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Balanced Parenting Newsletter

Brothers and Sisters                                                                              February, 2010

In This Issue
Brothers and Sisters: The True Love/Hate
Coffee with Bette
The Oops of Poops!
Balanced Parenting's Special Request
I am creating some new classes and products for 2010 and would love your help!
What parenting topics are most burning for you?
What is driving you crazy with your kids?
What phrases are you tired of hearing or tired of saying over and over?
Just email me with the words "new classes" in the subject line and share your family's biggest frustrations.
Thank you in advance for your help and thank you to those who have already forwarded your ideas!  

"A brother (or sister) is a friend given by Nature."
Jean Baptiste Legouve


If you enjoy reading this newsletter, please feel free to forward it to your friends.
If you have any thoughts, suggestions, class ideas, article requests, constructive criticism or otherwise great ideas, feel free to let us know! 

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Balanced Parenting - Bette Alkazian
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Welcome to our new subscribers! I hope you all find a pearl in this newsletter to take with you to add to your parenting tool belt. 
Remember the old adage "Silence is Golden"?  In our discussion of sibling love and rivalry, remember that keeping quiet is a very useful tool to keep close at hand.
Also, with Valentine's Day coming in a couple of weeks, it's a great time to remember to express your values of "family love" not only to your sweetie, but also to your kids. 
Wishing you balance,
Brothers and Sisters: To Love and Hate Simultaneously
 I decided to write about sibling relationships for this newsletter because  I have had many inquiries about this subject in the past few weeks, (not to mention that I live with it every day!)
 Something that many parents have never considered, is that parents should stay out of their kids' squabbles whenever possible because it is not their relationship.  The kids are forging their own relationships and learning the limitations of those relationships.  When we intervene every time they argue, fight or engage with each other, we are robbing them of the opportunity to learn within this most-valuable relationship.
Siblings teach each other so many things that we often don't realize.  For example, kids learn the concept of unconditional love from their sibs.  Think about it, they can be screaming and fighting with each other one minute and begging to play together the next.  What other relationships enjoy that kind of flexibility?
 Kids also learn compassion from living together.  When one child is struggling in some way (illness, disability, challenges, etc...) the other kids are watching, absorbing and hopefully stepping in to be helpful when possible.  If you want to cultivate even more of this compassion, you can point out the opportunities and things that might be helpful to encourage the kindness.
Kids also learn about conflict resolution from fighting with their siblings.  When kids are very young, they need our guidance to teach them about taking turns, waiting patiently, and about compromising.  Once they've had sufficient time to learn these skills (that means lots of repetition of different conflict resolution skills), we need to then leave the kids alone to figure things out. 
Having 3 kids of my own, I know how unnerving the fighting can be and how mean they can get with each other.  Of course, it is still our job to protect our kids from danger, but it is best to remain uninvolved in their conflicts.  Here are a few tips for staying out of the middle while still guiding them and keeping them safe:
  • Don't assume you know who started the fight - you might be wrong!
  • Don't point fingers or blame. If you're wrong, you will cause both kids to distrust you.
  • Make global observations, such as "I can see you two having a hard time playing together." or "I see you two are struggling to agree about playing with that toy."
  • Give them a chance to settle it themselves or ask if they'd like your help.  This is showing great respect for their relationship.
  • Separate them into different rooms if they aren't being respectful - without blaming one or the other.
  • Set limits around disrespectful behavior (i.e., hitting, screaming, etc...) without blaming. Infuse your values and give options for choices you would prefer the next time. For example, "If you didn't like when your brother did that, what could you say to him next time instead of using your hands?"
Keep in mind that you gave your kids the gift of each other.  Infuse that value into your family's beliefs.  They won't truly value that until they are adults, just do the work now and trust that they will get it way down the road. 
Remember, silence is sometimes the best tool in your tool belt.
Coffee with Bette  coffee cup
Our next Coffee with Bette will be this coming Tuesday, February 2nd from 9:30 to 11 A.M. at Chocolatine in Thousand Oaks.  Come ask me your parenting questions in one of my favorite settings!  Have a latte and a pastry and some stimulating parenting chat!  Check out my website for the full address.  
Parents, kids, grandparents - everyone is welcome! 
We meet the first Tuesday of the month, every month!
Balanced Parenting Website 
P.S.  Don't forget, the parenting advice is free, but the coffee and pastries are not.  :)

Our On-Going Group for
Parents of Preschoolers
will meet next on 
February 10th, 2010
7:30 - 9:00 P.M.
 in my Thousand Oaks office
We meet monthly for learning and support
This is an open group.
Everyone is welcome! 
 $20.00 per month per person
$30.00 per couple
  Our On-Going Group for 
 Parents of Teens and Tweens
 This group is cancelled
until further notice.
To R.S.V.P., or for further information, please e-mail
or call 805-230-2464
Feel free to pass along the information to anyone you know who might be interested!
We all need support!
Introducing the:
Balanced Parenting Learning Library

POTTY LEARNING: The Do's, Don'ts and the Oops of Poops

 An e-book by
Bette Alkazian, LMFT (that's me!)

Whether you've already accomplished this task with your kids or not, you know what a frustrating time potty training can be.   

If you're somewhere in the process, not yet ready to begin or long past it, but know someone else, this e-book is a great resource!

 Go to my website and click on the Learning Library to purchase this e-book for only $9.99.