Siblings Without Rivalry

I'm deep within my latest book, "Siblings Without Rivalry" by two of my favorite authors, Adele Faber and Eliane Mazlish. I've referred to their other book, "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk" which has been VERY helpful as well.

Growing up an only child has left me at a disadvantage when it comes to raising siblings. I haven't seen much sibling parenting modeled. So I've been trying to discover some hidden intuition within.....and coming up short. This book is providing tools and techniques and for that I am thankful! 

It's so meaty...with great examples and sample conversations. I will probably post a few times to cover the highlights for posterity. And for any of you who might be struggling with similar things.


I'm going to start with Chapter Five: Siblings in Roles. What stood out to me most was the example of The Bully and The Victim. Yes, I recently used the word "bully" when trying to explain to Peter what his actions are doing. Hurting someone younger than him. My, are we dealing with this lately. As I see it, their behavior can fall into several categories:

Roughhousing -- potentially a positive "sport" for boys to enjoy
Physical aggresssion -- probably not the best way to release it
Playing -- in which the older doesn't realize his strength
Taking advantage -- in which the larger feels power over the smaller

The first category leads me on an exploration into Raising Boys and their unique needs. Several books are looking promising on this topic. But that will come later. =)

I'm assuming (hoping) our issue is the third, in which Peter doesn't realize his strength and just wants to have fun with Ezra. Thus the answer would be, "remember he is smaller than attention to whether he is still having fun or not".

But I have noticed glimpses of aggression and feelings of power...when he has Ezra pinned and feels pretty good about it.

The point of this topic though is to avoid putting our children into roles. Rather than pitying the smaller and labeling him as such ("poor Ezra, be nice to him, he's little/helpless") I need to empower him and give him ideas to stick up for himself and be strong ("tickle Peter, he's got one arm up!").

Rather than talking to Peter about how he's being such a bully and focusing on the negative traits I'm seeing, I need to avoid putting him into that role and instead focus on what he can do ("I've seen you play just gently enough so Ezra is still having fun"). He is capable and will rise to these expectations.

Helpful, eh? And there's more. Another night.