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Calm Parents, Happy Siblings

Calm Parents, Happy Siblings
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"Full of great advice"

To be honest when I first came across this book, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Before reading and going by the title I didn't think there would be much in the book that I could relate to. That's not to say that I think I think myself to be the perfect parent. I suppose I didn't think that there are that many issues between my 5year old & my 7 month old Daughter. I found the introduction to be really friendly. Dr Laura Markham has a great way with words and the tone implied that if you are struggling with your children's behaviour, you are not a bad parent. You just need to teach them the correct techniques to deal with their anger/frustration/jealousy. Wow, what a great outlook to have. I could tell from the off that the book is not out to judge our parenting/children, but point us both in the right direction, and work out how to move forward together. The book is split in to several chapters and there is a great contents list given in the front of the book to help you find any sections that you need. This will definitely prove valuable when referring back to a section to refresh my memory or use at a later date. Part one focuses on Calm parenting. It begins with a bit of info on how calm parenting helps within your family, before giving you advice on techniques to help you remain calm. It then moves on to the effects that remaining calm can have when addressing your children. I found pretty much all of this advice to be helpful. Even though a some of the ideas seem to be common sense, it is great to have them written down in one place. Dr Markham introduces the idea of 'time in' as oppose to the 'time out' routine, and thoroughly explains how the theory works giving real life scenarios. Part two is titled 'teaching calm', and gives more helpful tips about getting your children to open up & communicate their feelings. I especially like the parts where it gives text of conversations between a child, their sibling and a parent on how to remain calm when resolving conflict. There is also a section on 'Coaching kids to problem-solve' which looks at possible problems that may occur between siblings and ways to go about solving them. This includes rules that the children may be able to come up with themselves. Having a Daughter under 1, part 3 certainly appealed to me the most. We made sure our 5 year old was included as much as possible both during the pregnancy, and after her sister arrived. Most of the time she is great with her, but there are still the understandable acts of jealousy, or frustration at having to wait her turn for something. The book provides some great advice on an older child regressing once a sibling arrives, and also how to jungle routines such as bedtime to make it as less of a disruption as possible. This section also gives helpful tips to encourage good relationships between siblings from the beginning. Overall, Calm Parents, Happy Siblings has certainly given me a new outlook on life. It is a very interesting and helpful read, and I will definitely be keeping it close so that I can re-read sections, and put some of the theories into practice. Since reading this book I have also suggested that a couple of my friends get themselves a copy too. Well worth the money, and I am sure a complete Godsend to most parents.

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"Brilliant book - makes you think! "

During my pregnancy with my 21 month old boy - my first baby - I read so many parenting books. I knew exactly what he should do and when, what the perfect first weaning foods were, what the difference was between the different formula powders, which beakers were best, which bottles helped with reflux, and how to ensure he was a chilled out baby. You name the book, and I'd read it! Fast forward 14 months, and I'm pregnant with my second little boy, and I'm ashamed to say I did nothing - no research, no books, no Googling. Nothing! I suppose I subconsciously thought I already knew what I needed to know, but also I just didn't have that much free time any more! However, when I came across "Calm Parents, Happy Siblings" I was instantly intrigued - my youngest is now 7 months old, and for the most part the 2 boys get on really well. but I know that without any experience we were bound to make mistakes when it comes to getting the boys to bond. So I eagerly devoured this book over just a few sittings...and I have to say, it is a real eye-opener! I follow "Babycalm" on Facebook, and I share more of their articles than any other - I adore the gentle parenting style, not calling your children 'naughty' or concentrating on discipline and punishment. You are encouraged to allow your children to develop at their own rate, into their own little person, without heavy-handed guidance from yourselves. My husband, however, was raised rather more roughly, and takes a lot of guidance in terms of what is appropriate when it comes to communicating with our eldest. He is much too negative, loud and confrontational. I wish he would read this book, as I think it would really get through to him why it isn't appropriate to behave that way, and the negative impact it can have on children. As it is, I had to be content with reading it myself, and reading aloud the most relevant and thought-provoking points, and encourage open discussion about our differing styles. Even I, already a fan of this gentle parenting style, learnt a lot from this book - and I can't wait to put it all into practice, to encourage our boys to become thick as thieves! Dr Laura Markham has some fantastic advice on nurturing this bond - swapping time-outs for time-ins has had an instant impact on our eldest, and understanding that to expect him to share all his toys and books, and be happy about it, is unreasonable. We have made his bedroom into a 'little brother free zone', and he knows that what he plays with in there, or takes up there overnight, is for him alone - and it has actually encouraged him in sharing some of the toys he is not so possessive of. I am more conscious of getting down to his level when he is having that typical toddler meltdown over some minor issue, and explaining WHY we need him to put his shoes on/stand his beaker up/stop biting his brothers' fingers. At 21 months he is still quite young for this, and much of the other advice, but he certainly already appreciates this more empathetic response to what we might consider 'naughtiness'. As my youngest reaches a similar age, I think the advice will really come into its own, and I look forward to implementing Dr Markham's advice - which isn't remotely patronising (as I'd feared), and is easy to understand. The book itself is great quality - the cover is good and strong, and the pages are securely bonded - lucky, since I feel I will be referring back to this book often over the years! Considering that, at £12.99 I think the book is an excellent purchase - it is definitely not a throwaway, read-once book.I an definitely recommend this book to any parents with more than one child - I would go so far as to say it could be considered an essential, particularly with more than 1 boy.

