Sunday, July 24, 2011

Everyone Needs A Reminder Sometimes

At dinner the other night it was once again brought to my attention that we all need reminders.

I was at dinner with a group of girlfriends talking about how siblings bicker.  Every mom present admitted that sibling squabbles send them over the edge almost faster than anything else.  It is so aggravating to watch your little darlings be brutal to each other.  It is definitely not what any of us had envisioned when we were contemplating if we should have more than one child.  But, what to do?

My friend Kerry chimed in about what she had read in Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber.  She referred to the book and then looked at me and said, "Well, you have read it right?"  Um, yes, but none of the ideas she was sharing sounded familiar.  I do currently use some parenting strategies from this book, but apparently, I had forgotten more than I had remembered.  I made a mental note to reread this book.

A few days later #1 and #2 were going at it and I decided to try one of the techniques that Kerry shared from the book.  The author had suggested letting the kids vent their frustrations with each other.  They each got a turn saying everything that bothered them about the other while the other sibling had to sit and listen.  Some of the accusations were valid and some where nonsense, but I did not interrupt. Instead, I just commented, "That would make me angry too," or, "It sounds like you are really mad."

I will admit it was hard to let them say ugly things.  My instinct was to stop them and say, "Don't say that!  Your brother is your best friend."  How can all this spewing be productive?  But it is.  Kerry swore that it had worked with her kids and to my amazement it worked with mine too.  Rather than creating a bigger problem, they played happily the rest of the afternoon. What was that about?

After the successful venting session I dug Siblings Without Rivalry out of my nightstand and dove in.  It really is a good book and I love the practical examples and sample dialogs.  If you are a mother of more than one child you really should make the time to read this book.  It will give you tools to use and also give you the gift of normalcy. Siblings fight.  It is normal.  If your children bicker it is not a bad grade on your mommy report card.  Promise.

I had always intended to read the book again, but I obviously needed to kick the reread idea up a notch.  I do not know everything and I am very much aware that my memory isn't what it used to be.  I should not be surprised that I only remembered what was pertinent to my situation at that particular time.

Kids and their situations change rapidly; and, my parenting skills need to be going at the same pace.  Dinner the other night was a good reminder of this.  I am thankful for friends that challenge me in my parenting.  As a result, I now have a fresh outlook on the battles that go on between my kids and I have a handful of new techniques that help me use this "war" as a way to foster their relationship with each other rather than watch it tear them apart.

Now if I could just remember where I left my keys...

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