Welcome back to the Childhood 101 virtual bookclub. We have been reading Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (find all SWR bookclub entries here), and in this post I am wrapping up Section 7, the Afterword and a few final thoughts of my own.
My first thought on finishing reading Siblings Without Rivalry, “I really want to read this again.” I think it could be helpful for me to have another read through in the hope that as much as possible sticks. At the very least, I am intending to read over the passages I have highlighted and the pages with tabbed corners.
I have taken away so much from this book and the passage highlighted in the image above provides a fabulous summary of so much that this book teaches. Siblings Without Rivalry has already positively impacted my parenting in many simple ways, most noticeably with “say what you see,” the new mantra that runs on repeat through my head for much of the day.
One gem I took away from Section 7 was this passage shared as part of the story of a (now adult) good child confronting her mother for the first time about her role as the ‘perfect’ child in their family;
Then I asked her, “Do you know what it would have meant to me if just once you had said, “You don’t have to be so good all the time. You don’t have to be so perfect. You don’t have to be mother’s pleasure. You can be nasty, bratty, sloppy, mean, inconsiderate, irresponsible – and it’s okay. It’s normal to be those ways at times. And I’ll love you just as much.” – page 185
Immy is the first child of two first children, both with strong tendencies to please others before themselves. She is already showing herself to be a real rule follower and gets very upset if she feels that she has broken a rule or disappointed others in some way. I want her to know that it is okay and normal to make mistakes, that her needs are as important (and often more so) as those of other family members, friends and others. That we will always love her whatever choices she makes. That she is never needs to be perfect, that she just needs to be herself. It’s something we’re working on.
I appreciated many of the practical suggestions shared in the Afterword, some that will be particularly helpful now and others that I imagine will come in very handy as my girls grow up together. Those that I will be using right away include;
- Looking for lots of opportunities for my children to have fun together, to build a foundation for a positive relationship that I hope will see them stay close as they grow up.
- Looking for activities now that they can enjoy together despite their age difference. I am going to make a list of ideas.
- ‘You two are a team.’ Having them work together and not in competition to get things done.
- When an issue becomes a recurring problem, sitting down together to brainstorm possible solutions for the child to try. Writing them down and helping them to commit to trying something different next time in an attempt to solve the problem.
- Making sure that each child gets some time alone with each parent several times a week and making sure that they remain the sole focus of attention for that time.
After reading Siblings Without Rivalry, I fully intend to seek out Faber and Mazlich’s other books as I really appreciated the practical nature and readability of their work.
I look forward to hearing your final reflections on these sections and the book as a whole. You might like to comment on;
- One idea, tip or story that really spoke to you or that you took away as a valuable insight
- A question for others in response to what you read
- Your favourite passage from the book
- A story of your own related to the themes of one (or both) of these sections that you would like to share
- Your final thoughts on the book.