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.
We’d love advice on this too. (Well, actually only #1 really cares, #2 is childfree by choice and intends to remain so. But she puts up with #1 anyway.)
As noted in a previous post, #1 wasn’t all that impressed with the first edition of Siblings Without Rivalry that she read. Some of the info was good, some was obvious, and some was exactly wrong and potentially dangerous. Without a good research base to help separate the wheat from the chaff, she can’t really recommend it as a good advice book for handling sibling relationships. Perhaps the most recent edition is better, we don’t know.
My main concern is not that the kids are bosom buddies or whatever… I just want a peaceful home in which everyone knows they’re on the same team, our family team. I wanna be able to say, “Hey guys, knock that off,” and then blessed silence descends. Perhaps not the goal of every parent when it comes to sibling relations, but I’m big on autonomy.
My sister and I are quite a few years apart and my parents did a lot of stuff that the SWR book said not to.. basically putting me in the role of second parent. But it worked out, especially when my parents had to live apart for their careers. I liked being responsible. My sister kept out of trouble with me in charge. We got along reasonably well, though with the occasional catty remark, but only if my parents were around (she still does this!), and a large portion of growing up when I wanted to be left alone and she was bored and wanted attention (I guess I’m still an introvert and she’s still an extrovert). We don’t really socialize as adults for fun other than family outings (there’s really a generational X/Y difference) but she’s a fantastic aunt and we’ll call each other up for advice on one thing or another. She knows that if she needs a place for her and 10 of her displaced friends to crash until power is restored in the city, our guest bedroom is available. I know that if we need to be picked up from the airport in the city at midnight she’ll get out of bed. (Or if I need to be rescued in the city from getting my car hit by a pick-up truck and losing my front bumper, she’ll take care of things and tie the bumper back on and send me on my way.) That’s what family does. “We take care of our own,” is a common phrase in my mom’s extended family. And we do.
My DH gets along quite well with his siblings. He’s also about the same number of years older than his brother, but they’re really good friends and have been as long as DH can remember (along with a slightly older cousin of theirs, making a trifecta). There’s another year between him and his sister after that. He and his sister have always gotten along but they don’t have much in common. His little brother and little sister did a lot of squabbling with each other growing up, but mostly left DH alone. I’m not sure why things were like that. Would he have squabbled with his brother if there had been no little sister? Or would they have gotten along just fine anyway?
One thing that we’re going to try is all those nifty mediation techniques that DC’s preschool teaches the kids. Maybe the same things that help kids get along with unrelated kids will help them get along with siblings. It’s worth a shot anyway.
Do/Did you have a good relationship with your sibs? Is there peace among the children in your household? If so, what’s your secret? And do you have any good books to recommend to Ree?