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"Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me!": The Solution to Sibling Bickering [Paperback]

Anthony E. Wolf

Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

Aug 2003


Imagine. You might never again have to hear the words: “Mommy, Ann drooled on me on purpose.” You could have the answer for every “It’s not fair!” your kids have ever whined at you. Constant sibling squabbling—and the ensuing demand that you pick a side, quick—can wear parents down and totally drain the fun right out of family life. Now in this groundbreaking book, Dr. Anthony Wolf offers a whole new strategy for coping. In a fresh, funny, and straightforward way, Dr. Wolf presents three essential rules for dealing with sibling arguments—rules that, if followed, completely remove the root causes of bickering. From teasing and hitting to rivalries and boundaries, Dr. Wolf addresses a wide range of issues, and he does it with humor and a pitch-perfect ear for actual kid/parent dialogue. This is a book about real children—who they are, what they want, why they act as they do, and what you can do to alleviate the strife between siblings.

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"Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me!": The Solution to Sibling Bickering + I'd Listen to My Parents If They'd Just Shut Up: What to Say and Not Say When Parenting Teens
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is the best 25 Nov 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
If you really want to change the way your kids act torwards each other, read this book.
Its advice IS somewhat counter-intuitive. For example Dr. Wolf explains why if your daughter Sally is sitting on her brother's back slugging him (but not really harming him) you should NEVER say: "Hey Sally stop it".
He points out that it is just as effective to say: "Hey, the TWO of you, cut that out." He shows why this statement is much less likely to lead to the annoying protestations that Sally would otherwise make (like "he hit me first.") And how not "taking sides" will significantly reduce sibling fighting.
We have always used Dr. Wolf's methods with our kids (they are explained in less detail in his other books.) A friend recently asked me how come my kids got along so much better than hers. I suggested she read this book. She called me two weeks later to say that the book had changed her whole family's life.
Oh, and its also VERY, VERY Funny!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 8 Feb 2006
By Joni - Published on Amazon.com
I just read this book and was actually sorry to get to the end. Like it was a great novel or something! I can't wait to try this with my kids. I have three boys, two of whom are close in age. They are pretty well-behaved in most areas but the fighting is constant and often physical. It is bad enough that I prefer to split them up when we need babysitters so that my family and friends don't have to deal with it.

I have been trying to follow "Siblings Without Rivalry" but have trouble coming up with the right things to say. This method sounds a lot less complicated and easy to implement.

As for the language - I find it amusing that a person can open a book, look at a few pages and decide that the author has no morals. If this person had actually READ the book, they might have noticed that there is a lot said about raising your children with solid values and integrity. The only problem I really have with him using the "f" word is that it turns off people who could really use this book. I don't allow my kids to speak like that but don't see why the author using it to show how some kids act is a big deal. I cringed when I read it because I knew that, like The Catcher in the Rye, many people would ignore the other thousands of words in the book and focus on only that one.

Maybe it is the author's litmus test - if you're so judgmental that you would discount an entire method of child-rearing without even looking into it based on one word the author uses in dialogue in the book (he uses it in quotes when one person is speaking to another), then maybe he doesn't think you could use the method properly since most of it is about being a non-judging adult. Hmmm?
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 Reasons I Love This Book 2 Jan 2008
By P. Gould - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got this book a few weeks ago, read it immediately (it's a quick read), and started using Dr. Wolf's advice with my two elementary aged kids. His advice is right-on. Here's what I like about his approach:

