Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review: Siblings without Rivalry

September Book

Siblings without Rivalry
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
240 pages

I am super excited about reading this book. I feel like parenting is what I do--I think about it a lot, wonder if there are better ways to do things, more effective ways to relate to the kids, "easier" ways to guide them and teach them. I really enjoy parenting books.

It  was a good read. There were some good ideas, but it got boring toward the end. It's a lot of stories from people who have done their parenting groups.

Chapter 1: Brothers and Sisters--Past and Present
The beginning of this chapter discusses that all families experience sibling rivalry and "why weren't my experiences with my siblings more helpful to me when I was raising my own children."

I think these three statements summarize what this book is going to be about:
  1. Our relationship with our siblings can have a powerful impact upon our lives
  2. These same feelings can persist into our adult relationships with our brothers and sisters
  3. These feelings can even be passed on to the next generation
Chapter 2: Not Till the Bad Feelings Come Out
If we're to have any hope of ending sibling rivalry, the very emotions we want to close the door on and lock out, need to be invited in, made welcome, and treated with respect. It can be upsetting to hear one child rage against another, but if we forbid the expression of that rage, the danger is that it will go underground and reappear in other forms, either as physical symptoms or emotional problems (Pg 19).

Children need to be able to air their feelings and wishes about their siblings-even the unsavory ones-because it's comforting to have someone listen to them. But it's important to make a distinction between allowing feelings and allowing actions. We permit children to express all their feelings. We don't permit them to hurt each other. Our job is to show them how to express their anger without doing damage (Pg 24).
  • Instead of dismissing negative feelings about a sibling, acknowledge the feelings.
  • Give children in fantasy what they don't have in reality.
  • Help children channel their hostile feelings into symbolic or creative outlets.
  • Stop hurtful behavior. Show how angry feelings can be discharged safely. Refrain from attacking the attacker.
Insisting on good feelings between the children led to bad feelings. Allowing for bad feelings between the children led to good feelings (Pg 49). 

Chapter 3: The Perils of Comparison
Gosh, here is something we do not do. I don't even remember ever being compared to my siblings. Never.

A "tip" they give to avoid comparisons is to use "describing words" rather than comparing siblings.
  • Describe what you see
  • Describe what you feel
  • Describe what needs to be done

Chapter 4: Equal is Less
This chapter is about trying to be equal with your kids (buying a shirt for one even if he doesn't need it because you bought a shirt for a different kid, giving gifts to a non-birthday child on a sibling's birthday, spending 10 minutes with one because you did with the other, etc.) Thank goodness, we haven't been sucked into this craziness. Yuck!

Chapter 5: Siblings in Roles
This, too, doesn't seem like something we've gotten into. Maybe because the kids are so little.

Chapter 6: When the Kids Fight
Our kids fight. It seems like the fighting has picked up 1000% in the last month or so. Although now that Ivy's in school, there is less. We try to help them find solutions; we separate them if they're hitting or kicking, etc. I bet this is going to be a bigger problem as they get older, but for now even distraction/diversion still works.

Chapter 7: Making Peace with the Past

Chapter 8: Afterward for the New Edition

  • Coping with Young Rivals
  • Home Alone
  • More Ways to Encourage Good Feelings between Bothers and Sisters

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