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Siblings Without Rivalry
by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
This was a great book! Written in a story format with snippets from groups of parents talking about their experiences with their children fighting, arguing, etc. it's interesting to read with real and easy ideas for parents to use with their own kids.
A few ideas I loved:
- Give kids in fantasy what they really want - for example when you see them fighting, say what you think they wish they could do. "You don't want her here, sometimes you wish she'd go away." (page 26)
- Instead of telling them to just be nice or not talk that way about a sibling, acknowledge the feeling. Instead of saying, "Ignore him" say "What he said could make you mad." (page 25)
- Help kids channel their negative feelings into something creative like drawing what they feel, or letting them show you how they feel about hurting their sister with their doll instead of hurting their sibling. (page 27)
- It helps kids feel validated and understood when you acknowledge what they are feeling instead of dismissing it or telling them to "just be nice" or "stop it." You should say: "I see you are very angry about what he did when he took away your toy. That feels annoying, doesn't it?"
- When kids fight over not being treated fairly or the same as their sibling, instead of just giving in and giving them whatever their sibling has like the same amount of grapes, ask what they need. "Do you want a few grapes ? You want some more?" (page 81)
- When children hurt one another, attend to the one who is hurting first, not the one who did the hurting. So when your child hits his sibling, you go to the harmed one, pick her up and tell her "Ouch that must have hurt... Nobody hits each other. Your brother needs to use his words when he's angry, not hurt you. Here let's get some ice," and leave the room without speaking to the one who was hurting in the first place. You can go back later to talk to them if need be. Put the attention on the one who is hurt. (page 103). This is GREAT advice!
- When kids are fighting... this happens a lot! First, acknowledge what's going on and how they are angry at each other, struggling. Listen to each child's side. Repeat what you heard, empathize with their struggle. Tell them you know they can figure it out together, problem solve. Leave the room so they can work it out. (page 135)
- If they are about to hurt each other, you step in immediately and tell them it's dangerous, separating them. (page 140)
A great resource with some nice ideas about parenting siblings!
To really appreciate all these authors have to offer, you should read the stories!