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"Very informative, a real eye opener"

Hand on heart I have never read a parenting book, I've always been the type of person to take things as they come. I have an 8 month old son and a little terror who has just turned 3. I have found it quite difficult to divide my time, especially with my older son, I didn't want him to feel jealous. I think to a certain degree it was inevitable that he would struggle to adjust to life with a sibling and without my undivided attention 24/7. So I read this book and I have to say it has helped me deal with quite a lot, mainly the relationship between my boys. I really want them to grow up being close to each other and realise how important their relationship is. After implementing some changes and following advice from Dr Laura Markham my household is far more harmonious. My boys have a much better relationship and I feel confident that their bond will continue to grow. In my opinion this book is priceless, the bond between my boys is well worth the price tag!

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"Fantastic Advice"

I am mum to two boys - a 3 year old and a 7 month old. I regularly purchased parenting books to help me with parenting advice and tips for my first - from structuring routines to handling toddler tantrums. I'd not come across Dr Laura Markham before but I knew with having two boys I'd need to be careful on how I'd steer their relationship from an early age. It is so important to me that they value each other and become good friends for life. The book and advice just makes sense. I found myself regularly agreeing with the author. Some advice completely conflicts with what I'd been doing such as "time in's" rather than "time out's". I liked the idea of discussing what each child is feeling during a fight and to assist or coach them with developing a solution to the issue together. Family meetings, one on one time with each child, personal space and belongings (to not force your child to share) are just a few of the ways Dr Laura suggests can help with raising happy, well adjusted children and siblings. I'm sure I will be referring back to this book on many a future occasion in raising my happy family. Great book with excellent advice!

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"informative reading"

I had never heard of the author before and have actually never really read any 'advice books' on children and parenting apart from ones on pregnancy and birth but have looked online at certain information into the likes of information on child behaviour. Although I have never been interested in reading advice books, I do absoultley love reading so thought I should give it a try. I have a 2 year old son and a 4 year old daughter and they both rub each other up the wrong way. My son is not communicating yet and gets very frustrated and can lash out especially at his sister but also at his dad and me. He is more than happy to play by himself with his cars where as his sister is constantly wanting to play with someone and needs attention and will start to get into his personal space and annoy him if he doesn't want to play with her. this in turn leads him to get angry and hit her, pull her hair and push her which he then gets either put onto the naughty step or into his room. I obviously will give my daughter into trouble for invading his space but I never give her time out just because she hasn't 'lashed out'. Dr Markham points out a bit that completely makes sense even when I thought at the times I was doing it that I was helping, that actually punishment putting a child into there room is only basically isolating them and the problem is not being solved they are just calming down for basically the sake of getting out of there room where I should be sitting with both children together discussing what the issues are with each other. This is only one out of many many examples I could give about this book pointing out such information that is deffinatley food for thought and makes you think about your own behaviour. The book is in no way patronising and is very easy to read and follow. There is no big jargon that's hard to understand. I very much enjoyed this book and will constantly use it as a reference book. I am already researching into the authors other books as I am now quite interested in other advice she has The book is £12.99 and is very much worth the price

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