Thanks to Tamie’s recommendation after my Siblings Without Rivalry review, I got my hand on this one by the same authors. Again, it is very helpful.
It was also originally published ~30 years ago, but the suggestions and ideas in it are still relevant today. They do not seem to have updated the original book, but have added extra sections of comments and answers to questions at the back in newer editions.
The main things they deal with are:
- Helping children to identify and acknowledge their feelings, and as parents, enabling them to do so. The more I have tried this, the more challenging I have realised it is.
- Tips on engaging children to co-operate with the things they are required or expected to do, in ways they are likely to respond and take responsibility
- Alternatives to punishment – their theory is much of the time punishment is a distraction and is not dealing with the actual issue, rather problem solving is the answer. In essence, this is identifying what the real issue is and then teaching your kids how to solve it. There were helpful practical ideas here, some of which I have already put into practice in our home. Of course this cannot extend to every scenario, sometimes discipline is necessary, but it is helpful in making you think more about what you are doing in this area and why.
- Encouraging autonomy – finding ways to help your children make decisions and take responsibility for themselves
- Ways to praise effectively and accurately
- Avoiding assigning roles (this was covered much more extensively in Siblings Without Rivalry)
Husband read it too - his succinct summary was: ask, listen and don't lecture. A simple take home message.