RBOC

  • Read the 1987 version of Siblings without Rivalry and was reminded why I hate parenting books that don’t come with a research base. (I didn’t want to buy a copy, and the library sent me an older edition.) It was like… well, they turned out to be prescient on this mindset stuff, they were totally wrong on the tattling bit, some of this stuff is what our Montessori does so it probably has a research base (since the director teaches childhood development) and it seems to work, I’ve seen what happens to the kids whose parents do this other recommended thing and it isn’t pretty… what about this other stuff that I wouldn’t do naturally– I can’t evaluate it. Good? Bad? Crackpot? Visionary? Can’t say. Why again did I read another parenting book?  (It did take less than two hours to get through and I read most of it while soaking in the tub.)
  • What was really typical of parenting books was how the last chapter basically said, “All these adults are screwed up because their parents didn’t follow the things laid out in this book.”  This was in the context of, “but it isn’t too late, they can apply them now and make peace with their estranged adult sibs,” but really the underlying message is, “you’re going to screw your kids up too if you don’t follow what we tell you to do.”  I call BS.
  • With all the depressing election and war news, I spend a lot of time flipping to the local top-40 station (normally I would flip to the local heavy metal station, but when the auto shop people reset the check engine light the other week, they also disappeared my pre-set radio stations and I can’t find the heavy metal/hard rock/alternative station… and I never remember to try to find it except when I’m driving which isn’t really safe).  I’m surprised to find that I’m liking the current music– lots of patter songs (I guess these days it’s hip hop) with clever and interesting lyrics and good messages and some cheerful throw-backs songs to my youth.  Ballads really bore me and I cannot stand techno or boring repetition, so I’m a pretty happy camper.
  • The other night I had a nightmare that I had to hire Lindsay Lohan as an RA.
  • Elizabeth Warren is a little younger than my mother and making a difference in government circles.  My mother’s academic career is taking off again now that’s she’s stepped down from administration.  The chair of my department has just taken a prestigious 2 year government job.  Look at Hilary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.  I wonder what I will be doing in my 60s– it seems like some careers really accelerate at that point.   Or maybe women are just now being allowed to do things, so those 60 year olds should have been making bigger splashes in their 30s but could not for structural reasons.  I prefer to think that I have 30+ years to make good.  :)
  • My feet are puffy.  :(
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 32 Comments »

32 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    Some of us don’t WANT to re-connect with our siblings. Really, once you’re adults, if you wouldn’t be friends if you weren’t related, then you probably don’t need to be friends just because you are related. And it has to go both ways: attempting to re-connect with people who don’t much care one way or the other about you is a recipe for turning into their doormat. I think whether people get on with their siblings as adults has at least as much to do with the individual personalities than with anything parents did or didn’t do, unless parents set out to try to turn kids against each other.

  2. Pamela Says:

    Parenting books are like relationship books–no science needed, just good marketing skill.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      YUP. And often that marketing skill takes the form of “here have an additional layer of guilt”… they’re like abusive partners. You can’t leave because they want to make you think nobody else will love you like the abusive books.

  3. feMOMhist Says:

    I wonder what I will be doing in my 60s– it seems like some careers really accelerate at that point. Or maybe women are just now being allowed to do things, so those 60 year olds should have been making bigger splashes in their 30s but could not for structural reasons. I prefer to think that I have 30+ years to make good. :)

    YES PLEASE

  4. hush Says:

    I’ve enjoyed several parenting books with a screwy and/or non-existent research methodology going on in them (including SWR), and I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that I am not an easy person to scare.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t think it has anything to do with scaring, I just think if there’s no research base and there’s no any kind of base (books that are the collected wisdom of things that worked for women on an online forum have been helpful as well) other than what some random author who has no reason to actually know anything thinks, that it’s a waste of time. It could be good advice or it could screw things up, who knows. Sometimes, as in this case, we find out 20 years later that some of the advice actually screws things up. (Just like following early editions of BabyWise caused babies Failure To Thrive.) Maybe it’s worth getting the more recent edition of SWR, but given the lack of cites in the earlier edition, I’m going to give it a pass.

