Thursday, July 19, 2007


So I've been enjoying my reading of Siblings Without Rivalry. It's interesting and enlightening, and at the same time challenging.


Validate feelings.

I don't think I'm great at this, especially when it's something like, "I don't like him" because there's no reason for her to feel this way, usually. I'll have to keep in mind that feelings are often not based on good reasoning or logic. Heaven knows mine aren't. Validating feelings doesn't have to mean allowing bad actions or behavior. Yay!

Give in fantasy what can't be had in reality.

Basically, just state in clear language what it appears the child wants. Not sure how I feel about this one.

Not sure how I feel about this one. I can't see myself saying, "I can see you are angry. You wish that we could send the baby back and have mama all to yourself again."

Suggest creative or otherwise non-harmful outlets to express negative feelings.

Meh...I've never much liked this, myself. Although I have made great use of writing letters that never get read, that is a little hard for non-literate children. I guess I could always suggest punching pillows or screaming at the top of your lungs--I use those myself.

Don't compare, positively or negatively.

I know I've already been guilty of this with other kid's Eve's age or a little older.

"Oh, Eve, Hannah wears big girl panties all the time because she goes potty in the potty! She's such a big girl!"

I will have to make sure this isn't something I continue.

The hardest part of this includes non-direct comparisons: praising one child in front of the other. I have a hard time already with over-praising Eve. Of course, I think she's the most awesome kind on the planet, so it's hard to keep that to myself, and in my house as a child everything we did was always the best and the greatest, and we were the smarted, most attractive, most athletic, etc. kids EVER.

It's going to be a real challenge to keep praise private as the family grows. Also not sure how this applies to praising infants for milestone accomplishments...something to think about.

The next section is Fair is Unfair, which I've just begun and which says equal treatment is unnecessary and harmful, and that each child should be treated according to his or her needs.

I'm definitely interested in this section, because while I don't feel my parents did this, I get the sense that Tom thought his whole life was unfair...and he's frequently mentioned how certain unfair treatments bother him in other families we are close to.

So far, my only hang up with this book is that the things parents say seem to be way over the top...but then, I guess it's easier to portray extreme examples than more subtle ones in such a format.

Additionally, a lot of the long-lasting hurt feelings and resentment can be healed through forgiveness, given time and God, so I didn't identify with a lot of what the parents said about their own histories--even though I hated my brother, I really love him now and I'm closer to him than to either of my other brothers, who were never subjects of my wrath. And although I recognize that in many ways my feelings toward him had a lot to do with what my parents did, I know they only did what they felt was best and have always had the best of intentions, and simply didn't have the tools or training to do what would have been better. I've forgiven them for it, even though I fear repeating their mistakes.

I guess I should let that be a lesson to me...

Even if I fail as a parent to foster a close and loving relationship amongst my children, all hope is not lost as long as God's in the picture--He can change hearts and minds dramatically, as He has mine.

Of course, that puts the pressure back on teaching Eve the Truth about God, and praying that she chooses to follow him, and back to my fear of screwing her up!