A good friend of mine recently complained to me that her two children were fighting constantly. She did not know why it was happening, but she wanted it to stop. She was desperate for help. My first question for her was: What are they reading?
If you think that was a silly question, read on. In the child development book Nutureshock, authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman devote an entire chapter to sibling relationships – and directly tie the way brothers and sisters treat each other to the books they read and the media they consume.
According to the authors, kids will emulate the characters and relationships they see. So if kids read a book in which a teasing older brother complains about his annoying younger brother (think Diary of a Wimpy Kid), then they are more likely to view younger siblings as annoying. But if they read a book in which an older sister cares for and loves a younger sister (think The Penderwicks), then they are more likely to view younger siblings as people to adore and protect.
I have seen the truth of this theory in my own children. And since I’m no fool, I have started encouraging books with positive sibling relationships and discouraging books with negative ones.
For all the parents out there who want their children to get along, here are just some of the books where brothers and sisters have loving, appreciative, caring relationships:
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire of the Series of Unfortunate events also make a great team!
what a great post, thanks for the information Amy!
Cynthia Rylant's Cobble Street Cousins are great as well. Also, Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books.