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"Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me!": The Solution to Sibling Bickering Paperback – August 26, 2003

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Frequently Bought Together

"Mom, Jason's Breathing on Me!": The Solution to Sibling Bickering + The Secret of Parenting: How to Be in Charge of Today's Kids--from Toddlers to Preteens--Without Threats or Punishment + Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall: A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager, Revised and Updated
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (August 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345460928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345460929
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wolf, a child psychologist, author (Get Out Of My Life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?), lecturer and father of two (now grown) children, begins by assuring parents they needn't be perfect. In fact, he suggests a fairly hands-off approach, advising parents to simply not get involved in their children's bickering-related drama (unless there's danger of imminent harm). He grounds this methodology in three basic rules: don't take sides, act whenever you start getting irritated and never listen to what's going on. He also explains why siblings bicker (the number one reason: trying to get a parent on their side) and addresses many tangential aspects of childrearing (e.g., how to instill self-esteem). Through a mix of real and fictional anecdotes, the author not only provides persuasive arguments for his theories, but also gives parents ammunition through tried-and-true tactics (separation is a quick fix), turning the last half of the book into a very useful parental primer.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Wolf, a practicing clinical psychologist, explores one of the greatest banes of parenting--sibling bickering, those incredibly irritating back-and-forths that defy conciliation. His simple solution is a three-part plan. Rule one: Don't take sides. Rule two: Act fast or not at all. Rule three: Don't listen. Unless an argument threatens to escalate into violence (in which case parents should separate the combatants), Wolf recommends that parents not get involved. According to Wolf, the primary cause of sibling bickering is to get a parent to take sides. By refusing to do so, parents can defuse arguments. If parents can discern that a child wants attention in the form of a hug, go ahead and comply, but don't listen to any charges against a sibling. Wolf offers an array of stories of sibling disputes from his own childhood, raising his two children, and his practice. He also explores how parents can teach fairness to children while remaining above the fray. It's an insightful approach that parents may consider worth a try. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D., is a practicing clinical psychologist and the author of many bestselling books. He has worked with children and adolescents for more than thirty years and lectures widely on parenting topics. He lives in Suffield, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you really want to change the way your kids act torwards each other, read this book.
Its advice IS somewhat counter-intuitive. For example Dr. Wolf explains why if your daughter Sally is sitting on her brother's back slugging him (but not really harming him) you should NEVER say: "Hey Sally stop it".
He points out that it is just as effective to say: "Hey, the TWO of you, cut that out." He shows why this statement is much less likely to lead to the annoying protestations that Sally would otherwise make (like "he hit me first.") And how not "taking sides" will significantly reduce sibling fighting.
We have always used Dr. Wolf's methods with our kids (they are explained in less detail in his other books.) A friend recently asked me how come my kids got along so much better than hers. I suggested she read this book. She called me two weeks later to say that the book had changed her whole family's life.
Oh, and its also VERY, VERY Funny!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joni on February 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just read this book and was actually sorry to get to the end. Like it was a great novel or something! I can't wait to try this with my kids. I have three boys, two of whom are close in age. They are pretty well-behaved in most areas but the fighting is constant and often physical. It is bad enough that I prefer to split them up when we need babysitters so that my family and friends don't have to deal with it.

I have been trying to follow "Siblings Without Rivalry" but have trouble coming up with the right things to say. This method sounds a lot less complicated and easy to implement.

As for the language - I find it amusing that a person can open a book, look at a few pages and decide that the author has no morals. If this person had actually READ the book, they might have noticed that there is a lot said about raising your children with solid values and integrity. The only problem I really have with him using the "f" word is that it turns off people who could really use this book. I don't allow my kids to speak like that but don't see why the author using it to show how some kids act is a big deal. I cringed when I read it because I knew that, like The Catcher in the Rye, many people would ignore the other thousands of words in the book and focus on only that one.

Maybe it is the author's litmus test - if you're so judgmental that you would discount an entire method of child-rearing without even looking into it based on one word the author uses in dialogue in the book (he uses it in quotes when one person is speaking to another), then maybe he doesn't think you could use the method properly since most of it is about being a non-judging adult. Hmmm?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By P. Gould VINE VOICE on January 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book a few weeks ago, read it immediately (it's a quick read), and started using Dr. Wolf's advice with my two elementary aged kids. His advice is right-on. Here's what I like about his approach:

1. It's simple. You don't have to remember exactly what to say or use precise techniques. You just have to remember the philosophy: be loving but don't get involved in the fights.
2. It's kind. I really dislike parenting books that recommend that you be detached or unpleasant with your kids. Although Dr. Wolf recommends not getting involved in fights, he does recommend offering love and sympathy when the kids feel upset.
3. My kids love it. My older child actually told me that he's relieved that I refuse to take sides any more. He said that I was wrong about who's fault things were "at least 50% of the time."
4. Not getting involved in other people's fights is a good moral value to role-model for the kids.
5. I feel less exhausted when the kids fight. I don't feel a responsibility to be involved--and so I don't feel irritated with them. When the bickering itself becomes irritating, I follow Wolf's advice and separate them.
6. The kids are fighting a lot less! Knowing that they will have to work out their own disagreements has made them more likely to compromise before a fight begins.
7. When they do fight, they make up much faster. The emotional impact of bickering is less when a parent isn't called in to judge right or wrong, good or bad, and punishment or reprieve.
8. My younger child is learning to stand up for herself.
9. My older child is learning not to push too far.
10. Both kids are learning how to solve fights by listening to each other, compromising, and/or just letting things go.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nature Mom w/ 2 children + EE & Management degrees on March 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
From the first page of the book, you'll find practical tips to cut down the bickering among siblings. My favorite tip was learning not to even say my children's names when they're bickering and just say "the two of you - that's enough". I appreciate the explanations for why it's important to let them work things out whenever you can tolerate the bickering and no one is being seriously hurt. He also explains the differences between a sibling telling a child they're "smelly and stupid" and a classmate... and why it means you might not have to interfere at that moment when siblings say mean things like that to eachother.
This is a great companion book to my favorite sibling book, "Siblings without Rivalry". They're both worth having. Read them, apply them, and get ready for more peace and quiet!
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