Welcome back to the Childhood 101 virtual bookclub. We are currently reading Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (full bookclub details here), looking here at sections 3 & 4: The Perils of Comparisons and Equal is Less.
From what I have read of Siblings Without Rivalry so far, I feel if I remember and act on this one key word I will make good headway into being the best parent I can be. And the word is, DESCRIBE. I regularly try to remember to ‘describe what I see’ when it comes to encouraging my children (versus empty or over-used praise) but Faber & Mazlish touched on it in section two with reference to acknowledging feelings, and again in section 3;
“The key word is describe. Describe what you see. Or describe what you like. Or describe what you don’t like. Or describe what needs to be done. The important thing is to stick with the issue of this one child’s behaviour. Nothing his brother is or isn’t doing has anything to do with him.” – page 55
“Speak to the child only about the behaviour that displeases you” (page 61), would be another key message I am trying hard to remember. Don’t run off at the mouth. Don’t say more than needs to be said. Don’t make empty threats. Don’t compare. Just stick to specifics and describe – what you see, like, don’t like or what needs to be done.
Further food for thought for me from this reading – be sensitive to the feelings of others by keeping overly enthusiastic comments in support of one child for private moments. We tend to openly celebrate significant accomplishments for both of our girls but after reading the stories in section 3 I can see why this can be counter-productive. I think I am going to have to be much more mindful about toning down my reactions and old habits can be hard to break. What makes it particularly interesting for me is the realisation that I personally feel such a sense of reward as a parent when one of my children makes a big discovery or accomplishes a new milestone. It’s actually not just about them but it should be.
Finally, my favourite passage this time around;
“To be loved equally….is somehow to be loved less. To be loved uniquely – for one’s own special self – is to be loved as much as we need to be loved.” – page 71
Now it is your turn. Please share your impressions in the comment section below. I would encourage you to also take a moment to read the reflections of others, feeling free to respond to their comments if you have something further to share.
Here are some discussion ideas that might help to get you started;
- What is one idea, tip or story that really spoke to you or that you took away as a valuable insight?
- Do you have question for others in response to what you read?
- What was your favourite passage from the book?
- Is their a story of your own related to the themes of one (or both) of these sections that you would like to share?
Details for the next book club meeting
Pop back on June 13th (that’s three weeks today) to discuss your thoughts about Sections 5 & 6: Siblings in Roles & When the Kids Fight.