Obituary Note: Adele Faber

Adele Faber, a former high school teacher who, with her Long Island neighbor Elaine Mazlish, wrote child-rearing bestsellers such as How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk and Siblings Without Rivalry, "which became bibles for generations of parents," died April 24, the New York Times reported. She was 96.

The parenting guides have sold more than four million copies in North America alone, according to estimates by their publisher, Scribner. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen has been published in nearly 40 countries.

The co-authors were mothers of three living in Roslyn, N.Y., in the late 1960s when they began attending parenting lectures given by the prominent child psychologist Haim Ginott, author of Between Parent and Child (1965). Dr. Ginott "was known for his view, daring at the time, that parents should speak to their children as if they were equals in dignity, instead of scolding or criticizing them as inferiors," the Times wrote.

Faber and Mazlish were instantly enthralled. "We joined for an eight-week course and we stayed for 10 years," Faber said in a 1982 Times interview. In 1985, she told the Times that Dr. Ginott "spoke about methods of communication that could speak to a child's heart as well as his mind.... New ideas like how to express anger without insult or substitute a choice for a threat, or how to give a child in fantasy what you can't give in reality."

On a drive home from one lecture, Faber and Mazlish decided to write their own book based on their experiences applying Ginott's methods. With his encouragement, they published the first of seven books, Liberated Parents, Liberated Children, in 1974. The follow-up work, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (1980), was a smash hit. Their book Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too (1987) was another bestseller and remains a parenting staple.

The co-authors also noted changing demographics among their followers. "Audiences have become larger and even more enthusiastic," Faber said in an interview. "In the early years, the majority were mothers. Now, about one-third are men.... People welcome the new methods. They don't want to repeat the same hurtful patterns they grew up with."

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