Have you ever wondered if you’re ‘doing it right‘ as a parent? Did you ever wonder if all kids seem to hate their brother/sister or if it’s just yours? And did you ever wonder why your kids don’t seem to get along and how to rectify this? Well, in that case, let me introduce you to a wonderful book I have read recently!
Siblings, by clinical psychologist Linda Blair, is amazingly insightful and resourceful book that should be in every family home. This informative parenting book successfully breaks apart the notion that rivalry between siblings is inevitable by looking at the psychology behind sibling relationships. Practical and scientifically backed advice is then offered on how to maintain positive loving friendships between brothers and sisters whilst also looking at parenting styles and how our past affects our present.
The book is broken down into 4 different parts: The make-up of your family, relationship foundations, living with siblings and specific challenges. It makes dipping in and out of the book easy and readability is simplified. Usually in parenting books or during parenting courses, factors such as family size and spacing between children is not looked at. It was very enlightening to read how this can affect a child’s behaviour. I especially liked the part about how your own childhood and relationships can affect how you parent your children. Personally, this is something I learned overt the course of many years; I would have loved to have known it sooner! Reading about birthing order and how each child depending upon birth order behaves differently, really helped me to understand myself and my own siblings better also.
Like any good parenting book, Blair identifies practical and useful ways for dealing with sibling disagreements; one idea that I liked was bringing a piece of the outdoors inside like a pebble which encourages the child to be calm. It takes the idea of being in your ‘happy place’ and combines it with a simple grounding technique. This is also effective if you have children that suffer from anxiety. Another brilliant section is understanding the psychology behind rivalry and how it is linked to survival rather than putting it down to simple jealousy and naughty children.
Over-responsibility which is mentioned in part 3 was a real eye opener for me. As a suffer of depression it’s something I fear I am guilty of. I identified a lot with what Blair mentioned especially how it can lead to teenagers needing to control and impose their way of doing things on to others because they have been given so much responsibility in the home. It’s difficult to get teenagers to open up and we don’t always think about how our actions affect others, so it was great insight into how my daughter may be feeling.
The last section of the book looks at challenges such as divorce, death of a child, adoption and special needs. Had there been a chapter on raising children as a single parent, especially those already affected negatively by divorce it would have been great. I guess that can be the theme for her next book!
Siblings is a great treasure of a book. It is fully backed up with scientific studies to support Blair’s theories and advice and compliments parenting courses whilst going into issues a little deeper. I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.