Peaceful Parent, HAPPY SIBLINGS
by Dr. Laura Markham
Image from Google.com
This was such an awesome book! I read her first book recently, too, and loved it! Dr. Markham is so talented and knowledgable in how to raise peaceful, happy children and enjoy parenting, too, despite the ups and downs.
This book is all about raising a peaceful family in hopes that your children will enjoy being siblings and it teaches parents how to handle the bickering, fighting, jealousy, etc. among siblings. It's a great read! One that I'd buy and keep on the shelf to reference for years to come. I highly recommend checking this out.
There is an entire section in the back of the book that specifically talks about how to introduce a new baby into a family and help the older siblings adjust to the change. I've never found such a good resource for parents of second children as this book's third part! Great ideas, a must-read for new parents of their second child.
A few parts I loved in this book:
- Sibling rivalry happens around the world, to all kids, all families. It's normal.
- Kids are fighting for what they need and want, plus have little impulse control so they do what they want, when they want. (page xvi)
- When we're stressed out or not regulating our emotions, then our kids can't be emotionally regulated, so they act out toward us and siblings. (xxii)
"All siblings will do some fighting, no matter what their parents do. Conflict is a part of every human relationship, and you can't stop your children from having needs and desires that sometimes clash. What you can do is give them healthy tools to work through those disagreements, tools they'll use for the rest of their lives."
- "When parents have better relationships with their children, those children have happier relationships with each other. When parents have more negative or punitive relationships with each child, the children behave more aggressively and selfishly with each other."
- Kids need to feel connected to parents in order to respect them, feel like they chose what to do when parents asked them, and improve behaviors overall. If they don't feel that connection, they won't listen. (page 4)
- Kids learn what they are taught. If we yell, they yell. They take things out on others when they feel stressed if we do that. (page 10)
- "When a child feels understood, he feels closer to his parents, so he's more likely to accept limits and cooperate." (page 13)
- Empathizing is really key here when working out issues with kids. Help them see that you hear them, they are understood, you care, by listening. You show them that you care about how they feel. (page 13)
- When you punish all you do is teach your kids to try avoiding punishments. They don't learn to stop the behavior. (page 18)
- "When kids resist our limits, they see the 'control' as outside themselves. As crazy as it sounds, that means they see it as YOUR job to stop them from attacking their sibling when they get angry, rather than as THEIR job to control themselves." (page 18)
- When we punish kids for fighting together versus listening to them and solving the problem with them, they resent each other. (page 19)
It's key to prevent sibling rivalry before it starts. It's inevitable, but there are important things we can do to help our kids through the tough moments.
- Have routines. Kids feel safer with structure, set routines, boundaries. This plays out with siblings, too.
- Teach your kids to feel for their siblings, have empathy.
- Spend special time with each child.
The author suggests having Time-Ins instead of Time Outs. She explains that it's more helpful to connect to kids when they are emotional and struggling versus to send them away on their own to deal with emotions. On page 26, the author details why time outs are not helpful. Interesting points!
Teaching your children to express emotions is really important with decreasing sibling rivalry.
- Describe what you saw happen, what you think might be the problem.
- Empathize - show them you care about what they feel and what's happening.
- Coach them to identify their feelings and what they want/need.
- Listen, repeat what you've heard.
These are all tactics to use to help your kids feel better understood and to decrease the issues among siblings.
We all hate it, right?! Annoying as parents to deal with... but Dr. Markham explains that tattling is "how kids ask for help to solve a problem." She says this is actually a good thing because we want our kids to know they can always come to us with a problem. "Instead of shutting her down, you help." (page 91)
Here are steps to handling it when your child is tattling:
- Take a breath. Your child is coming to you because it's something she needs help with.
- Restate what you heard about the situation so you know you understand.
- Help her figure out some solutions.
- Ask her if she wants to do something about this situation, or if she's only coming to you to talk about it.
- Empathize with her feelings about the situation.
Don't force kids to apologize. Rather encourage them to figure out something they can do to make the situation better like giving a hug or helping clean up toys, etc.
Encourage kids to bond
- Kids should attend their siblings' events, games, etc. to celebrate them.
- Celebrate each kid and accomplishments.
- Get everyone involved in celebrating the birthdays, helping out with parties, etc.
- Talk about how kids are unique, nobody the same, appreciate differences.
- Create a family kindness journal, writing down what others see the siblings have done in a kind way.
- Set your kids out to work in teams to complete chores. Working together is a key factor in positive sibling relationships.
- Include in bed time routines for kids to say goodnight and love you to each other.
- Don't interrupt your kids when they are happily playing together. Let them be!
An awesome book!