  5. Ree Says:

    Would love to know if you come across good advice books for handling sibling relationships. I can’t even get my four- and two-year-old to hold hands, and I hope they turn out to have a better relationship. I don’t how to model, as my brother and I didn’t come to terms until our mid-20s.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We would love it too! Not everything in SWR is bad… I think a lot of the good stuff is the same stuff that they teach at our excellent preschool montessori that isn’t just limited to kids, but to all child (really all human) interactions. It’s just difficult to tell what’s good and what’s harmful in the book because they say things without a research base.

      You know what, I think I’ll turn this into an ask the grumpies post– I’d also like some information on what actually works or doesn’t work for better sibling relationships!

      • oilandgarlic Says:

        Sibling relationship post would be interesting.
        Re: Puffy feet..wow, you’re close to the arrival of #2, aren’t you!?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The doctor said, “make sure the baby waits until I get back from vacation”, but yeah, as of today the baby would no longer be premature (still pre-term, according to most of the internet, but not premature).

    • rented life Says:

      FWIW, my brother and I fought as kids, or played alone, not really connecting until we were in our teens and remain friends now.

      • chacha1 Says:

        My sister and I did fine as kids, fought like cats as teens, then got a good few years away from each other during our respective college careers. Since reconnecting in our early twenties we have never lived near to each other, but have gotten closer emotionally and now consider each other important friends.

        I can’t help thinking the biggest stressor on our relationship was environment. Our parents had moved us to a house in the woods and we were pretty much sequestered there. Too close, for too long – no way to get away from each other and not really any way to start developing adult personalities. We had to get away for it to work.

        My completely ignorant advice as a non-parent is, if two siblings close in age don’t get along, put them in different schools. In the same school, they have to compete just the way they do at home.

  6. Que Sera Says:

    Keep those feet elevated! Is it bad that I have yet to read a parenting book?

  7. DrLizzyMoore Says:

    My feet are puffy too…..and my hands….

    • Julie R Says:

      Puffy hands and feet can be a symptom of preeclampsia. Please talk to your doctor if the trend continues.

      Random PSA from a Preeclampsia survivor.

  8. bogart Says:

    Ooh, sorry about the puffy feet (and the bad books; that’s one of many I haven’t read).

  9. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I kind of love pop music. I blame my daughter but really it’s because it’s dancey and singable. There ARE some with good healthy messages but there are others with the complete opposite. I hate those.

    What field is your momma in?

  10. Cloud Says:

    Hmmm. I read Siblings w/o Rivalry and liked it. But I didn’t read it critically- just looking for ideas. I think that’s how I read most parenting advice: as ideas I can try. Even the research backed stuff is subject to change because our knowledge is incomplete, research is always ongoing. Also, there is always the chance that your kid is an outlier and so even solid research won’t work on him/her.

    On the siblings front- I think luck plays a huge role. Our kids are doing great together so far, but I’m not sure we can claim much credit for that!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You probably also did not read the 1987 version. It’s very blamey, but so apparently are many self-help books from that time period. It’s not really written in an ideas format, it’s written “here’s how you’re destroying your kids” and “here’s what you should do instead”– complete with Goofus and Gallant parent illustrations! Except we know now, in 2012 that they were exactly wrong about some things and right about others, even though they talk as if they’re omniscient. (Conventional wisdom is not cognitive science research.)

      I like to think I can evaluate research and see probabilities and how comprehensive the evidence is (and does it take into account outliers etc.). It’s one of those social science skillz. I don’t want just the citation but also what they did to find their results. (Though with the citation I can read the original research and evaluate it directly if I want to.)

      I also have more faith in the collected stories of things that worked and didn’t work for people (as one finds in forums sometimes, especially when everybody is allowed to share their own stories) than I do abstract theory that isn’t based on reality.

  11. Ask the Grumpies: Siblings getting along | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured Says:

    […] noted in a previous post, #1 wasn’t all that impressed with the first edition of Siblings Without Rivalry that she […]


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