The award-winning authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids will Talk now examine the problems of sibling rivalry in its various forms and offer solutions for parents to promote cooperation amongst their children. Illustrated.
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"Helping your children live together so you can live too.""The fighting drives me up the wall." "I get along fine with each child individually but when the two of them are together I can't stand either one of them" "I don't know what will happen first--either they'll kill each other or I'll kill them".
How many of you have felt like this? Be honest with yourselves. Who can remember being at loggerheads with brothers and/or sisters? Who believes that sibling rivalry is something that only happens to other people's children?
It is a widespread problem that involves competition, envy, resentment and personal frustrations to name but a few factors. Where does it all begin? What is the worst about sibling rivalry and, conversely, what is the best about it? If any of these statements strikes a chord, then read this book. It is easy to follow, humorous and sympathetic, illustrated with amusing cartoons and the authors draw on personal experiences and research findings to show ways to teach children how to get along, "to lead rivals towards peace."
The information and advice is practical and down to earth and deals with, among other things, how to resist the urge to compare, how to realise that brothers and sisters need to have their feelings about each other acknowledged and how to handle the fighting.
The main thrust of the book is to treat your children according to their individual needs, rather than absolutely equally: "Children don't need to be treated equally; they need to be treated uniquely", say Faber and Mazish. "Instead of giving equal time, give time according to need" and "Resist the urge to compare" or "Avoid unfavourable comparisons" is their main advice. With such sound, down-to-earth wisdom at the heart of the book, it is easy to see why this was number one on the New York Times best seller list and it is a book which any parent affected by sibling rivalry will find invaluable. --Susan Naylor
About the Book
"A very human book about one of the toughest problems parents have to handle." --Dr Benjamin Spock, author of the renowned Dr Spock's Baby and Child Care
About the Authors
Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish are internationally acclaimed award-winning experts who lecture and create group workshop programmes on adult/child communication. Their books have been printed in 20 languages and have sold more than three million copies.
With great illustrations/cartoons, 'Quick reminder' lists at the end of each topic and a good index, it's easy to flick through and find just what you're looking for, without having to read the whole book again (not that having to do that would be a disaster!)
The book also gives adults an insight into their own relationships with their siblings - I've told my mother, sister and husband that they just MUST read it.
On reading the dedication in the front of the book: "To all the grown-up siblings who still have a hurt child inside them.", I knew that this was the book I had been looking for!
Congratulations & thanks to Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish - a brilliant book!!
Siblings without Rivalry addresses these concerns and offers some practical advice on how to manage and improve things. To start with, the book encourages parents to acknowledge the intense feelings which a child may express even when these feelings sound cruel, harsh, and unloving. On hearing, "I wish Tom had never been born, I hate him", a well-intentioned parent may be tempted to deny ('Oh come on, you don't really mean that!'), preach ('You'll get on better with people if you concentrate on the positive') or ignore ('Let's talk about the nice things you did today'). According to Faber & Mazlish, the most helpful response a parent can give is to avoid such responses and instead simply acknowledge the feelings as the child reports them. For example, a parent can help a child to fully express their feelings by putting them into words ("You don't want your sister here. Sometimes you wish she'd just go away").
For some parents the benefits of such an approach may not seem at all obvious. Some may feel convinced that giving more attention to negative feelings can only prolong the misery by leaving them stuck in an emotional rut. Surely the parent has to lead, instruct, cajole, jolly them up as the occasion demands. However, Faber & Mazlish tackle these misgivings and argue that the most helpful response is one that avoids rushing to offer solutions and lets the child know that she has been heard.
In a chapter entitled 'The Perils of Comparisons', the authors deal with a tactic instinctively employed by many. ("Look at how nicely Hannah is eating") Pointing out that this is more likely to awaken ill feeling rather than cooperation, the authors urge parents always to avoid both favourable and unfavourable comparisons and instead simply describe the "problem" ("I see milk dripping down the front of your shirt") and leave it at that. Put like this, the child is allowed time and opportunity to show initiative and think of a solution herself.
The book offers some excellent advice on how best to respond when kids are fighting or bickering. Instead of taking sides and/or imposing their solution, parents should encourage children to sort out their own conflicts and disagreements. Their recommended procedure deserves extended quotation as follows:
1. Start by acknowledging the children's anger towards each other. ("Gosh, you two sound really cross with each other"). That alone should help calm them down. 2. Listen to each child's side with respect. ("So,Tom, you wanted to build a zoo by yourself ; and Michael, you wanted to join in") 3. Show appreciation for the difficulty of the problem. ("Hmm, this is a difficult one.") 4. Express faith in their ability to work out a mutually agreeable solution. ("I am pretty sure that if you two talk about this together, you'll work out some arrangement that feels fair to each of you.") 5. Leave the room. ("While you're working on it, I'll be reading the paper in the other room").
Stock parental responses to such advice include "That would never work with my children" , "My two would just dig their heels in and start fighting again after two minutes" "Eric is so strong-willed that he would just not be prepared to compromise and the little one would lose out". Clearly, it is not something that will necessarily work faultlessly first time especially if the parent has previously been consistently willing to play judge or honest broker. However, if one is prepared to persist, it produces children who learn how to manage their own conflicts and as a result get on better.