Haim G. Ginott (néGinzburg; August 5, 1922 – November 4, 1973) was a school teacher, a child psychologist and psychotherapist and a parent educator. He pioneered techniques for conversing with children that are still taught today. His book, Between Parent and Child, stayed on the best seller list for over a year and is still popular today. This book sets out to give "specific advice derived from basic communication principles that will guide parents in living with children in mutual respect and dignity."
Ginott was born in 1922 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He had three brothers. After emigrating to the United States he graduated from Columbia University's Teachers College in 1948, and then earned his master's degree in 1949. He then studied psychology at Columbia University, where he earned a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1952.
Ginott's approach to child-rearing and education was one in which the parent/educator strives to understand the feelings and mind of the student/child using respectful language of compassion and understanding. He asserted that children learned how their parents/teachers felt about them by how they spoke to them. The following serve to illustrate Dr. Ginott's communications approach.
Never deny or ignore a child's feelings.
Only the behavior is treated as unacceptable, never the child.
Depersonalize negative interactions by mentioning only the problem. "I see a messy room."
Attach rules to things, e.g., "Little sisters are not for hitting."
Dependence breeds hostility. Let children do for themselves what they can.
Children need to learn to choose, but within the safety of limits. "Would you like to wear this blue shirt or this red one?"
Limit criticism to a specific event—don't say "never", "always", as in: "You never listen," "You always manage to spill things", etc.
Refrain from using words that you would not want the child to repeat.
Ignore irrelevant behavior
Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish were members of a parenting group run by Dr. Ginott, and state in an introduction that Dr. Ginott's classes were the inspiration for the books they wrote.
"Truth for its own sake can be a deadly weapon in family relations. Truth without compassion can destroy love. Some parents try too hard to prove exactly how, where and why they have been right. This approach will bring bitterness and disappointment. When attitudes are hostile, facts are unconvincing." (p. 38)
Ginott resided at 923 Fifth Avenue in New York City. He was survived by his widow, the former Dr. Alice Lasker, who was also a psychologist and co-author, with her husband, of "Between Husband and Wife." They had two daughters, Mimi and Mrs. Roz Frumess.