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Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
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Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  3,377 ratings  ·  453 reviews
Already best-selling authors with How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish turned their minds to the battle of the siblings. Parents themselves, they were determined to figure out how to help their children get along. The result was Siblings Without Rivalry. This wise, groundbreaking book gives parents the practical ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 9th 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published April 1st 1987)
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Tamara
Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

I am going to record my notes, so I have a place to keep them.
- When siblings complaining, just try and repeat back what they are saying (helps them understand and validate feelings)
- If younger child gets pushed down accidentally, say, "Oh know you didn't want that to happen, you were having so much fun together (reminds of good relationship)
- Write signs on kids to remind the older sibling. (ex. "When I scream
...more
Francisco Herrero
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca
September 28, 2011

At the rate we're going, some of us won't make it out alive. It could be me. It could be one of the girls. Or both of them! Or all three of us! Desperate times. Hoping for a miracle here.

October 4, 2011

I don't know how many stars to give this book, because I haven't fully put it to the test yet. Four for now. I've tried a few little changes and they've actually helped tremendously!!! But I'm trying to not get too excited. I'll come back and update in a month or so. This is the
...more
Laura
Eh, it was okay. I know I said I liked it, but it's really because it did what it promised to do - gave me a few things to try in my home to help my children get along better with each other. Not trying to treat kids equally, spending quality time with each, helping them problems solve... good information, crappy format and perspective.

The writing was literally painful for two reasons. First, the "discussion" format got old after about page 3, and second I take serious issue with the analogy of
...more
Vonette
There is some helpful info here, and it reads quickly. But the writing style got on my nerves after about 3 chapters! It's written in a pseudo-narrative format including dialogue, told from the point of view of the leader of a group of parents who are learning how to help their children get along. The dialogue sounds canned and repetitive. The note at the beginning makes it clear that the whole narrative is fictionalized -- based on true experiences of real parents but after awhile it all starts ...more
Amy
Written by the same authors of "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk." As with most of these types of books, all that they needed to say could probably be summed up in a chapter or two, but they pad it with a lot of stories. The most helpful points I found were illustrated in cartoon form. If you got the book and just read the cartoons, you'd have about 90% of the meat of the book. The strongest advice is accepting the children's feelings, even bad feelings toward one a ...more
Gail
In “Siblings Without Rivalry,” Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish do something they didn’t manage to accomplish in “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk”: they set themselves apart from the rest of the parenting prescription pack. Though I found the book’s central conceit – that it retells the exchanges of one composite parenting workshop – perpetually annoying, the actual advice specific to fostering healthy and happy sibling relationships has proved invaluable in my house ...more
Jessie
Sep 14, 2010 Jessie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents, grandparents, teachers
Recommended to Jessie by: LLL Leader
I found their advice to treat children uniquely rather than equally to make a ton of sense!

The book is making me think back to my childhood a LOT and has so many awesome solutions for some of my memories growing up with 2 brothers & 2 sisters and the way my parents chose to handle things. It's funny, I always thought that one day when I was a parent, I was going to be as fair as Solomon and came up with all the right answers... yet reading the book I've learned that no matter what decision t
...more
PhilorChelsy
Use Words for feelings, make wishes, do a creative/symbolic activity (Hang a "private property" sign on door)
"People are not for hurting." (tell with words)
Draw a pictures
Write it out
"Insisting upon good feelings between children leads to bad feelings.
Allowing for bad feelings between siblings leads to good feelings."

Don't try to make equal: focus on individual NEEDS (feelings, time, etc) and uniqueness of each child
Don't give attention to the aggressor: pay attention to the injured party instea
...more
Lewis Manalo
This book probably isn't 100% useless, but it's pretty damn near. It takes for granted that our children have no minds of their own, and that as parents we are almost entirely responsible for who our kids grow up to be.

- The early chapters use a ridiculous polygamy metaphor to try to illustrate how children feel about siblings, depicting jealousy as the only emotion two people loved by the same person could feel for one another.

- The book offers nothing other than anecdotal evidence for the so
...more
Andrea Thorpe
This was a really easy read and I got a lot out of it. I think the biggest challenge for me is to stay out of my boys fights and not create a triangle. This book helped cure me of that. This topic is a work in progress! It reminded me that sibling rivalry is a natural part of growing up. And, that not taking sides brings them closer together, because they don't feel that mom is giving one of them preferential treatment. This book is filled with anecdotal evidence and stories from people that are ...more
Mehrsa
Very helpful tips, but I think it's geared more toward older children. It is a very readable book and story-based, which is helpful. It's also pretty sane parenting and the advice is practical. I have been trying some of the ideas with my toddlers, but the suggestions are all about talking through issues and it's harder to do that with a 3 and 1 year old than I thought it would be. It is a huge issue though and I would love recommendations on how to stop my girls from fighting (or more specifica ...more
Craig
Perhaps every self-help book seems amazing to people who are lacking the skills it's trying to teach. That's certainly the case here with me. If you're the type of person from whom mediating disputes comes naturally, perhaps you'll find this book obvious and repetitive. But I found it an endless source of ideas and inspiration. It's not so much the general principles that struck me -- even I don't need to be told how pernicious it is to compare siblings, or to get into a place where I have to re ...more
Miruna
Loved and took the advice. Should be reread once a year:)
Stacey
This book gave me some very good ideas about sibling relationships. As an only child, I was completely unaware of how to deal with sibling rivalry issues. The main take home messages I learned were 1) to(most of the time, at least) let siblings work out their issues and 2) to never say "I love you the same" to your kids. I disagreed with a few aspects of the book; notably, if my kids were doing anything truly hurtful (hitting or saying mean things, for example), I opted to intervene and teach th ...more
Mary
My kids are still very small, so I have yet to see if reading this book will bear fruit. If the techniques in this book don't work out, I'll just fall back on my own childhood experiences. All of my brothers and sisters turned out to be AWESOME so my parents must have done something very right.
Heidi
Enormously helpful for me to understand how I can influence for good or bad the kids' relationships with each other. Really, really thought provoking to look back on my own childhood and to consider how I want to handle conflicts with our own kids.
Sylvia
great book with tons of examples and case studies. the tips are applicable. and i hope i can use these great tips on my 2 kids early on to build up some positive bonding and eliminate future sibling rivalry between them.
Hannah Barry


