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Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  957 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Popular parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham, author of PEACEFUL PARENTS, HAPPY SIBLINGS, has garnered a large and loyal readership around the world, thanks to her simple, insightful approach that values the emotional bond between parent and child. As any parent of more than one child knows, though, it’s challenging for even the most engaged parent to maintain harmony and a ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by TarcherPerigee
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Danielle DeVane Wells
Update (Dec. 2019): this is my second reading of this book and it was even better this time through. Since my first reading, I have implemented practices and have seen good results just like the author says I would. I highlighted my way through this book, and I'm going to take those sections and create some notes for myself so I don't forget key ideas and practices.

1st reading: (As with almost every book I read), While I didn't agree with every conclusion or method the author puts forth, I took
Kate Winsor
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The answer is always more love!" This book was very motivating for me to be a better mom and role model for my kids. It definitely starts with me and I love how it talks about that. This book provides real life examples of dialogues you can have with your kids. Although some of the situations don't cater to my family, there were plenty of examples that I can use on some of the things my kids struggle with. I definitely need to read the first book out from the author. One more tool in the tool b ...more
Sep 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is not a book to read all the way through. Since there were some parts that did not apply to my situation. But the parts that did apply, it was very helpful. I wasn't entirely thrilled with the writing style. Sometimes it sounded a little condescending. And it was more apparent when I was listening to the audiobook. But there were many helpful things and take away from.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I think I was looking for more specifically sibling advice? Lots of focus on gentle parenting in general and most of the examples were for only two sibling families... I did appreciate acknowledging that the closer your kids are spaced the harder it is to truly be able to put out all the parenting fires simultaneously 🙈
(This book mainly focuses on avoiding sibling competition but I think the book I need talks about what to do when siblings are best friends and team up to make you crazy town/cove
May 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aborted-read
I didn't finish this book, because it got repetitive and didn't really address the younger years as well as she claimed. We have a young toddler and baby, and they are not going to be talking out and resolving issues together, and the toddler is not going to offer to share his toys with the baby. He hasn't developed any empathy yet.

This book is 80% "worked problems" where she shows how you can guide your kids through resolving their own problems within 5 exchanges or fewer. It all sounds a litt
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to this book in my car for months here and there on short trips. And overall there are a lot of good points made and a lot of things I wish I would have done/known to do when my kids were younger. Similar to her peaceful parent book it’s a lot about connecting with your children and teaching them to respect each other. The not making your kids share a toy idea is a bit weird for me (again I am almost out of this phase)...but I kind of get what she is saying- it should be on their term ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I don't see eye to eye with the author on her no punishment principles, which is the basis for her parenting philosophy. Especially at the beginning of the book it was so prevalent that I didn't think this book would be of use to me at all.
However, I really love the author's emphasis on unconditional love and her reminder to think about what you're conveying to your child through your actions. She also has many useful tips that I want to use with my own children. Eventually, these things won me
Dale Mullings
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was a good follow up the the authors former work, but it didn't resonate in the same way with me. Maybe it was that at many times I felt like the author was speaking to and quoting mothers often, and it made me feel less connected to the content as a father. There are strategies I've employed that have changed the way I parent, just not at the same magnitude as her earlier books.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, 2015
I love this author's advice and that she provides SCRIPTS of what to say. I didn't love that this book had a pretty intense summary at the beginning of the principles from her first book. I liked that it was pretty skim-able and I could read through to the sections most interesting to me.
Sep 21, 2016 rated it liked it
It was ok. There are some good ideas and I like the overall parenting philosophy. Pretty hard to get past feeling like every squabble and tantrum is the caregiver's fault though.
Lea Ann
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every time I read a Laura Markham book I vacillate between thinking I'm a terrible parent, and then that maybe I'm doing okay. As my children are getting older and conflict seems to be inevitable, Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings was a good resource to find some ways to foster their relationship.

Markham begins the book with some of the foundational precepts that made me appreciate Peaceful Parent, Happy Child, and served as good reminders of those things I have casually forgotten in the two years
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I knew I liked Markham's approach, based on her website Aha Parenting. This book was informative if a little repetitive. Gave me some new strategies to try. They are a lot of work but I think they might be helping.. hard to say. In any case, I like the premise; you don't want your kids to be kind to each other b/c they're scared not to, but because they want to be decent human beings, and your role is to coach them on how to do that.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Very helpful information about how to talk to your children and coach them to communicate with each other. I got a ton of useful, practical suggestions to put in place with my toddler and preschooler. The author has a whole section on when you're expecting another baby, that I'm going to start recommending to friends pregnant with their second (or more). I also highly recommend reading "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids."

My favorite parts:
The way you discipline your child becomes her model for working
Jan 24, 2020 rated it liked it
A rare written review!

I hated Part One so much!! I felt like it was mostly a list of nonsense and unreasonable goals:
- Tell your boss you need to leave an hour early for the foreseeable future!
- Hire a babysitter so you can spend hours of uninterrupted time with each child! (With what money now? You're already leaving work an hour early, apparently!)
- Whenever your kids needs you stop whatever you are doing immediately and attend to them with many minutes of cuddles!!!! (What is she cooking fo
Jan 14, 2015 added it
I am researching books about parenting, and specifically on siblings, because I have twins, but I won't read this author anymore. How can anyone trust Dr. Laura Markham to tell the truth in her parenting advice if she hides and ignores anything that goes against her own ideas?

