This is a really interesting chapter that covers dealing with both sibling rivalry and peer relationships between children. There are many great practical ideas on this chapter, and I hope you all enjoyed reading it!
The sections in this chapter are: Why Siblings Fight, The Myth of Loving Siblings, Children Hurting Children, The Fairness Trap, Trouble With Peers, and Compassionate Intervention.
Regarding sibling behavior, the author writes: “The reality of sibling behavior is in direct opposition to all of our fantasies about having a “happy” family – one that is peaceful and harmonious. In spite of what we may have experienced in our own childhoods, we cling to a vision (established by television sitcoms like “Leave It To Beaver”) of loving children who are kind to each other and rarely fight. When our children don’t fit the ideal, we blame them for creating negative friction in what we believe should be a conflict-free household. Parents are eager to learn the skills that will end the battles, but before they can learn skills, they must first revise their expectations…..It’s useful to remember that children can’t help feeling as they do, and many well-intentioned parents try to minimize or deny a child’s feelings because they hear them as cruel or unloving. ….Parents need to accept the feelings of jealousy, resentment, or anger that a sibling might have, while setting limits on hurtful actions.”
The authors go on to discuss when to intervene and when to not intervene, when an older child hurts a younger sibling, tattling, and fairness.
The sections regarding peers starts with this statement: “Rivalry exists, not only among siblings, but among groups of children as well.” The peer sections talk about allowing your child to vent their feelings without getting too involved in the situation or making the child feel the exclusion is his or her fault.
Sometimes I think this can be the hardest job as a parent: to really see one’s child struggling socially either in making friends, in being too aggressive or bossy with friends, in being timid or shy or so sensitive that every little social interaction that doesn’t go quite to the child’s plan seems to bother him or her. I think this chapter does do a good job in reminding parents to be that more neutral sounding board and to step back and let their child’s relationship with other children unfold. Again, though, I think this is much more pertinent to older children and not to children under the age of 7 and perhaps not even as pertinent to those under the age of 9.
So again, I found much of this chapter, aside from perhaps the section on dealing with a new baby in the house, to be geared toward children ages 7 and up who are dealing these social challenges with siblings and peers as a more separate individual.
What did you all think about this chapter?
Love to all,