I have 4 kids and lots of bickering between them. This book gave me lots of great ideas on how to respond when they are fighting, and how to treat them all uniquely, rather than equally. A great perspective!
Hilary
A quick read. A lot of it will not be new to people who read how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk, but a lot of good ideas. It's hard for me to say how well most of them will work, because my youngest kid is only eight weeks old! I have to keep them in mind for when sibling rivalry really arises. I also disagreed with the implication that almost all parents ruin their kids lives in one way or another due to sibling rivalry, but I don't think that's the point that the auth ...more
Lady Susan
First of all, this was a fairly quick read which is vital for a parenting book, I think. The information was clearly presented with lots of examples on how it was applied by parents. My children are young, so I can't use a lot of the "teach the children to work it out between themselves" techniques, but I did gain a lot of insight on how to interact better with my preschooler with respect to his relationship with his baby sister. I also think I need to own a copy of this book for referral and re ...more
Leenaalam
Sometimes hard to implement, but full of good advice and reminders. Would recommend for anyone with more than one kid.
Cat
Very artificial way of describing their techniques. Created a false narrative of this being her first parent group, that she had 2 boys, that there was only one author. All the parents spoke in the same voice, because it was invented after the fact. I would have much rather they present results from studies, up the complexity, acknowledge there were two authors, six children between them, and hundreds of parents' groups. I found it kind of condescending actually, the way it was simplified. Thoug ...more
Brooke
I feel funny rating this book with stars because I haven't had a chance to use all the techniques described yet. But I am determined to give them a chance to work because the methods described to stop sibling fights seem quite sound. I would say that it's important for both parents to read the book so they can get on the same page.

As far as the writing style goes, it's a bit cheesy at times. I did roll my eyes a bit, especially when someone in the focus group says something like, "Golly I sure
...more
Krys
I am an only child so I was looking for a book that would give me some insight on raising multiple children. I feel a little "meh" about this book. I truly hate the comparison the author makes between siblings and polygamy. I just don't believe that the addition of a sibling is like a second or thrid wife entering the family.

I found myself skipping over all the stories included because they have no barring to me at this time. I was hoping for more information on how to start the relationship be
...more
Gail
In “Siblings Without Rivalry,” Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish do something they didn’t manage to accomplish in “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk”: they set themselves apart from the rest of the parenting prescription pack. Though I found the book’s central conceit – that it retells the exchanges of one composite parenting workshop – perpetually annoying, the actual advice specific to fostering healthy and happy sibling relationships has proved invaluable in my house ...more
Jamie
This might sound weird, but I found this book INCREDIBLY stressful. Overwhelmingly stressful. It was well written, it covers a broad range of areas that might brook rivalry between siblings, and it gives great examples and pointers.

But it places a HEAVY emphasis on the fact that there are TONS of things we as parents need to be doing to eliminate sibling discord--down to the refusal to compare children's differences in abilities based on their age. (I am totally cool with supporting everybody eq
...more
Amy
Powell's Book and Barnes & Noble got a mere excerpt of this review, but you, my unlucky GoodReads friends, are going to be subject to the full version; wherein I use inane metaphors and prattle on and on and on, in an attempt to drain an abscess in my heart.
Please wash hands before returning to work.
***************

The subtitle to this book reads: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

Sound nice, doesn't it?

Currently at the Wachsmuth Home...

I finished this book over a m
...more
Elisabeth
I didn't think I needed this book. But at insistence of my son's therapist I read it. So glad I did. Amazing book. I absolutely love the format. Best self-help book structure ever. Lots of great advice, in a format that's easy to take in and figure out how to apply it all. I plan to read the book over again and use it as a schedule/guide for applying each of the skills. Probably the most practical parenting book I've read.

The book was written in a first person narrative as if following the stor
...more
Jen Marin
I am very glad to have revisited this classic work on sibling rivalry. I first read it while pregnant with my 2nd child, and there was little I could do to actualize the learning I got from this book. Now, almost 6 years later, there is so much I needed to be reminded of.

This book reminds parents that helping our children learn to navigate their own conflict will encourage them to grow and develop these skills for themselves. Rather then stepping in and rescuing them, we can support them with ou
...more
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Adele Faber graduated from Queens College with a B.A. in theater and drama, earned her master's degree in education from New York University, and taught in the New York City high schools for eight years before joining the faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York and Family Life Institute of C.W. Post College of Long Island University. She is the mother of three children.
More about Adele Faber...
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk How To Talk So Kids Can Learn How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk Liberated Parents, Liberated Children: Your Guide to a Happier Family Siblings Without Rivalry

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“To help everyone better understand the difference between giving equally with measured amounts, and giving uniquely, in terms of each child’s legitimate needs, I handed out the following illustrations:” 0 likes
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