What Do You Say?

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely had conversations that have shocked you with how badly they went.

The same kid who asked “why” non-stop at age four suddenly stops talking to you around age 12. And the conversations that you wish you could have—ones fueled by your desire to see your kid not just safe and healthy, but passionately engaged— feel painfully impossible to execute. The good news is that better conversations with your kids in your control. Effective communication can be cultivated, learned, and taught.

As you get better at this, so will your kids.

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About the Book

William Stixrud, Ph.D., and Ned Johnson have 60 years combined experience talking to kids one-on-one. The most common question they get when speaking to parents and educators is: What do you say? While many adults understand the importance and power of the philosophies behind the books that dominate the parenting bestseller list, parents are often left wondering how to put those concepts into action.

In What Do You Say?, Stixrud and Johnson show how to engage in respectful and effective dialogue, beginning with defining and demonstrating the basic principles of listening and speaking. They share new ways to handle specific, thorny topics of the sort that usually end in parent/kid standoffs: delivering constructive feedback to kids; discussing boundaries around technology; explaining sleep and their brains; the anxiety of current events; and family problem-solving. What Do You Say? is a manual and map that will transform parents’ ability to navigate complex terrain and train their minds and hearts to communicate ever more successfully.


Top Ten Tips for Talking with Your Kids

Insights from What Do You Say?: How to Talk with Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance, and a Happy Home.

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Read a Sample Chapter

  • Communicating Empathy
  • The language of a Parent Consultant
  • Cultivating a non-anxious presence
  • How to foster intrinsic motivation in your kids
  • The language of change and understanding ambivalence
  • Communicating healthy expectations
  • Ways to talk about sleep and technology with your kids
  • Consequences
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Meet The Authors

Dr. William Stixrud

William R. Stixrud, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist and founder of The Stixrud Group, as well as a faculty member at Children’s National Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. He is also the co-author, with Ned Johnson, of the national best-selling book, The Self-Driven Child, and of their new book, What Do You Say? Talking with Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance, and a Happy Home. Dr. Stixrud’s work has been featured in media outlets such as NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of London, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Time Magazine, Scientific American, Business Week, Barron’s, and, New York Magazine. He is a long-time practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, and he plays in the rock band Close Enough.

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Ned Johnson

Ned Johnson is an author, speaker, and the founder of PrepMatters, an educational company providing academic tutoring, educational planning and standardized test prep.

A professional “tutor-geek” since 1993, Ned has spent more than 40,000 one-on-one hours helping students conquer an alphabet of standardized tests and honing his insights on communicating with students and parents. A battle-tested veteran in the fields of test preparation, anxiety management, and student performance, Ned coaches kids how to manage their stress while simultaneously motivating and empowering them to reach their full potential.

Ned has written for the New York TimesThe TelegraphU.S. News & World Report & The Washington Post and co-authored three books, including the national best-seller The Self Driven Child, and he hosts the PrepTalks Podcast.

His staff has finally convinced him to be active on his Twitter page.

Contact Ned Johnson

Ways to Connect

Bill & Ned are available for press inquiries, keynote addresses, and private events.