1. It's simple. You don't have to remember exactly what to say or use precise techniques. You just have to remember the philosophy: be loving but don't get involved in the fights.
2. It's kind. I really dislike parenting books that recommend that you be detached or unpleasant with your kids. Although Dr. Wolf recommends not getting involved in fights, he does recommend offering love and sympathy when the kids feel upset.
3. My kids love it. My older child actually told me that he's relieved that I refuse to take sides any more. He said that I was wrong about who's fault things were "at least 50% of the time."
4. Not getting involved in other people's fights is a good moral value to role-model for the kids.
5. I feel less exhausted when the kids fight. I don't feel a responsibility to be involved--and so I don't feel irritated with them. When the bickering itself becomes irritating, I follow Wolf's advice and separate them.
6. The kids are fighting a lot less! Knowing that they will have to work out their own disagreements has made them more likely to compromise before a fight begins.
7. When they do fight, they make up much faster. The emotional impact of bickering is less when a parent isn't called in to judge right or wrong, good or bad, and punishment or reprieve.
8. My younger child is learning to stand up for herself.
9. My older child is learning not to push too far.
10. Both kids are learning how to solve fights by listening to each other, compromising, and/or just letting things go. I always thought these were skills I could teach them...turns out they are skills the kids always had and just didn't need to use since I was always "helping" them solve their disagreements!

The one very weak spot in the book is his advice about fights in the car (or in other enclosed places.) Pulling over to the side of the road and waiting might work--but it's not practical unless you have a very flexible schedule (and don't drive on highways). Still, I highly recommend this book to parents with bickering kids. It won't stop the bickering entirely, it will just turn bickering from a major parental headache into a great childhood learning experience.
P. Gould, co-author of Feeding the Kids: The Flexible, No-Battles, Healthy Eating System for the Whole Family (Fork and Spoon Field Guides)
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining book with easy-to-follow advice! A fun read! 27 Mar 2004
By Nature Mom w/ 2 children + EE & Management degrees - Published on Amazon.com
From the first page of the book, you'll find practical tips to cut down the bickering among siblings. My favorite tip was learning not to even say my children's names when they're bickering and just say "the two of you - that's enough". I appreciate the explanations for why it's important to let them work things out whenever you can tolerate the bickering and no one is being seriously hurt. He also explains the differences between a sibling telling a child they're "smelly and stupid" and a classmate... and why it means you might not have to interfere at that moment when siblings say mean things like that to eachother.
This is a great companion book to my favorite sibling book, "Siblings without Rivalry". They're both worth having. Read them, apply them, and get ready for more peace and quiet!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe a bit *too* hands-off 24 April 2010
By C. Pettis - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I like the straight-forward nature of the three "rules" for dealing with sibling conflicts, and agree that no good ever comes from taking sides in arguments between my kids. I find his "Stop it, you two!" (or in my case, "you three!")to be one of the greatest parenting phrases I've learned. However, a lot of his examples seem to end with a child, upon figuring out that his parent won't intervene on his behalf, declaring his plan for revenge as he leaves the room. For example, one of his recurring themes is a kid tattling on his sibling for swearing at him. Parent gives sympathy but refuses to get involved and in the end, the kid leaves saying, "Fine, then I'm going to call him a worse swear." This is the point that I think most parents, myself included, would have a difficult time not jumping in and saying something about his plan to go swear at his brother. I get that letting him go at that point is part of the whole "don't get involved" and "let them learn from experience" rules, but it doesn't feel right to me to not help the child think of some other alternatives or at least help the kid cool down so that he's not as inclined to just go back in fighting. This doesn't mean you have to say something like, "You do that, mister, and you're grounded!" but you could say, "You think that will help?" Or, "What, like Giant Ugly Cabbage Head?" (or something equally ridiculous to get him laughing). Or "I wonder if you can think of a swear so horrible it will make him fall on his knees and say, 'Oh brother, I'm soooooo sorry I ever swore at you. I'll never ever do it again and you can have all my best xbox games forever if you'll just forgive me...'" (give him what he wants in fantasy, if not reality).

I guess I believe that a parent can help defuse a child's anger without taking sides and while that does pull you into the argument more than this author seems to suggest is necessary, I think it's a pretty important role for a parent to play.

So, would I suggest reading the book? Yes, but perhaps in tandem with another book like Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too or Playful Parenting so you have some ideas about what to say to a child who has just told you his plans for revenge.
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