since then, I too, have become an "expert." I conduct parenting workshops, prepare couples for childbirth and counsel breastfeeding mothers. My expertise is based on three things: The unfolding of my own personal philosophy as I raised my family of six children, gaining professional status through studying and becoming certified and perhaps most important, separating my personal philosophy from the information and counseling I offer parents, and learning from the parents themselves how different alternatives can be tailored to fit their needs.

Q: Dear WholeFamily Counselor, I love Faber and Mazlish's books, especially How To Talk So Kids Will Listen. My husband and I even took a workshop based on it. While I was in the workshop, I was able to apply the lessons learned. But as soon as it ended, I found myself going back to my old ways. I just can't seem to stay conscious enough to do the right thing. My eight-year-old complains about a classmate or a teacher and it's only after the conversation is over that I say to myself, Oh, I should have just acknowledged his feelings! I can't ever seem to remember that in the moment.

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