I questioned an article on her blog with a comment, but comments are hidden by default. When she read my comment, rather than making it visible and commenting back with an honest conversation, she left my comment hidden and
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book takes the best parts of Siblings Without Rivalry and How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids will Talk and translates them to young kids. It starts from the same framework as Markham's Peaceful Parenting. Basically: get yourself in order first, figure out how to be aware of your own emotions and recognize when you are tired/hungry/stressed and try to head off issues before they begin. The crux of the book is about building empathy in your children and coaching them ...more
Sarah Street
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Fantastic book. Not as good overall as "Siblings Without Rivalry" HOWEVER this was (I felt) more practically useful for parents of babies and toddlers. "Siblings Without Rivalry" is still useful but geared toward parents of school-aged children. The entire third of this book is a preparation for *before* your second child even arrives, which is awesome! Lots of guidance on communication with children who aren't yet using a ton of language to communicate their needs & wants. Wish I would have pic ...more
Angela Hedworth
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. Very helpful ideas. However, the next time my kids fight, I'm going to have to grab this book and search for the correct script to use as I do not remember each detail, scenario, etc. I'm sure that will come with practice. I'm embarrassed to say some of their "don't do examples" were me! But I was already doing the validating feelings part, thanks to Tara. :) I'm going to read her other book and added both of these to my amazon wish list as I really need to be able to refe ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very useful book for parents with very young kids, specially parents with a new born and a toddler. My kids are older and the age gap is 3 years and 6, so it wasn't really useful in my case.
Erika RS
Sibling rivalry is universal. Children want the time and attention of their parents; for siblings this is an even more limited resource. Add to this that all close relationships experience some conflict and that children are still developing self regulation skills and it is no wonder siblings have conflict. However, using the techniques of peaceful parenting, parents can help children manage the inevitable conflict so that over time they become better at self-regulation and conflict resolution.

This book took me forever to get. A great resource for parenting.


Parenting gets a lot easier parents can do three very hard things:
1. Regulate our own emotions
2. Stay connected with our child, even when setting limits or the child is upset
3. Coach instead of controlling

A parent that has a better relationship with the children will then allow the children to have happier relationships with each other.

The way you discipline your child becomes the model for how your child works out inter pers
Kalisha Grimsman
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
I really enjoyed this book. The philosophical approach seemed quite in line with the authors of the Whole-Brain Child, it just dealt more specifically with sibling conflict. There were a lot of great tools given here, though I struggled a little more with how to implement them with my 2-year-olds. That being said, there were tons of real-life situational examples with all different variations, including helping younger kids with older siblings and older kids with younger siblings.

I really appre
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I found the first part of this book really inaccessible. The logic behind the techniques seemed sound and I agreed with it, but it seems almost impossible to implement her method of talking out the problem and its solutions with two upset children. I'm sure there are methods in her first book delineating in detail (BESIDES just acknowledging their viewpoint and making them feel heard) how to calm them down before talking them through how to resolve conflicts, but I wasn't given anything else in ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
A 3.5. There's a lot of useful information in here, but the content is disorganized and kind of repetitive. Still, the examples are useful, the text is empathetic to the difficulty of parenting, and the gist of positive parenting is nicely laid out the beginning. That said, Markham makes it clear that there are no easy outs. Parenting is an all-in sort of deal.

Some chapters won't apply to all folks, such as how to tell a sibling about a new baby, bringing home baby, deciding whether to do tande
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
I picked up this book many years ago when I discovered her first work on Peaceful Parent, Happy Child. But, I delayed reading it until now based on the cover (my bad). I wrongly assumed that based on the kids on the cover, this book would be about siblings who were preschool and elementary age get along. But it's not. It's about how a young toddler gets along with a new baby. Why they thought this was a good cover for that is beyond me.

Having said that, I still found some of the suggestions help
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked this book more than Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids, although a lot of the information is the same.

There are a lot of great examples in this book - which I found the most useful.

Here’s the basic breakdown:

Make sure you have individual ‘time in’ (10+ min/day) with each child.

Make sure to have established rules of conduct for things like length of time for a turn with a toy (things that happen often), etc.

When kids fight, be Switzerland. Narrate what you see, don’t place blame, and then help
George Nash
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great follow up to the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. This book assumes that you have read or are familiar with "Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids" since it makes this assumption there is not a lot of repeating things that were talked about in that book. Nothing more than a brief summary. Because of this the book really focuses on how to help siblings.

Unsurprisingly most of the book is about understanding the children's feelings and help them express the feelings. I also spends a lot of t
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Loved the concept of this book.
The final note basically summarizes it for me.

Not to be perfect, but wanting to change and be better, grow ourselves as a parent, for our children.
Preventative maintenance with each child is something I want to focus on.

Empathy and being very conscious and regulating our own emotions was something I was already working on (feel like I am improving).

Creating empathy and understanding between the children, giving them the tools to increase their own emotional intelli
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my new favorite sibling parenting book. Lots of examples of how to help children talk to each other and express their feelings.

Wish I'd found this sooner. She also has a section at the back specifically about helping children adjust to a new baby - this would be an excellent gift for a mother that was expecting a second (or even third or fourth baby).

My favorite parenting book is How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk. The authors of that book wrote Siblings Witho
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book much better than the first one, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. It gives the gist of the first book, while answering so many questions I had. I still think this parenting style is the best, yet most difficult to pull off. My only complaint is that the book is really written for parents of pre-school age children. A lot of this book, including the whole third section, I was able to skip/skim because it was written for parents with a new baby. I really wish she'd write a book for pa ...more
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