My second child is coming soon, so I picked up Siblings Without Rivalry. Actually I listened to the audio book, provided free by NLB. I recommend the audio book because there’s many conversations between parents and children, so a narration with emotion is helpful.
This post is what I’ve learnt.
Don’t treat every child equally. Treat every child uniquely.
You cannot give every child equal time/resource.
You should not buy the same thing for every child, just to be fair.
Instead, treat every child uniquely, providing to their unique individual needs.
This is still a golden rule. As one of my favorite quote says:
Comparison is the thief of joy
With your kids, the more you should never mention the other one. Just say your piece, without mentioning other names.
Even when you are complimenting.
“You’ve done well” instead of “You’ve done better than Kate”.
How to talk?
Many of the techniques are the same in the first book.
- Listen and acknowledge
- Let them say their feelings
- Describe the problem you see, without judgement
- You say your feelings eg. “It hurts me to see you 2 fight”
- Let them come out with the solutions
It is even more important in a multi-children environment to let them figure out their solutions. Because parents won’t always be around.
The exercise is also a good social skill.
How to share toy?
The general policy in the house should be:
Every thing in the house can be shared.
Take daddy’s stuff for example. If any one wants to use my camera, or my fancy colored pens, they can.
But, there are things that we hold dearly to, and no one should touch without permission (laptop, phone). We have the rights to refuse to share. Keep that few, and perhaps label them.
I also frequently repeat a tagline:
We share, we always share.
Still, there are times when my child does not want to share. In those situations, respect their decisions. But later on when emotion recedes, let them know how others feel, and the consequences.