One of the things I want most for our family is a loving family culture, where unkindness and fighting isn’t part of the daily makeup of our lives.
But with three children all fairly close in age (they are each about two years apart), this can be a tall order.
Probably just about every parent can relate to those moment where you can’t take the bickering and teasing any longer and you just want to scream, “Can’t you all just get along?!”
I know I’m not alone in that because there are lots of great books out there to help you foster peace and cooperation in your house and reduce the needling and irritation that so often accompanies sibling relationships.
These seven books are full of practical advice for parents (plus a couple for kids to help them think about sibling relationships too).
- Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This duo made a name for themselves with How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, and followed up with this super helpful and readable book. It’s full of tools you can start incorporating immediately to help your children develop a positive relationship and reduce conflict and competition. I also love that they talk about how to be fair without being perfectly equal (hasn’t every parents struggled with this?).
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life by Dr. Laura Markham. All of Dr. Markham’s books focus on the emotional bond between parents and children, and this book is no exception – she gives hands-on ideas about how to connect with multiple children to create a loving family culture where conflict between siblings isn’t necessary. And the relationships skills she teaches won’t just benefit your child as a sibling, but also in adult romantic relationships, at work and school, and as a parent themselves someday.
- It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker. Of course you want your child to be kind and compassionate, but when you’re in the trenches, it can be surprisingly difficult to figure out what actually leads to that outcome. Shumaker helps you figure out what really works for raising children who can get along and care for others, and what “rules” you can just ignore. This book is a total breath of fresh air!
- Beyond Sibling Rivalry: How To Help Your Children Become Cooperative, Caring and Compassionate by Peter Goldenthal Ph.D. I love this book because it looks at sibling rivalry as part of a whole family environment, rather than existing in a bubble, and gives lots of guidelines and tools for helping strengthen all family relationships which naturally leads to less sibling conflict. There are also ideas for working through all sorts of typical sibling issues, which is really useful.
- How to Prevent and Manage Sibling Rivalry Among Brothers by David Leads. The relationships between brothers have always been complicated, with enormous opportunities for good or conflict. This book gives advice for creating a family team where brothers work together, starting from the very young years, and also helps adults recognize and repair their own relationships with their brothers to create more generations of siblings who love and respect each other. If you have boys, this is a book you’ll want to pick up immediately. Now I’m just hoping for a version about sisters.
- The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies. This juvenile fiction book kicked off the wildly popular Lemonade War series, with a brother and sister duo who struggle to get along, thanks to their very different personalities and abilities. When they challenge each other to sell the most lemonade, the competition escalates into something much bigger than they could have imagined.
- Babies Ruin Everything by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr. This picture book is a lighthearted take on the difficulties of sibling relationships right from the beginning. In the beginning, the older sister is convinced that this new baby is a nightmare, but eventually she realizes that maybe the problem is that SHE isn’t much of a big sister to him. Is it all perfect? Of course not, but it’s real and sweet and a great introduction for children struggling with a sibling, brand-new or not.
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